First Spring Weekend Ride 2013


Ryan McVicker Wicker Park Native Foods Cafe Manager

Ryan McVicker
Wicker Park Native Foods Cafe Manager

The weather was sunny and bright but the temperatures were cold. Nevertheless being in Chicago you come to accept this as a Spring Thaw and welcome it with open arms. In fact several of the folks I saw walking on the street were in fact in short shorts. Yikes! Our culture is a chicken wings and beer culture. Short shorts are not our forté. Hope this fad passes in less than a season.

We meandered a bit on our way up to the restaurant. Woods Street is still a lovely and quiet route to take. We arrived in one piece. Saw only one rider who evidently did not understand the meaning of stop signs or red stop lights. He at least looked both ways (sort of) as he blew threw each sign. I noticed once again that for cyclists in Chicago the ultimate purpose of riding a bike is the speed with which you can get from one side of the city to the other.

Safety takes a back seat to speed. And my oh my what a chance these folks take when riding along Milwaukee Avenue. One rider blew past up in the bike lane and then proceeded to weave in and out of the traffic to get as far ahead as possible before re-entering the bike lane. Never once did he slow down enough to presumably get his fixed gear brakeless bike to do a panic stop. And he rode close enough to the parked cars that a “Door Zone collision” was inevitable. We desperately need to stop blaming motorists for this problem as it appears to be generated by our indifference to the laws of physics.

At Native Foods Cafe, Ryan gave us the good news that he is now the manager of that site. He has worked long and hard for this and we wish him well. It also appears that the chef there is now the chief chef for the company and flies all around in service of openings and training, great for her.

Finally our waiter is a fine fellow who like us is a fond rider of bicycles. He commutes to and from work on his fixed gear brakeless bike which he parks across the street under the elevated train platform. I asked him about his tire longevity. He said that he does not do “skip stops” so does not wear the patches normally seen on a fixed gear bike. Instead he rides with enough control to slow down his speed merely using his legs. I cannot tell you how hard that has to be. But what is certain his knees must be in excellent shape.

To each his own. But at least in traveling as he does he has to maintain a slow enough speed to maintain control. Skip stops are frankly stupid on streets like Milwaukee but I see folks doing them all the time. They evidently think it makes them look cool. To my eye it makes them look like organ donors.

Back at the van we loaded up the bikes and headed out for coffee. On the way home we gladly tuned into A Prairie Home Companion and enjoyed the ride westward.

Cyclometer Information

Distance: 8.4 miles
Time: 1h 12m 53s