Chicgo Lakefront and Clark St. Ride

August 10

Eileen, Tim and I took the train downtown, where we emerged from the underground terminal right at the Chicago River. Eileen went to see a show at the CIA, while Tim and I rented bikes at Millennial Park and headed north across the river to Oak St. Beach where the lakeside pathway begins in earnest. We traveled with a mixed crowd of tourists, commuters and recreational riders, skaters and walkers. The cooling lake winds kept us from sweating, and we stopped at a convenince store for some tea, juice and snacks.

Tim & Eileen at the Chicago RiverMillennial Park Mirror SculptureBike station in Chicago

We got back on the path and went to nearly the end before dismounting and wading out into the waves. We found a little sand bar, with a couple dozen seagulls nest to us. Tim looked down and saw tiny fish swimming at our feet, and as we watched the gulls, it was evident we were at their sushi bar. Gulls swooped all around, waded into the water for a snack, and would then float along on the waves, or go back to shore to preen.

Tim, bike, lakeTim on the sandbar, Lake MichiganMitch on a pier

We decided to see what city street riding was like, so we headed west when we hit the end of the path at Thorndale Beach, just south of Loyola Uinversity. Coming off the path, we were forced to bike to the west, and the street we used
was for bikes only, but then headed into a one way street, which surprisingly had a bike lane such that we were riding against traffic for two blocks to the north-south bike routes. These are in an extended residential neighborhood, and sharrows with speed bumps are the rule, with 4-5 humps per block.

End of the TrailSharrows into a one waySharrows and speed humps on north-south bike routes

We rode south a while, then cut over to Clark St., which is designated as a bike route, with a bike lane between the traffic and the parked cars. There were a lot of bikers using the lane, both commuters and shoppers visiting the vast array of ethnic stores and restaurants. At least twice cars who wanted to turn right waited for us to go through an intersection, even though they could have speed around us and turned like people do here in Bloomington. The day was warm and partly sunny, with the skyscrapers hidden in the clouds.

Clark St. Lane, crowded, but “safe”.Well defined pedestrian crossingsSears in a fog

On Saturday we went to Jesse and Sean’s wedding, and we stayed at a hotel in Evanston. Bikes were everywhere here too, of course there are a lot of students because of Northwestern, the neighborhood shopping area felt a lot like Bloomington. The wedding was at the Swedish Museum on Clark St., I ended up playing for about 4 hours on the sidwaslk outside.
Bike racks in EvanstonNo bikes on Sidwalk, Evanston, IlMy Guitar at the Swedish Museum

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