Headwindy City

Crashing waves. Howling winds. Seagulls. Had I gone to sleep in Chicago and woken up in North Carolina on the eve of a hurricane? Nope. Just another morning commute in the windy city.

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Chicago could be many things – the laid back city, the deep dish pizza city, the pothole city, the small live music venue city, the Obama city – but the windy city is as accurate a nickname as any.

I'm with you, Yehuda!

I’m with you, Yehuda!

(If you don’t already read Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery, you should. I bought the book, great quality.)

What does this mean for most residents? Not much, other than messy hair walking from the el/car/bus to the building. What does this mean for Chicago cyclists? #%!&*#@! Not every day, but certainly days like yesterday, with sustained blowing winds of around 20 mph from the south. The wind made me work several times harder than usual, while going about 5 mph. Sometimes I imagine that I’ve become a zen cyclist, happy to go as fast or slow on my oma as nature intends.

Then I wake up. And it’s windy out.

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12 thoughts on “Headwindy City

  1. Trisha says:

    Ha. So did you wake up and it was windy out this morning? We had strong winds here yesterday evening (storm rolled in overnight) and my ride home in the dark after trivia was a bit slow…but it was nothing like the wind off the lake!

  2. anna says:

    I remember that Yehuda comic, love it. Yeah, I heard about Chicago being the “windy city”. These days I’m all with you as you know. I quite like your bike path in the video, but it’s very exposed too. But I would love to cycle along a shore. Is that your daily route? Lucky you.

    The “pothole city” :-). I think Vienna is also one of those. Maybe also a “bump city” (but the bumps are not intended).

  3. Charlotte says:

    I was going to say – Boston is the pothole city! :)

    I don’t know how it happens but somehow I have a headwind both to and from the office. Thankfully it’s not as bad as yours. Just think of how much your saving by not paying a gym for the use of a stationary bike!

  4. Scott says:

    I can’t imagine grinding the oma on the lakefront path against these winds we have had over the past few days. On Monday it was actually blowing me uphill on my oma on Adams near the Sears Tower.

    Have you considered doing Clark St -> Wells instead when you have a bad headwind? Getting in off the lake makes a difference.

  5. Good that you have that heavy Oma to brace against that wind.

    With 40 days below zero F this year, I think we’d give you some competition in the pothole dept.

  6. sara says:

    I will think of you pedaling along in Chicago while I am pumping my legs furiously into the wind, bumping along the potholed streets, trying to get the bakfiets home here in New Haven. I know it’s gotta be tougher there.

  7. Carolyn says:

    I’d swear that Prince George is the Pothole capital in Canada! I should send you some pics of how bad some of ours are here. At least they were mentioned in last night’s urban cycling forum, so maybe they’ll be fixed before someone gets hurt or swallowed up by one of them?

    Here’s wishing…….

  8. Scott says:

    I actually had a good winter with respect to the potholes, even though I have never seen the city streets as bad in Chicago. All winter I had no big collisions until I hit this nasty crater on Canal by Fulton, south of the metra tracks. I knew the ground was in rough shape because they have been doing roadwork there, and the pave-over job appears to have been done under the influence of alcohol. The streetlight was out, and I had a solid tailwind so I hit that bastard hard. It was an jumble, but I rolled through it.

    I thought of it today when I had to give maximum braking to slow down into a massive divot that touches the old cobblestones on Southport. That street is a pothole yard sale. It continued my appreciation of the drum brake for city riding.

  9. dottie says:

    Anna, yes, unless I decide to take city streets the whole way, that’s my daily route – 1.5 miles on side streets and then 5 miles on the path.

    Scott, sometimes I take Lincoln and Wells (more often in the winter) but most days I’d rather deal with wind than cars. I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new bike so I can leave Oma at home when it’s so windy (although oma does help develop some zen-ness about the situation).

    About potholes, I saw one at a major intersection two weeks ago so huge it had a big city trash can in it – the trash can fit all the way from top to bottom and had a lot of room around it. I guess at that point, it’s a sink hole.

  10. E A says:

    I still do the Lincoln and Wells route. The buildings buffer the wind… and I prefer to not deal with the east Lakeview traffic to get to the lakefront. Plus… I’m scared I’ll get blown into the lake one day or a wave will come crashing over me. ;-)

    As for using Clark as a route… no thank you. Clark is a wind tunnel!

  11. cyclingchicken says:

    Not much in the way of potholes here, but the headwind is pretty nasty in March. It is bad enough riding in it with just my bike, but when you add the trailer or trail a bike it is killer, plus going uphill. :(

  12. Katy says:

    I commute in Oklahoma City where i frequently wake up to headwinds in the teens and twenties (that whole “where the wind comes sweeping down the plains” lyric is completely truthful) and when I saw that Yehuda strip I immediately thought “I need that on a tshirt.” Luckily my commute is short and mostly pothole free, so no complaints on my part :)

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