As I mentioned last week, my friend Elizabeth (of Bike Commuters) and I got together for a midday joyride recently. During lunch, I cycled to her office and then we set off together down the nearby Lakefront Trail.
A few miles later, we arrived at our arbitrary destination, the Field Museum.
We battled a fierce headwind on the way there and we were both a bit overheated from working so hard. I even took my sweater off, although it was not quite 60 degrees out.
Joyfully, we had a tailwind on the ride back, which didn’t feel like wind at all. I just felt naturally fast and strong.
The route was pretty muddy and watery, with all the blizzard snow quickly melting.
So what if I returned to the office a bit muddy with a run in my tights and tangled hair (bad, uncovered Betty Foy chain!) – I felt much more energized and productive the rest of the day.
Funny that no matter how much I cycle for transportation, I still love to joy ride, especially with a good friend. I never (okay, rarely) get tired of riding a bike.
I’m still annoyed by winter, but I’ll think back to happier times: Friday, when I biked to work and then took a joyride to the lakefront during my lunch break.
This was two days post-blizzard. Access to the trail is through an underpass below Lakeshore Drive and this was the most difficult section to manage due to the snow, as only a narrow path was shoveled and not very well.
Once I emerged on the other side, the plowed bike path pleasantly surprised me. I biked a ways up and down the path just for fun, but it was slow going, mostly because I’m a baby when it comes to biking on packed snow, even with my studded tires, and always want to be able to put a foot down if necessary.
At this moment, I joined Lovely Bicycle in really wanting a Surly Pugsly for the massive snow tires. I also wondered if Coco would be better in this particular snow situation with her Fat Frank tires. I’ll have to take her for a spin in the alley this weekend for research.
It’s a good thing that my visit to the Lakefront Trail was only for fun and not for transportation. Although I commend the city for plowing the trail so quickly after the blizzard, clearing away all the snow would take a little more time.
For Chicagoans who want to use the trail for transportation in the winter, the Active Transportation Alliance posts regular updates of conditions on its blog, along with helpful pictures. You may also be able to find useful information on The Chainlink, a Chicago bicycling online community.
Is anyone relying on trails and bike paths to commute during the winter? If so, how are the conditions as far as upkeep and lighting?
Yesterday a few inches of snow fell in Chicago. My friend Elizabeth and I headed out to enjoy the winter wonderland and take some pictures (I used my new 50-year-old camera). Although we’re both year-round cyclists, we didn’t feel comfortable riding with the falling snow, so we hopped a bus to Lincoln Park and then walked around for an hour. A cozy underground pub and some Guinness warmed us up when we’d had enough.
Afterward, we went separate ways and I headed downtown to drop off my film for developing. I could have taken the bus, but the snowy night was so pretty, I chose to walk an hour to my destination. Then I took the L train home, but got off early to walk the final mile. Walking is such a great activity and I’m lucky to have so many transportation options in Chicago.
Alsace is my favorite region in France for a lot of reasons; it’s going to be a bit difficult for me to focus this post on our two-wheeled adventures without first enthusing just a leeeetle bit about this under-explored region. To set the scene: here’s Dottie and me in Strasbourg, along the canal overlooking La Petite France. A bit worse for the wear after our 7-hour plane ride and 2.5-hour train ride, but definitely happy to be there.
The entire city center of Strasbourg is a UNESCO heritage site and is full of beautiful timbered houses. Since it is home to a large university, there is a large number of cyclists.
The next two photos were taken with my camera by Dottie, and I just noticed that I am in the background of the first one.
The countryside looks like this.
Exploring it by bike on a beautiful fall day was an amazing way to spend a lazy afternoon. I had big plans for renting bikes in Colmar and embarking on a 40km ride through several villages. Between the advice of the bike rental guy and the condition of the bikes we were renting, it seemed prudent to change our itinerary, and instead we took an easy, 18km ride to the village of Eguisheim. Less time on the bike, but more time to wander, eat and taste wines like this one.
The weekend before Labor Day (wow, am I ever behind on blog posts!) was the second installment of this year’s 12South Concert series. Held in Nashville’s Sevier Park, these free concerts are open to everyone (and their dog—literally!), so I packed a picnic and went to check it out by bike with my friend Chiara, who’s always game for a bicycle outing.
No parking, except for bikes
Wine in the grass is a beautiful thing
Relaxing on the lawn
The stage is set
On the way to the unofficial afterparty at the Taproom.
The next 12South Concert is tonight—it’s definitely worth checking out.
Dottie and I took a spin on some bikes from Adeline Adeline this afternoon with our friend Wanda. We took our time looking over their impressive inventory–Linus, Pashley, Batavus, Gazelle and more–and rode a couple of models each, including the Pashley Princess Sovereign and Pashley Poppy pictured above. It was my first Pashley ride and Dottie’s first time on a Pashley Poppy–and the first time riding the streets of New York City for all three of us. The ensuing debriefing covered many topics, including compare and contrast: Pashley Poppy and Azor Oma; is bigger really better when it comes to bells; and the prevalence of bike salmon. More to come on these all-important thoughts and our NYC experiences when we get home!
In the spirit of the LGRAB Summer Games, last week Le Peug and I rode downtown to go to a party celebrating the release of a new bourbon from Maker’s Mark.
Le Peug in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame
Riding downtown isn’t completely new for me, but I’ve only done it a handful of times—and this was the first time I rode from the office to downtown and then to the Gulch. The picture below shows the new Pinnacle building on the left. It blended into the sky better before they branded it, but such is modern life.
Pinnacle building and Encore condos
The place, the bourbon.
When I left The Palm, it was about 7:45 and the sun was setting. Apparently every bird in Nashville wants to be roosting on the roof of the Hilton at dusk, and the sky was full of them.
AT&T building peeking out from behind the Hilton; bird-filled sky
I rode down Demonbruen and over the viaduct to the Gulch, admiring the sunset along the way.
Union station, sunset
The Gulch, sunset
Most of my bike trips lately have been from home to work and back again, and to other familiar places (grocery store, pub, etc.). Exploring a new part of town was just what I needed to recapture the sense of adventure I felt when I got on the bike for the first time. Here’s hoping the rest of you who did this task for the Summer Games had the same experience!
This morning Mr. Dottie and I set out at 9 o’clock for brunch at the home of friends. The catch: they live over 15 miles away (31 miles roundtrip) in Hyde Park, aka Obama’s neighborhood. The ride was totally worth it for their fantastic food and company, plus I always like an excuse for a bike expedition.
Thanks to the Lakefront Trail, the ride there was simple and beautiful. From our house we rode a mile east to the Trail, then 14 miles south down the Trail, then a mile west to their house. I often ride along the north side of the trail, but very rarely along the south side. The south side is much quieter and less crowded, more nature-like and removed from the city.
Me at Promontory Point – view of skyline from the south side
Greg and Sir Raleigh at Promontory Point
Museum of Science and Industry
I'm on a boat! Not really, I only wish I were.
Part of the skyline from the south
Chicago skyline with kid biking
I wish I could convey the feel of the 90-degree heat, burning sun, miraculously cold lake breeze, cookout smells, boom box music, children laughing… We returned home at 5:30 pm, exhausted in a good way, feeling alive.
This is going down as a Summer Games event, “explore a new part of town by bike.” Although I’ve been there before, I don’t go often, and I’m not eligible for prizes, anyway
Well. It’s the final stage of the LGRAB Summer Games and I have to say that the competition for the Batavus BuB is fierce. But! There are many more of you who could be contenders, if you complete an event (or two) this week.
Though sadly ineligible for a prize, I took the long way home on Friday. That day (the same day Kim @cottenmusic saw me in the Village), this just meant going a few blocks out of my way on S. Douglas Ave. since I was already running late for my evening plans.
Wide and gently curving with slow-moving traffic, the street is terrific for cyclists. At the turn of the century, when the neighborhood was being planned, the center lane held a trolley car. Of course in the 1940s all that went away.
More pics from my long way home:
Will I ever get tired of pics of heels on asphalt? probably not.