The Independence of Bicycling

Boy, was I happy to be riding my bike yesterday evening!  An extra-alarm fire at a furniture store adjacent to the L-tracks shut down the red, brown, and purple lines for several hours spanning the height of rush hour.  (No one was hurt in the fire.)  Mr. Dottie was on the brown line and had to walk the last two miles home, which is not so fun in near 90-degree heat, carrying a heavy work bag and wearing steel-toed boots. I, on the other hand, sailed along home with trusty Oma.

The scene biking past the L station was chaotic, with hundreds of people waiting for shuttle buses and car traffic jammed from road closures.  I may have gotten some envious looks from the poor commuters stuck on the side of the road.  Too bad Chicago’s planned bike share is not up and running yet – I bet lots of people would have tried it for the first time!

Bonus: enjoying the sight and smell of fresh flowers along my route.

While situations like this on public transportation are rare, I prefer to deal with them never.  The ordeal reminded me of the independence that the bicycle provides.  As long as I have my trusty bike and a slim stretch of road, I’m set.  (Just no thunderstorms, please!)

Good work, Oma!

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32 thoughts on “The Independence of Bicycling

  1. Carolyn says:

    We have buses running regularly around town, but I prefer riding my bicycle on my time.  No late buses to worry about.. :)

    Did you hear about the problems with the Montreal Subway on one day recently?  Can’t remember if it was a threat to the Subway, or else.. but a lot of people used Bixi bike sharing that day because of the station closures/massive delays.

  2. Trisha says:

    Your description of the scene at the El station reminds me of when we were in Montmartre and the Metro was shut down. That crowded bus…ah good times. We totally should have taken the Velib’. 

  3. cycler says:

    Yes, when there’s a closure on the Red line, I feel really smug as I bike past all the people waiting for a shuttle bus or vying for a cab.  When they get bike share in Cambridge/ Somerville, it’s going to a huge hit on those days.

  4. cycler says:

    Oh, and super cute dress!

  5. anniebikes says:

    Ah, more affirmation for bike commuting.

  6. Beth says:

    The first day in ages I didn’t bike to work, and the nightmare commute happens. I stared enviously and longingly at every bicycle that went by! (I blogged about how much better the bike is, too. Hard not to after a day like that.)

    Even this morning, on an old borrowed Schwinn that doesn’t fit me and goes soooo slow, it was a million times better than any train/bus/car commute I’ve ever had.

  7. Kara Hallstrom says:

    Hopefully seeing you pedal past inspired at least one of the commuting crowd.

  8. Chrissy says:

    This is how I feel whenever I bicycle past people who are waiting for the bus, as their eyes follow me and my bike as we roll down the road. Vegas has very little in terms of public transportation- busses only, and they only really travel north/south and east/west. It’s so inconvenient. I’m glad my bicycle provides such an awesome alternative than this crappy bus system!

    • Dottie says:

      Right.  I’m lucky that Chicago’s transit system is so good, but most big cities (other than DC, NYC, SF, CHI) are left with crappy public transportation every day, not just when there’s a catastrophe.  

  9. Chrissy says:

    This is how I feel whenever I bicycle past people who are waiting for the bus, as their eyes follow me and my bike as we roll down the road. Vegas has very little in terms of public transportation- busses only, and they only really travel north/south and east/west. It’s so inconvenient. I’m glad my bicycle provides such an awesome alternative than this crappy bus system!

    • Dottie says:

      Right.  I’m lucky that Chicago’s transit system is so good, but most big cities (other than DC, NYC, SF, CHI) are left with crappy public transportation every day, not just when there’s a catastrophe.  

  10. Lafs4 says:

    All major cities should have something like the Bixi bike share we have in Toronto and Montreal…it makes perfect sense.  Hope Chi town gets on board.

  11. Lafs4 says:

    All major cities should have something like the Bixi bike share we have in Toronto and Montreal…it makes perfect sense.  Hope Chi town gets on board.

  12. Inspiredcyclist says:

    Pedaling your way to work continues to be a win/win activity!  

  13. Steelschwinnster says:

    Were you going nah, nah, nah all the way home?! should have been. Here in the northwest, the Oregonian tells us it has been the wettest spring for many years, with, yes thurder and lightning. I love the smell of rain just before it starts and all of nature is still…in wait

  14. In traffic-heavy areas, biking can be quicker. If commuters lived in the city, I bet they’d find it’s just easier to bike than to drive.

  15. hest says:

    hest…

    [...]The Independence of Bicycling « Let's Go Ride a Bike – life on two wheels: simple. stylish. fun.[...]…

  16. DENNIS.HINDMAN says:

    To bad you couldn’t have swung by and given Mr. Dottie a ride home on your bike. That would probably have brought smiles to peoples faces and it would really be going Dutch.

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