Category Archives: explore

Windy and Icy Adventure Ride

Boy, did I have an adventure this morning! The day began like any other. I checked the forecast before heading to the office and read “25 F, sustained winds of 26 mph.” Hmmm. Wind is not something I like to play with, but I really wanted to ride my bike. I clicked for more details: “wind direction north-northeast.” Great! I was heading south to downtown, so the wind would push me merrily along. What about the return trip? Below it said “wind down to 10 mph by late afternoon.” Decision made! Oma and I set off happily…

…and made it about 2 miles. As you can see, the wind was mean and a bit more northeast than north. And there was another factor I failed to take into account: ice. Yesterday we had a small, wet snow – no big deal. On the lakefront, however, the wet snow froze, joined by crashing waves which froze.

My studded tires kept me upright, but after the trail began to resemble an ice-rink and I felt a tiny slip in my front tire, I dismounted. I’m not a fan of falling. Assessing my situation, I realized that every tiny thing was covered with ice and decided to turn around, garage Oma and take the L train. At this point, I met a very interesting person and we chatted for a bit. I’ll have to make that its own post.

I’m glad I tried to bike to work. I had lots of fun and started out my day with an adventure. Although sometimes I have to admit cycling is not practical, I’ll always try before giving up :)

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Back From California

We are back from a trip to San Diego for our annual girlfriend reunion.  We will have intelligent stuff to say about the city and its bicycling culture later – which includes cruisers and meeting the fantastic Beany of Brown Girl in the Lane.  For now we’ll leave you with pictures.

I’ll put them after the jump to spare loading time…

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You Can’t Go Home Again

You can’t go home to a trailer park and farm in North Carolina again, not after living the simple bicycling lifestyle in Chicago for three years. It’s not that folks from my hometown read my blog and hate me for portraying them as bumpkins, a modern and predictably crappy remake of Thomas Wolfe, simply that my way of seeing the world has changed dramatically in the past few years.

A Vanity Fair article I read years ago aptly described my military hometown as a mix of strip bars and Baptist churches. Growing up, I itched to get out of my city; it was an ill-fitting sweater that took 16 years to wrestle off, catching my limbs, pulling my nose, tangling my hair and finally releasing me as I gulped for fresh air. My yearnings were basically the cliche teenage feeling that there is a big world going on without me – not a world of parties and glamor, but a world of pedestrians and cafes. I had fantasies of sidewalks, which I knew existed from TV and rare visits to family in Massachusetts, and a hazy idea of “culture” that my city lacked.

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Riding the Nashville Greenways

Back in November, I went on my first group ride with Nashville Slow Ride through two of Nashville’s greenways: Shelby Bottoms and Stones River.

It’s really criminal that I waited so long to post about this, actually, because not only was it a fun 20-ish mile ride with great people, it also marked the meeting of the Flik and Andrew’s Bike Friday. How would the two folders compare?

Andrew and Friday, on Saturday

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Chicago’s Christkindlmarket

This weekend we took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather (~50 degrees F) and cycled along the lakefront to the Christkindlmarket downtown.

I love being able to take off my helmet when I get on the Lakefront Trail with Oma. The wind in my hair feels so good.

Helmet off, hair loose

Chicago’s Christkindlmarket claims to be the only authentic Christkindlmarket outside of Europe. I’m not sure about the “only” claim, but it looks “authentic,” based on pictures of a Christkindlmarket in Salzburg via Academichic.

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Chicago’s Navy Pier

I ride by Navy Pier every day during my commute. Today the weather was gorgeous – sunny in the 60’s F – so I decided to stop and explore the pier before heading home. I enjoyed it all, even my $5 icecream cone :) This is a great place to go for families, friends and dates.  I love being a tourist in my home city, which you may have noticed. 

11-14 navy pier sign

11-14 ferris wheel

11-14 rides

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Bikes, Beer and Books in Sevier Park

Though we’ve already penned our odes to fall and tights, and recapped our fun-filled summer, I left work this afternoon to find an overcast morning had brought forth one last glimpse of summer sun. So of course, Le Peug and I headed off to enjoy it. Our destination: Sevier Park, starting point for the  LGRAB Garden Party Ride, home of Sunnyside Manor and less than a mile from my house.

Le Peug, Sunnyside and some very green grass.

Le Peug, Sunnyside and some very green grass.

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Chicago Hot Dogs and Kitschy Fun

Chicago has plenty of sophisticated dining options, but the heart of Chicago’s food experience is its deep dish pizza and hot dogs. Our friend Tanya visited this weekend and wanted a Chicago dog, so I took her to  Murphy’s Red Hots (1211 W. Belmont Avenue).  I am not an authority on Chicago’s best hot dog – I don’t eat beef or pork! – but she gave them two enthusiastic thumbs up.

While she had a red hot with everything, I enjoyed delicious fries and a vanilla shake with a hearty dose of kitsch.

9-21 sign

9-21 red hot

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Shakespeare in the Park

Last week, my friend P. and I took Le Peug and the Dahon down to Centennial Park, one of my favorite places in Nashville, to see a performance of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged.

We both decided that we would have preferred an actual play, but it was still a nice night under the stars. Before the show, we had a quick ride around the park and admired the sun setting behind the Parthenon. Unfortunately I couldn’t convince P. to step out from behind the camera and make her internet debut—next time, I hope! Since brevity is the soul of wit, I’ll speak no more and simply draw the curtain and show you the picture[s]. ;-)

09.15meparthpeugpretty

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Explore: Chicago’s Southport Corridor

Riding my bicycle has become a lifestyle, even when I am not on my bike. It’s all about slowing down and being a part of the city. To this end, I take time to enjoy all the nooks and crannies of my neighborhood.

9-6 cafe avanti

9-6 benefit

The Southport Corridor is a popular commercial street in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, not far from Wrigley Field and about a mile from Lake Michigan. The Corridor is not quite my cup of tea, with many boutiques where I would not shop and bars where I would not drink.  Despite this, the area has a lot to offer. I took all of these photographs in a one-mile stretch of the street.

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An Inspired Use of Public Space: Chicago’s Millennium Park

My “funemployment” exploration of Chicago continues (thanks to Calitexican for introducing me to the term). Yesterday I headed downtown on Oma to meet with the client in my pro bono case. Afterward, I headed to the 24.5 acre Millennium Park. Although the park is in a prime downtown location, bordered by Lake Michigan and Michigan Avenue, until a decade ago it was nothing more than a railroad bed. The existing park was built over the tracks. Unlike the neighboring Grant Park, which is comprised primarily of unadorned grass and trees, Millennium Park is a wonder of cultural attractions.

Oma in the Park

Oma in the Park

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Cycling Chicago’s North Lakefront Trail

Chicago’s gem is not the Sears Tower and other skyscrapers or the Magnificent Mile and high-end shopping. Rather, it’s the beauty of nature carefully curated by city planners – the Lakefront Trail that runs along Lake Michigan from the north to the south of the city, with downtown in the middle.

Betty and Chicago's Skyline

Betty and Chicago's Skyline

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Oma Loves Her Neighborhood

Today Oma got out of the house for a fresh air tour of the neighborhood. I went along for the ride and picked up a fab vintage dress ($15!), cupcakes and beer. This is her travelogue.

Oma loves da Cubs

Oma loves da Cubs

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