The weather today was very overcast and cold. At times there appeared to be misting on the windshield of the van as we drove southeast to the Beverly Hills Neighborhood on Chicago’s far south side. Anne Alt was to lead a ride of 13 riders in and around the environs of Beverly from a starting point based at the Ridge Park field building. We got there nearly an hour before starting time unawares that the trip which the GPS said would take nearly 45 minutes would today take 15 minutes or more less.
We donned the fairings on our Easy Racers Tour Easy bikes and waited for the group to begin arriving. Anne was the first to come and then she left to retrieve some sign-up sheet materials from her home a couple of blocks up the hill from the park. She returned shortly and before long our group was 13 riders strong and at least two of the group members were riding bikes with a special mention. Ken had a vintage Raleigh that had been restored and was ready to take out on its maiden voyage. Another rider who had been off his bike for nearly 12 months was venturing out on his nearly brand new Bike Friday Tikit.
There were a few folks who having ridden up from the NorthSide arrived a few minutes late, but before long the entire group was ready to roll. We were led out of the parking lot and headed over a street or so to begin the journey. But not before we got an overview of the neighborhood we were going to be seeing.
Brief Stops and Steep Hills
We were warned that there would be a few steep climbs as our route led from the valley areas up the ridge that was a hundred feet or more above the terrace upon which Ridge Park was laid. But the warnings were more dire than the climbs. Most were short and while you could easily get your heart rate to climb you could not sustain that for more than 15 seconds or so. Clearly the area in and around the Easter Ride route of last Sunday was a good deal hillier. And given the fact that that ride had been ridden in open areas where the strong winds could play havoc with your front fairing this was hardly a challenge in terms of keeping your bike on the roadway.
Anne did a very nice job of bringing out the highlights of the various buildings in the area. Some were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or one of his students. And most of the homes were on large lots that really set off the homes and their manicured terraced lawns. Others like the three we stopped to view up-close-and-personal we homes with “anti-lawns”. These were ones where grass was not the primary thing being grown but rather flowers, shrubs, trees and other colorful plants. These were a delight to the eye and a welcome break from the typical expanse of lush green grass.
As we neared the end of the ride we said our goodbyes and hurried back to the van to begin the drive northward to Native Foods Cafe. It was a wonderful mornings ride and a great way to learn about the history of one of Chicago’s most storied neighborhoods.
Distance: 8.3 miles
Time: 1h 01m 32s