The past week has been packed with crazy summer activity! The weather has been in the 90s one day then drops 40 degrees in one night and now we’re all freezing. I’ve been getting in lots of biking though, which has made me very happy. My dad came up for a bike ride last weekend because he likes to bike on the lakefront train every so often. I get spoiled on the lakefront trail because I find myself on it at least two or three times a week these days. I love how diverse the trail can be depending on the weather. On rainy days or even just dreary, cloudy days it can feel like we have the whole lake front to ourselves. To just watch the dark lake wash violent waves up against all the boats in the harbor. But on this particular day it was hot and sunny, and also a weekend, which means lots of traffic because every Chicagoan knows to take advantage of nice weather while it lasts.
My favorite part of the lakefront trail is near the south loop, right next to the McCormick Place. The scenery is so nice and the pace can be as fast or as slow as you want. There aren’t lots of families going to the beach and standing around on the trail like there are on the north side. The trail can get downright dangerous on warm days when kids and tourists aren’t paying attention. They don’t realize that the lakefront trail means serious business to some people, and if you’re not careful, a spandex-clad sweat-storm on two wheels just might fly by and ruin your day.
Biking has become a very integral part of my life now; it is a hobby on nice summer days, and my best form of transportation on every other day. I can’t remember ever not knowing how to ride a bike. As a kid, I always had a bike and my sister and I would ride up and down our long driveway in the summer on roads we had drawn with sidewalk chalk. We used to take “family bike rides” every so often because there was a trail not too far from our house. Our typical path would be to bike to the Creamery in the next town over and we would get to eat a sundae before the bike back. Those rides were one of my favorite things when I look back at summer as a kid. But that was when I was maybe ten or eleven. Somewhere around the age of thirteen going to get ice cream with your parents wasn’t cool anymore and the thought of being seen on a bike was absolutely mortifying. I don’t think I rode a bike again until college.
College made biking not only cool again, but in the city, it’s almost imperative. Biking is the perfect mode of transportation for us fine college folk who are too poor to pay for gas and insurance. Plus when you bike, you can go to as many college parties as you like and not have to worry about a designated driver or parallel parking. I commute to school every day on my bike now, and in the summer I go all around the city too. I love the freedom of being able to maneuver so easily through traffic and “parking” three feet outside of every door I want to enter.
I feel like bikers share a unique bond because we all have to deal with the wrath of angry drivers who are constantly honking and very nearly running us over sometimes. So cheers urban bikers! Because you are part of keeping yourself and your planet a little bit healthier! Anyone else have some urban bike adventures they would like to share?