A Foot of Snow and an Earthquake in Chicago

In the last 24 hours in Chicago, a foot of snow fell and a 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit. The earthquake caused no major damage and I slept right through it. (Now I will have the song “Little Earthquakes” in my head the rest of the day.) My problem is the snow, which will keep me from riding my bike to work. Last year – my first winter cycling – I was more likely to trudge out in extreme weather. This year I feel like I have nothing to prove to myself and can concentrate on simply getting to work, which today means taking the L train.

I am tempted to play on the Lakefront Trail because the sun is gloriously bright. Unfortunately, I have no snow day off from work. Instead I’ll visit the archives and live vicariously through my past. Here’s a post from last winter.

February 4, 2009
“Cold Sun”

Sunrise over Lake Michigan

Sunrise over Lake Michigan

Sunday’s warmer weather was a fluke and the temperatures are back in the single digits (as in, 0). The bitter cold has been accompanied by a glorious sun, though, so I forgive nature.

Snow, Lake Michigan, Clouds, Sky

Bottom to Top: Snow, Lake Michigan, Clouds, Sky

The clouds were oddly placed this morning, laying low on the lake and letting the blue sky take over.



Around the Oak Street Beach curve (Chicagoans know what I’m talking about) the icebergs continue. The waves must have been crashing up last night because they’re now frozen. These conditions last only for 50 yards or so. A guy walked by me here and said, wow, way to go. He asked if he could take my picture, which I was cool with (maybe I’ll end up on his blog or something :)). I know I am quite an oddity in the cold on my bike and this morning I had a huge package (dry cleaning) on my back rack, adding to the novelty factor.

Sunrise over Lake Michigan, a little further down

Sunrise over Lake Michigan, a little further down

I love how the sun/sky/lake color changed in the ten or so minutes it took me to get from the first picture to this picture.

I felt very lucky to live in Chicago and use the lakefront trail for commuting this morning!


Memories… How are you dealing with your weather? Seems like it’s pretty crazy all around.

  • http://suburbanbikemama.blogspot.com/ Vee

    snow patterns across the states are so wacky. ( or at least the internet makes me more aware of all the differences.) We are about to get hit now. Snow showers right now- but school is closing early in prep for late afternoon snow fall.

    But it’s been milder than last year actually. So I’ve been happy. sadly yesterday’s 40 degree temps saw me ill and asleep on the couch until minutes before drop off and pick up so I did not ride as I planned. Poop on that!

  • http://www.bikecommuters.com E A

    “A Foot of Snow and an Earthquake in Chicago!” – that was the exact lead in to the ABC weather forecast I heard this morning – quite a busy (weather) day in Chicago. Last year at this time we experienced temps in the 50s… but we’d also had more snowfall earlier in the season last year, too.

    I’m enjoying the SUNSHINE! :-)

  • http://www.bike-bliss.com/ Cherilyn

    An earthquake in Chicago?! Tornadoes, sure, but an earthquake?

    Good luck with the snow. We’ve had colder temps the past couple of days, so I understand the lack of motivation to get out.

  • http://rowdykittens.com Tammy Strobel

    WOW!!! We are finally settled into our new place in Portland and I’ve been expecting crazy rain. But it’s been sunny so far this week! Isn’t it supposed to be winter? Well I can’t complain. :) I’m glad your safe and the earthquake didn’t damage much.

    Love your photos. They always brighten my day.

  • bicyclemamy

    these photos are so beautiful! i am in in west palm beach,fl (on purpose). i was born and raised up north. therefore, i can appreciate PICTURES of snow……ONLY pictures though.

  • http://freckleddiaries.typepad.com Catherine

    An earthquake? Nuts. The snow, too, except I’ve become a little jaded over the past week when it comes to snow. A foot seems kind of cute (whereas in December it would have spelled doom). Funny how things can change.

    As for me, I’m handling the snow the same way all the under-30s in Alexandria are: behaving as if this were spring break, and all the mayhem that entails. It’s been fun though! Federal government just announced it’s closed for the forth day in a row, most private companies follow the feds, so this has been the Endless Weekend here since Feb 5th!

    Cycling doesn’t enter the picture. Both my bikes are inside and being used as drying racks for snowy outerwear.

  • http://lovelybike.blogspot.com Lovely Bicycle!

    Oooooooh these little earthquakes… Heeeeere we go again……

    Sorry, can’t help it!

    Well, at least with the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, the “doesn’t take much to rip us into pieces” part can be skipped.

  • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

    @Vee – Despite the recent craziness, Chicago’s winter has been MUCH milder than last winter, too. (knock on wood)

  • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

    @E A – SUNSHINE! We gotta get together for a ride sometime soon.

  • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

    @bicyclemamy – Mmmm, West Palm Beach. I may crack one day and migrate south, too. I’m thinking San Diego ;)

  • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

    @Lovely Bicycle! – Yes! So happy someone picked up the Tori thread. You made my day :)

    And yay for Schwalbe tires.

  • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

    @Cherilyn and @Catherine – Yeah, I know! I had no idea, but apparently Chicago is close to a fault line and (I think) the biggest earthquake in the US come from that fault line a very long time ago.

  • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

    @Tammy Strobel – I hope you are settling nicely into Portland. How exciting!

  • http://freckleddiaries.typepad.com Catherine

    Very true, Dottie (and hello! We seem to both be awake and on the internet tonight!). I was very nearly a Geology minor (one class shy, switched to something else), focused on plate tectonics. Anyway, yes, there is a major (but largely inactive) fault line in the Midwest. That earthquake was centered about halfway between St. Louis and Memphis and was so massive that the Mississippi ran backwards for three days (plate shifts). It was almost three times the size of the Good Friday earthquake in Anchorage (1964), and that quake basically swallowed the entire city of Anchorage (like….seriously, and what didn’t get taken under was burned down in the aftermath). It was ten times larger than the earthquake that destroyed San Francisco in 1906.

    It’s either that fault, or the Yellowstone Caldera (basically a “supervolcano” the size of Rhode Island) which will eventually destroy this continent. Blessedly, not going to happen for a few million years.

  • http://www.bikecommuters.com E A

    @Dottie – Yes! Let’s find another SUNNY day for a ride.