The Lakefront Trail in Spring

When I got on my bike Friday morning, I made a last-minute decision to take the Lakefront Trail instead of my usual street route, since I was not feeling up to car traffic and was not in a rush.


The Lakefront Trail in spring is totally different from the Lakefront Trail I wrote about in winter.

First, getting on the trail was a challenge, as recent thunderstorms created a moat in the underpass access. The water was very deep, so I backtracked up the ramp and biked three blocks south to the next access point, among heavy car and truck traffic merging onto Lakeshore Drive. Not my ideal route, but I managed safely by acting like a car and taking the lane.


I was annoyed by the difficulty, since the whole point of riding the trail was to take it easy due to my illness. When Coco and I made it to the lakefront, though, my annoyance dissolved. The cool air was refreshing off Lake Michigan, a huge improvement from the hot-sun-on-blacktop feeling of the streets. Lots of people were out enjoying the beautiful Chicago morning.


A couple of miles along, I encountered heavy trucks working on the trail. This was a pleasant surprise because they had paved over all the chunks of missing concrete and horrible craters that formed during the winter. Smooth sailing!


I enjoyed my easy ride so much, I totally forgot I was sick until I tried to sing along to my fav Kate Nash song and couldn’t make it through one line without losing my breath. So it’s official: riding Coco slowly is less taxing than singing along to my iPod.

After emerging from the trail for the final 1.5 miles on downtown streets, I popped my helmet back on, blew my nose and said “cheese!” with Coco.


Looking back on naive, Friday morning Dottie, I almost feel bad for her. She had no idea that she’d end up working late and then biking home along congested streets in a harsh headwind and temperatures that fell 30 degrees from the 70’s to the 40’s, without the benefit of gloves or earmuffs and with a hacking cough. But at least she could go home and sleep 12 hours, dreaming of her ideal Chicago spring morning ride.

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18 thoughts on “The Lakefront Trail in Spring

  1. Steven Vance says:

    I never feel that riding on the Lakefront Trail is easy. I don’t want to sound like whining, so I won’t go into the reasons why, but I do appreciate the new pavement south of North Avenue and at Oak Street beach. It seems like they got most of the bad spots (still encountered a small one between the two repaved sections).

  2. RebeccaD says:

    I feel for you on the ride back home. Though I was not sick, I rode to work last week with telling me that the skies would clear by 11 AM and it would be 80 on the way home. Gym shorts under my dress (and no coat!), I tool off and it rained almost the whole day. I caught a window on the way home with no rain, but the wind was ferocious. I’ve been the proud owner of a Workcycles Oma for just over a week and it’s a lot of work to pedal that darling in 20 – 30 mph winds. It taught me a lesson about being prepared.

  3. Amy says:

    Maybe you could have coasted through the underpass moat with your feet up on the top tube? Put the fenders to the test. :)

  4. Elisa M says:

    Glad evening Dottie wasn’t in too bad of spirits. Hope you can get to feeling better this weekend.

  5. Emma says:

    Coco looks the colour of clotted cream in these pictures – beautiful!

  6. Maureen says:

    Coco looks absolutely delighted to be enjoying the Lakefront Trail! Sorry your are still not feeling well. I agree with neighbortease’s comment yesterday though regarding a possible sinus infection. I have had several bad ones since I fell and broke my eye socket last September, and they all have included coughing. Be Well!

  7. Scott says:

    That temperature drop was crazy. And the wind! Luckily I had an extra jacket in my office, but I was still cold when I came home from dinner around 11:00. At least it wasn’t raining. This has been extreme weather.

  8. ladybug says:

    Aw, you look so cheerful in the pictures who would know you were feeling crummy. That temperature drop was a surprise- moody with the blowing wet mist and cold. I’m glad you got to take it easy once home.

  9. MamaV says:

    I wanna know which Kate Nash song? :-)

  10. Kara says:

    I am so jealous of this ride. I am bummed I didn’t get a chance to bike it last time I was in Chicago. It is on the MUST DO list for next time.

  11. Alexis says:

    I was just curious why you switched to using flickr for your images? I read through a reader on my breaks at work but social image sites like flickr and imageshack are blocked. I’m very sad that I can no longer see your beautiful pictures. :(

    • Dottie says:

      Alexis, I have the same problem on my reader at work, too. This is only temporary. I’m using Flickr right now because every time I try to upload a photo the regular way, I get an error. Trisha doesn’t have this problem, so I have to figure out what’s going on with my computer.

  12. Meg says:

    Wait… I just want to confirm you rode on LAKESHORE DRIVE??? The 3/4 lane drive or the frontage rode ? Because if you actually biked on LSD that is just.. amazing and extremely brave.

    • Dottie says:

      Oh no, bicycling on Lakeshore Drive is illegal, for good reason. I biked on Sheridan to Belmont, where cars were merging onto Lakeshore Drive, and then I got on the Lakefront Trail.

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