It was a bit of a juggling act getting ready to ride today. But we decided to go ahead with Connie’s suggestion to ride south from the Evanston Municipal Parking Lot to the trail head of the Chicago Lakefront Trail and follow it down to Fullerton where the crowds were thickest as they watched the Chicago Air and Water Show unfold over the North Avenue Beach area.
As we rode south along Sheridan Road we could hear the jets of the Blue Angels roaring overhead. People as far away as Evanston had made their way to beaches there and were watching at a distance.
By the time we reached the Chicago Lakefront Trail the crowds were starting to leave the viewing area and were riding north against us. I missed getting a fantastic image of the Blue Angels formation as it did a vertical climb just over the area of the trail ahead of us.
And before long it was apparent that maneuver might have been part of the finale of the show. Suddenly every pedestrian and bicyclist from the beaches were heading our way. We decided to duck out of the flow and head inland just about south of Recreation Drive (near the Clock Tower).
When we finally reached Native Foods Cafe it was nice to settle into an outdoor table and just relax a bit. The special this month was the Bistro Steak Sandwich meal. It was really very tasty and I am going to recommend that it be part of the menu for the remainder of the year.
Any number of the guests that sat nearby we also enjoying this specialty. The sun was bright and the temperatures moderate. It felt as if one were sitting in San Diego near a seaside resort. Even the L-Trains that rumble past the area were somehow absent and that made for a wonderfully quiet meal.
I had a side of potato salad and Connie sweet potato fries. I cheated and stole a couple of her fries. She was nice enough to also give me the discarded French bread crusts that she had decided not to eat. I was famished and scarfed them down in a New York Minute.
We had the Chicagoland Bicycle Map out to decide the best way to reach Evanston with a minimum of moves towards the lake. It looked as if the most direct route was to take Damen as far north as possible and the work our way over to Ridge.
We moved along with the traffic trying to avoid both getting doored and right-hooked all at the same time. Bike lanes are something of an improvement but I have to agree with our European cousins in Amsterdam nothing takes the place of truly separate infrastructure. Cars are likely to squeeze you out of the bike lane when construction forces them to move right. And that happened today.
Anyone who lets a bit of paint on the ground (i.e. sharrows, etc.) lull them into a false sense of confidence about their safety is being naive. Stay alert and drive your bike defensively. I made a concentrated effort to use hand signals for two reasons. Connie was behind me moving along at a good pace and that means less time to avoid pavement eruptions. There were literally hundreds of them all along our route because of work being done on the road surface and in other instance because none had been done as yet. But the other added benefit was that motorists were especially mindful of what we were intending to do and acted respectfully.
On several occasions it was necessary to move towards the far left side of the middle lane because the entirety of the righthand lane was gone. Signaling that you were moving over to occupy that lane made all the difference. I even found a few of the cars following us nodding thanks as they passed. Nothing helps like a bit of courtesy in making the sharing of the road a more delightful experience for everyone involved.
We made one last stop at Dawes Park before reaching the van. A lady and her daughter were walking along the beach with their dog. She stopped and in Japanese explained all about the “cool bikes” we were riding. Connie thought the daughters helmet was cool as well. It was a Hello Kitty helmet in bright pink. Kids have all the fun!
Distance: 26.3 miles
Time: 2h 45m 47s
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