What is the absolute worst way to introduce a friend to cycling in the city? Perhaps by taking her through heavily trafficked streets in the freezing rain. What is evidence of the lure of cycling? When the friend still has fun.
My best friend Melissa is in the city from the suburbs this weekend, and we wanted to check out some thrift stores in Wicker Park. Melissa agreed to travel by bike on Smurfette. I was a little worried about the route because it requires us to go over a big bridge and through two huge intersections, but Melissa was up for it.
Other than her unnatural attraction to any and every pothole, the ride there was pretty smooth. Two things she noticed afterward. First, she kept wanting to ride closer to the parked cars because they were not moving. Second, a couple of times she got in a happy-go-lucky-childhood-I’ll-take-the-whole-road mode, and then realized that she was way over in the street.
We all scored at the thrift shops. M got White Converse sneakers with black laces and a sweet black dress. Greg got one cashmere and two wool sweaters all for $70. I found a Marc Jacobs skirt for $18 and Mavi jeans for $16.50. We were feeling pretty good when we realized that it was raining outside. sigh. Rain was an unexpected turn of events and none of us had rain gear.
A simple and happy spring rain was not in our forecast. Nope, that would be too easy. This rain came with pelting, needle-like drops, blowing and swirling wind, and freezing cold. The combination was overwhelming and after taking a minute to regroup, we ended up on the sidewalk. Since there were no pedestrians and we were getting blown around by the wind while having low visibility, that was the safest choice, especially with a first-time city cyclist.
The group was very happy to get home, change clothes, drink red wine and eat Mexican.
She said she’ll cycle in the city again, but next time I’ll try to take her to the lakefront path for a sunny frolic.