26th Annual Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival Ride

Outbound Leg

Navy Pier Sculpture Garden

We arrived at the La Rabida Children’s Hospital parking lot in time to find a convenient spot. We had already had breakfast of bagels with peanut butter, acai berry smoothies with energy boost toppers and bananas, and medium-sized ice coffees. So it was easy to get the bikes out and don their fairings before heading south to the South Shore Cultural Center washrooms.

The golfers were “out in force” and who could blame them. Despite a bit of sprinkling on the way into the city the temperatures were moderated by the lessened humidity. And though the skies were a bit overcast it was still clear enough to see the skyscrapers in the downtown area from this distance.

A couple of female roadies paced us for about seven miles before they pulled away and we settled into a more sedate pace. The beaches were all full and the picnic areas as well. It almost reminded me of the Independence Day level of activity but not quite so frenetic.

I would have to say that the addition of the rental bikes on the South Side has made all the difference. Lots of folks appear to be using them and even those renting along the north end of the trail are traveling this far south to enjoy the beauty of the 67th Street Harbor.

At the Museum Campus area we slow a bit to let the pedestrians make their way safely and we climb the hill up to the street level with the traffic that passes in front of the Buckingham Fountain. More pedestrian traffic here as well. And bikes are everywhere. We can see Segway Tours being conducted for at least three groups as we pass the Navy Pier area.

As we cross the midway point of the Lakefront Trail we can see boaters gathering for their weekend music mosh pit. They tie up their boats to one another and all play the same music over their loudspeakers. The beach area is where onlookers sit or stand and enjoy the merriment.

Up ahead we turn the corner past the beach restaurant and hear the band playing “house music” as we pass. A little further the volleyball crowds have taken up their positions and are spiking and volleying away. An outdoor hockey rink is set up not far away and guys on rollerblades are having Walter Mitty moments “on the ice” as they bring Chicago the NHL Championship once again.

At Hollywood we make another pit stop and then take to the streets to head north to the Ethnic Arts Festival. My cuesheet is a bit less specific than I would have like but we find our way to Dawes Park with relative ease.

Ethnic Arts Fair at Dawes Park

The Arts Fair is pretty big this year. But more important extensive work has been done to the pathway inside of Dawes Park. There is now a complete bike path that runs parallel to Sheridan Road. We use it to circle the fair and arrive at the north end of the tent area where the North Shore Century will “kick off” later this summer.

Connie heads over to take some images and scope out the food possibilities. I tend to the bikes so that no nefarious evildoers hie themselves off with them. A group of 10-year old boys keep running past playing a game of tag and as I suspect trying to get a glimpse of these strange bikes. They eventually give into their curiosity and want to know all about them.

Connie returns with the news that everything here (foodwise) is non-vegan. So we break out our second set of bagels and enjoy them thoroughly with ice cold water in bottles purchased from one of the vendors. I drop an aspirin just in case the knees begin to stiffen and we scan the lakefront noting that the Chicago-to-Mackinaw Sailboat Race must be underway given all the boats visible on the lake heading north.

We make another pit stop and then set out on the return leg of our trip.

Inbound Leg

About the only thing that need be said of the inbound leg is that my on-street navigation turned out to be better than it was last year. We followed the signs back to the Hollywood entrance to the Lakefront Trail with ease.

Once on the trail we settled into a more sedate pace than earlier and made our way southward to the van. I got a few knee twinges near Fullerton so we stopped and rested my legs. Then it was back on the bikes as we made a bee-line back to the van.

Once the bikes were stowed we turned up the air conditioning and drank a couple of carbonated cranberry energy drinks and then went off to Taylor Street in search of bean burritos and ice-coffee. Yummy!

Then we hit the highway and headed home after a very satisfying day of bicycling.

Distance: 48.1 miles
Time: 5h 15m 53s