Getting to the Ride StartWhen the Daylights Savings Time Change is reversed you get an extra hour of sleep. It never seems to be enough. Probably because your body is accustomed to waking an hour earlier and still does despite the chance to “sleep in”.
After considering a couple of alternative rides we settled on the Chicago Lakefront Trail. We still want to ride the north branch of the Illinois Prairie Path to visit the updates made to the two bridges along that section of trail. But that would have to wait until another weekend. Today we were heading once again into the city and would be parking at the La Rabida Children’s Hospital where the parking is free and security is top notch.
The Easy Racers Tour Easys seemed the right kind of bikes to ride today. We donned our front fairings and made our way south first to the South Shore Cultural Center to use their bathroom facilities. With the advent of November the Chicago Park District closes ALL of the public washrooms along the trail, so beware the full bladder! You can however use the public restrooms on the Navy Pier Concourse.
Lots of Runners and Bikers out today. We spied high school long distance runners entering the golf course up ahead. As we are leaving the parking lot they are coming back from a loop around the Center. Inside the Center it is warm and inviting. The Sunday Brunch is out and folks are piling their plates high with good food!
Back outside Connie is waiting and tells me that she just spied a coyote walking boldly through the courtyard of the Center. We keep an eye out for our visitor. It seems that the Western Suburbs are not the only place where wild critters are trying to practice survival.
Getting On With the Ride
The sun is shining brightly today and there is a slight wind from the south. This will mean that on the return trip we will possibly be facing a bit of a slog. But right now the wind is keeping the legs stronger than usual and it is simply a matter of turning over the pedals in a consistent fashion.
At 31st Street a surprise change is encountered in the trail itself. A bypass has been installed which takes us close by the Lakeshore Drive and down a steep embankment just north of the beach house. It seems that the new pier construction and other changes will result in the trail’s closure for nearly a year. We won’t be able to use this facility until April 2012!
By the time we reach the Museum Campus it has begun to get a bit colder. As the light wanes you would expect this to happen but also the trail is less protected here. We continue past the Navy Pier area and encounter a more bustling crowd along the trail.
Just beyond the Lakefront Theatre area we decide to turn back and find a washroom. Now the wind is confronting us and there is a slightly greater pedaling resistance than before. I note two things today that surprise me. There are still folks riding and walking in shorts and sleeveless tops and secondly they seem oblivious to the temperatures.
At the Navy Pier Connie heads inside and I wait outside doing a bit of people watching. If you have any difficulties with crowds you really want to avoid this area!
Ready to Head Home
The ride back to the car was uneventful, but colder. We pack up the bikes and head out in search of some food. The Cedars of Lebanon Restaurant is a stones throw from the parking lot and off we go. The falafel sandwiches are yummy and the baklava goes well with the Starbucks Coffee we manage to score just before hitting the road towards home.
A nice ride on a coolish day but it beats snow and zero degrees anytime!
Distance: 28.3 miles
Time: 3h 23m 25s