July 3, 2004
I rented a “comfort” bike at Millennial Park Station, it has both covered and uncovered bike storage as well as rentals. A “comfort” bike is what I know as a hybrid, an upright riding position like mountain bike, but a longer frame and street tires. Although it was not as painful as some bikes I’ve ridden, calling it a comfort bike is a bit of a stretch, at least compared to any recumbent.
I headed north to cross the river at the Columbus Street Bridge, then east a couple of blocks towards Navy Pier. The path north begins in the Milton Lee Olive Park east of the entrance to the water treatment plant (which is just north of Navy Pier). The little park paths lead to the Ontario Street Beach, and if you like distance swimming, this is the spot as there is a wide, deep lane that goes for at least half a mile, with lifeguards on duty. I passed this by, but I noted that a number of swimmers in the lane had wet suits on, wonder how cold it really is? It was 85 at the lakefront, but with the wind I was not sweating.
The picture above gives you an idea of how the path is set up, two lanes lanes for the wheeled traffic, the rest is for the walkers. The path goes along the waterfront nearly to Evanston, about 10 miles to the end near Loyola. I made the video below somewhere north of Ontario beach, you can get an idea of how busy it really is.
Once I got to the end of the line on the lakefront, I cut over on one of Chicago’s many bike/car streets, and caught the Sanitary Canal Path north. This was as empty and sad looking a path as I have ever seen, it is a strip of green park following the canal on one side and a 4 lane boulevard on the other side. The only sign of life were a few geese and old rotting sleeping bags where folks obviously sleep in the woods along the banks. I cut back west to Evanston, found the lakeshore path again, and headed back to the bike rental place in the Milennial Park, but not before stopping to take a short dip Lake Michigan and ride the waves into shore.