Riding Solo with Friends

Although it seems like all my friends ride bikes, sometimes I’m the only one in the group riding. I suppose I could ditch the bike and go along with everyone else, but I’m loathe to give up the freedom and fun. Such was the case this weekend.

Saturday was a very full day, starting with a 9 mile ride to the Field Museum, where I met Melissa and Chanh. After looking at dinosaurs, we headed back to my neighborhood for dinner. They had taken the train in from the ‘burbs, so they continued with public transportation, while I set off on my bike and met them at the neighborhood L station. The restaurant was another mile away, so I walked my bike with them.

Field Museum

Melissa and Chanh

Sue the T-Rex

The city from Grant Park Museum Campus

Pomegranate Margarita

Later I somehow ended up going to a nightclub; definitely not a usual activity of mine, especially in my old age. I finally ditched my bike in favor of sharing a cab with everyone. After a very late all-night diner visit (mmm, grilled cheese), I rode my bike home by myself at 4 a.m. I was only a couple of miles away and I actually felt perfectly safe (pepper spray and u-lock just in case).

Night View

Thank you, dear Betty Foy the Bike, for taking me all around the city with such ease. I’m never alone when I’m with you :)

What do you do when you’re riding solo with friends?

{These photos taken with my vintage Minolta XG1 film camera.}

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22 thoughts on “Riding Solo with Friends

  1. Melissa S. says:

    Dot definitely would have beat us if you hadn’t stopped to take pictures. The el was sooo slow picking us up.

  2. It looks like such a fun weekend! I’ve been both the friend on the bike and the one meeting up with a friend on the bike. It’s usually easy enough to meet back up.

  3. NancyB says:

    especially in my old age.

    Do you mean your dotage!

    Ahh..to still be able to stay up all night.

  4. Vee says:

    I deal with this a lot as here inthe burbs people with kids are rarely tranporting via bike.

    Often times I ride and they drive. I fill up as many kids as I can and take the kids. I never beat anyone though…

    for nights out I try to push for local locations that I can bike to and meet them at. They always insist on giving me a ride home. I take the ride, but I’m also happy riding at night esp on a nice night.

    sounds like a great night!

  5. Molly says:

    I love that the night got blurry in the later hours. :)

    Ever think it would be nice to have a Surly Big Dummy or Yuba Mundo, throw everyone on the back and be done with it? Man, would that be handy, but only a few times a year, I guess.

  6. Jason F says:

    Same thing you do, they take the public transpo, I ride my bike and usually beat them.

  7. Miss Sarah says:

    Haha! Pepper spray and ULock. I never thought of using the lock as a weapon, but that’s a pretty good idea. I always figure I would use the keys, but the lock is right there in the basket.

    Thanks for the tip.

    I love clubbing.

  8. cb says:

    i remember sue when i visited chicago 5 years ago. i also really really liked the taxidermy birds..i think that was my favorite!

    i try and ride my bike every where regardless of who is with me or not…i love riding my bike and one less car on the road always makes me feel good!


  9. Randall says:

    Great ride, and I just love, love the pictures from the old-school camera. I have three of my now-vintage 35mm cameras, and it’s so cool to so others actually using film. Way to go, Dottie!

  10. You mean you locked Betty up on the mean Chicago streets for half the night while you were out taxi cabbing and partying? : ))

    But seriously, I face this problem sometimes as well. Last time was in Vienna, and I let my friend talk me into taking the tram with him to a restaurant outside of town. On the way back, the tram broke down and we waited for an hour for another one to come. We would have called a taxi, but the announcers kept saying that it’d be just 5 minutes more, 5 minutes more… until an hour passed. By the time I got back to where my bike was parked it was 1 am and I had to be at work early the next morning. I bickered with my friend, and what was supposed to be a fun night turned into a memory of “How this one time I went out without my bike.” Well, lesson learned!

  11. Tinker says:

    You mean you actually have “mixed” friendships, that is, between bicyclists and motorists? I am shocked, SHOCKED! to find that there is gambling going on in this cafe! Round up the usual suspects!

    No, seriously, if I want to go somewhere with friends that do not ride, we have to come up with at least one person with enough seating capacity in a (motorized) vehicle to get us all there, and back again, and that person has to be willing to drive.

    Public transit is not an option, and I can’t walk all that far anymore. (Bicycling is easier on the hips, and lower back than walking, at least on _MY_ bicycle.)

  12. welshcyclist says:

    You are a true cyclist, my commute means me riding at 04.00 a.m., on dark country roads, but even I would shy a little about riding through downtown US, or is that just all negative vibes we get here about your country?

  13. Dottie says:

    Depends on the part of the city. There are many places in Chicago I would never ride in the daytime, let alone at night. My neighborhood is pretty safe, though.

  14. dukiebiddle says:

    Tomato/tomato. For what it’s worth, living in a relatively dangerous American urban area, I feel oodles safer on a bike than I used to walking on the sidewalk at night. Safety from muggers was my primary motive to take up cycling again. I don’t have the courage to ride on a dark country road at night, even if I’m lit up like a Christmas tree. Devil that you know, I guess. ;)

  15. cris says:

    I am not so young that clubbing is a big part of my life anymore; but I still go out once every three or four weeks to see friends and sometimes spin some music if the promoters ask me to. I have a special love for the ride home from such nights, bundled in the warmth of a good night with fine company, at 2 or 3 in the morning and the streets are so quiet and empty and peaceful. It’s something that you can only savor on a bike.

    oh, and, yes, LB, that also means that I occasionally leave my ANT locked up outside a nightclub for several hours in the middle of the night … but it helps to be on a first name basis with the bouncers ;)

  16. Kate says:

    I love the “I’m never alone when I’m with you” – it’s so true, and simple, and happy! With my bike I feel like I can pick up and go wherever I need to be, and I can be safe and happy the whole time. With a car, it’s all about – “do I have enough gas? What’s that funny noise? Do I have quarters for the meter? Can I park here?” problems-problems-problems-problems-STRESS. Such a sharp contrast.

    Thanks for this great Monday morning pick-me-up! :-)

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Question for Dottie or others: What are the safe neighborhoods for biking in Chicago (day or night)? I am about to move to the city and am thinking of Andersonville or the South Loop. Any suggestions? Is it reasonable to do a daily commute from Andersonville to the Loop?

  18. neighbourtease says:

    Totally agree. I would not walk through plenty of neighborhoods in Brooklyn that I would (and do) happily cycle through. Manhattan is now Safety Island so no fear there.

  19. Aaron says:

    Miss Sarah wrote, “I love clubbing.”

    Of you U-lock variety or of the dancing variety? ;-)

  20. dukiebiddle says:

    I ride everywhere and meet my other modal friends everywhere. I get sleepy earlier and hate the trapped feeling of not being able to jump on my bike and escape. Often I’ll just push the bike home and walk with them if we’re going home at the same time if we still feel like talking. Within the city it’s a no brainer, but I’ve been more hardcore about it lately. About a month ago, I rode 30 miles away to a weekend party at a country house, and turned down the ride I was offered; and in the fall I’m going bike camping with my non-biking friends about 50 miles out. I’ll be cheating. They’ll be carrying most of my gear for me in their car.

    I ride in cars so rarely nowadays that I get horrible motion sickness whenever I ride in them. I’m allergic to cars.

  21. cycler says:

    Uh oh, I wonder if that’s happening to me. I rode in a car with my boss a couple of weeks ago and got horrible motion sickness. I put it down at the time to his awful jerky driving, but I wonder if the biking everywhere makes it worse.

  22. dukiebiddle says:

    It’s that downtown jerky stop and go city traffic that’s the worst and always makes me sick, but I live smack dab in the middle of Baltimore so every trip starts that way. My friends always make me sit in the front seat (automatic shotgun: sweet) because it’s when I sit in the back that I make them pull over. It’s really embarrassing and makes me feel like a 4 year old again. Subways and light-rails do the same thing to me. I mentioned it in my LBS the other day and two of the worker/owners laughed knowingly, which leads me to believe that it isn’t uncommon.

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