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Archive for the ‘Bicycling’ Category

Bike the Drive 2008

Well, Grace and I both made it to “the cookie ride” this year. We had a great time. On the ride this year with us were Paul and Kenneth , two friends of mine from the burbs.

She was a little disappointed by the scarcity of cookies – for some reason I thought there were more cookie stops than just the two at the Museum of Science and Industry and up at Wilson Av. Usually Grace, like a lot of other four year olds, has trouble sitting still and focusing. However, when she gets on the tag-a-long, it seems like all her nervous energy goes into pedaling and she actually gets a more contemplative. She seemed to take in a lot of the scenery.

Going south to the Museum was a bit difficult at first. Grace is not a morning child, and she was crabby and a bit hungry to start out. We shared a Clif bar, and as we went along, she got more comfortable. People along the way remarked at how much she was pedaling. I honestly think it soaked up the energy – if she weren’t pedaling, she’d have been fidgeting somehow ;-)
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Bicycle Sleeper

We went on vacation last week to McHenry County in Illinois. Grace is now 4 years old, and she loves going out on the bike with me using a Burley Piccolo (a tag-a-long) that has six gears and attaches to my bike frame through a special rack behind the seatpost. Last Monday, she had a busy day hiking with Jen and I through Moraine Hills (I carried her on my shoulders for the last mile) and playing in the pool. That evening I wanted to go for a ride myself, but she begged to go, and I relented. So we got in the car and drove to a point on a bike path, hooked up the tag-a-long and off we went.

We headed through Glacier Park, which is a very beautiful area with a limestone and dirt path and minimal car crossings. The ride is very straight and uniform, the sun was hanging low in the sky, and the evening was warm. After about 3 miles, she started to feel like a loose sack of potatoes back there, so I asked her if she was OK and if she wanted some water. I didn’t get a reply, but I could see that she was sitting up in the rear-view mirror, and occasionally she looked from side to side, so I continued to the end of Glacier Park. At a road crossing there, I stopped and turned around fully: Grace was fast asleep, and yet gripping the handlebars tightly. While I stood there contemplating this turn of events, she gently swayed to one side and the righted herself, all with her eyes firmly closed.

So I did what any loving father would do in that situation, 4 miles from the car on a bike: I took out the water bottle and gave her two good squirts. Grace woke up startled an said, “Daddy, why did you squirt me?” I explained that it wasn’t really a good idea to fall asleep on the tag-a-long, and we really didn’t have any other options other than the bike for getting back before dark. So I turned around and we sang “Wheels on the Bus” all the way home to make sure she stayed awake.

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Bicycling This Weekend

Just came back from Charlotte, NC! I organized a small bicycling trip among friends, and we converged on that fair city and had our pick of many exciting road routes in the area. Unfortunately, I don’t think there was ever a city more surrounded by thunderstorms as was Charlotte this past Saturday, so on Saturday we ended up driving into Virginia to pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of the town of Meadows of Dan. Locally, this is pronounced like “metasedan”, which sounds a little bit like a car racing game, or even a little bit like “Medicine Man”. It was still rainy in those parts, and cold, about 55 degrees, and I was having trouble with asthma.
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Bike The Drive 2007

The night before the big ride, I started getting worried. I had been pumping up “Bike The Drive 2007” with my 3 yo daughter Grace warning her that although it was a long ride, there would be a lot of cookies and juice and we’d bring balls and play catch in the park at the rest stops. We’ve been building up towards a 30 mile ride by doing shorter rides in the Doodlebug, and I was confident that she was good for at least 90 minutes and we’d bail at 15 miles if we had to. Saturday night before the ride however, there was a line of thunderstorms from Chicago to Rockford and they were predicting 80% of thunderstorm activity in downtown Chicago until 7:00 AM Sunday morning.
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A Good Start

Got my bike back from the shop, nice weather, and took Gracie out for a ride.  10 miles, no problem!

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Ten Miles and a Flat Tire

I knew I was pushing my luck going for a ride today. Though it was a balmy 60 degrees with less than 10 MPH winds, it was wet and foggy. Plus the trails were in bad shape. I live near the Illinois Prairie Path, which is mostly limestone screenings, and at this time of year you usually sink instead of glide. However, the legs were aching for a good ride, so I figured I’d give the trails a try, and if they were really bad I’d find some surface streets to ride on.
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Bike The Drive 2007

Registration is open for for the 2007 Bike the Drive tour on May 27. It’s an annual 30-mile tour along Chicago’s lake front, and they close down Lake Shore Drive for the duration. For those not in the know, Lake Shore Drive is a 6 to 8 lane thoroughfare in downtown Chicago. I’ve ridden in it for the past several years in a row, and it’s wonderful! It’s always nice, easy and relaxed. I’ll post some pictures later.
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