Tag Archives: public transit

At Long Last: Snow!

The inevitable has happened: snow finally arrived in Chicago!  Yesterday evening I was biking home without a jacket and today the streets look like this:

Instead of my bike, I took public transit:

I’m escaping to Nashville for a long weekend tomorrow, so I can deny the arrival of winter a little bit longer.  :)

Anyone enjoy a snow ride today?

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My No-Bike Commute

When the side streets look like this:

My commute looks like this:

I pulled Oma out of the garage this morning, but then I put her back and walked to the L train.  I could have biked, as Mr. Dottie did, but I felt like taking the stress-free route.

Now that I’ve successfully biked through two winters, I don’t need to prove myself over and over again.  If I’m not feeling it, I don’t force it.  I think some people expect winter bicyclists to be extreme-sport masochist types, but that’s so not my motivation.

I’ll be more adventurous once I get my studded tires on for the season.  Without them, my nerves fray easily, but I’ve been too lazy to either switch them myself or bring them into the shop.  Soon, soon.

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Off and On with Ms. Oma

Fresh falling and rapidly accumulating snow on Monday and Wednesday caused me to abandon Oma for the L train. I simply don’t like riding in fresh snowy conditions for safety reasons. Smushed and standing up on the train, I was not a happy camper, but I’m grateful to have a public transportation option that takes me door-to-door from home to office.

On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (looking ahead a bit), I stayed with my love, Ms. Oma. Not surprisingly, I had more energy on those mornings.

Hey, why is it – as Yehuda Moon astutely notes – that people always ask if you rode on the rare days you don’t ride?

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Taking the Elevated Train

Chicago has an excellent public transportation system, despite constant talk of fare hikes and service cuts.  Within the city there is the elevated “el” train and an extensive bus system.  For traveling to the suburbs, there is the cushy Metra train. Chicago’s public transportation system makes living car-free easy. Although we almost always ride our bikes, having other options is helpful.

The El Train

The El Train

The Platform

The Platform

During my first year in Chicago, I took the El train everyday. We bought a condo close to an El stop. I was happy to be free from driving: I could read during my commute or stare out the window aimlessly while listening to music. Most of the routes are above-ground and provide a great view of the city and its neighborhoods. Eventually the routine grew tiresome and I decided to look into bicycling – the rest is history. But sometimes I still take the El (and so does Oma).

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Chicago Bike Shop Mini-Tour

Yesterday I set out to visit various bike shops. I visited four total, just the tip of the iceberg in these parts. Two were a pleasure, two were highly annoying, and none led to a bike discovery. On the positive side, I enjoyed spending a few hours cycling around the city. This pic was taken in my “backyard.” Yes, I do live that close to the el tracks, but the noise is not an issue. I prefer to be close to public transit, although I rarely take it nowadays.

My Backyard

My Backyard

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Chicago Bike Shop Mini-Tour

Yesterday I set out to visit various bike shops. I visited four total, just the tip of the iceberg in these parts. Two were a pleasure, two were highly annoying, and none led to a bike discovery. On the positive side, I enjoyed spending a few hours cycling around the city. This pic was taken in my “backyard.” Yes, I do live that close to the el tracks, but the noise is not an issue. I prefer to be close to public transit, although I rarely take it nowadays.

My Backyard

My Backyard

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Elevated Train and Elevators

Tonight I took the Oma on the el for the first time. Bikes are allowed on the el train any time except rush hour, with a max of two bikes per car.

Waiting for the Train

Waiting for the Train

A friend and I saw Spamalot at a theatre downtown and she did not have a bike, so I rode the el home with her. [note to Spamalot - please stop singing your lame songs and stick to the Monty Python script!] Oma was frustrated and confused; she did not understand why she had to stand still and wait for 15 minutes. Luckily, the train was not crowded – she took up A LOT of room. With the kickstand down, she’s sturdy as an ox and I held onto the saddle to keep myself steady while standing up during the ride.

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Amtrak and More Snow

Amtrak

Amtrak

Yesterday I had to go to Milwaukee for work, so I took the Amtrak train.  These trains are pretty fast and comfortable.  I usually listen to my iPod and stare out the window, although I could use this time more productively to work or read a book.  Compared to driving the highway, with the accompanying awful traffic, construction, and hazardous weather, the train is infinitely superior. 

The weather is still extreme here in Chicago.  There was a blizzard advisory last night and now a winter weather warning, or something. 

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