So, even though my old bike was stolen, and I mourned it terribly–I got a new bike, thanks to generous friend. Here she is:
She’s got five speeds and handle breaks, and a pretty little wicker basket that I use to keep her brand new U-Lock in. I love the color. It’s probably my favorite color in the whole world, that shiny-deep blue. It’s the color of the lake on a sunny day.
It’s a little taller than my old one, so I’m getting used to being up higher. Also, this one has handle breaks, which means I spend a lot more time with my hands actually on the handle bars. But it’s weighted differently–I think probably the front isn’t as heavy as the old one–so I can’t really ride it without hands successfully anyway. I’m getting there.
However, now that I’ve got speeds, I can go really, really fast. It feels really great. I’ve been biking to and from my CPE station’s home base in Ravenswood, which is a little more than 15 miles door-to-door. The greatest part of that is that almost all 15 of those miles are on the lakefront, and so I spend all this time next to the beautiful Lake Michigan.
I get absolutely stunning city views.
This one is from yesterday. The trail curves around the aquarium and the whole city is right in front of it. I love the Chicago downtown area. It is just beyond superb. Sometimes I can’t believe that I live here. Especially when this is my commute. I take advantage of it when I can. Not all jobs are cool with you showing up sweaty, sunburnt, and exercise-high. So I make the best of it when I have one that will. (Of course, I bring a change of clothes.)
On the north shore there are a lot more busy beaches and a lot more people. The south side is quieter, with only a few beaches and not too much traffic. But once you get up to the north side it’s jampacked full of people almost all the time. The morning commute isn’t bad, but coming back on a Friday afternoon is pretty crowded. (I’m still moving faster than the cars on lake shore, though! Hah!)
There are some great views coming from the north entering the city. This is the way home for me, traveling around the downtown area and passing all the beaches. It’s an impressive city. It’s amazing how well they’ve managed to integrate parks and biking into their infrastructure. I absolutely love it. I wish it was easier to keep people off the bike trails, and treat it a bit more like a commuter spot, but maybe in time that will happen. Until then, I weave around all the people and just enjoy the view.