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Lise
06-06-2007, 08:48 PM
I wasn't sure where to put this, but I got an email with pix from Bike The Drive today, and realized I needed to post the story on TE! It was a small adventure, so here goes:

Once a year, on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the city of Chicago closes Lake Shore Drive (LSD) from the northernmost point to 57th street, about 15 miles of road along Lake Michigan. It's closed from 5:30 - 10:30 AM. Bikes are never allowed on it at any other time (although some of you may remember when I accidentally ended up riding my bike on LSD last summer :eek: !) About 30,000 riders participate in Bike The Drive. I'd done it once before, my mom's done it several times, and one year my brother flew out from DC just to ride with her. My boyfriend, J, had never done it, and was quite intrigued when he heard about it.

We signed up, he went and picked up our t-shirts and helmet numbers, and gave me minute to minute (it seemed) updates of the weather for Sunday morning. It looked like it was going to be rainy and chilly, but we didn't really care. J's motto became: Unless 20% of participants are hit by lightning, I want to do the ride! We laughed about how they could post those big signs by the side of the road with updates...
7:42 AM: 6% of participants have been hit by lightning.
Proceed with caution.
:p
The day dawned rainy and a bit chilly, but not too bad. J. lives fairly close to the Drive, so I'd brought my bike up there the night before. I decided to ride the Larkspur, rather than the Green Hornet (Bianchi Veloce). The Larkspur's a good city bike, with wider tires that never slip on wet pavement. It also allows me to be more upright, and I knew we'd be chatting a lot as we rode. We'd calculated how much time we needed, and left his place around 6:30 AM. It was so much fun to just ride our bikes up the on ramp and join all the rest of the cyclists! You weren't supposed to just hop in like that--"for safety reasons, all riders must start at the starting point", which was 9 miles away, downtown. We thought, why on earth would we NOT just hop on the Drive? The police were guarding the on ramps, to keep cars off, but they sure weren't going to get out in the rain to keep bikes off!

You see cyclists of every possible ilk doing this ride. Including, it turns out, TE's own Queen and her SO! (found this out later...so no meet up, not this year.) There are speed demons who start at 5:30 and do the entire loop twice, or 60 miles. There are folks like J and me, who've put some money into our bikes and gear, and know how to ride safely and at a decent pace. There are folks in huge, billowing rain ponchos or soaking wet cotton t-shirts, on bikes that could use some serious adjustments, but they're out there, pedalling along! There are very snazzy recumbents, and whole family groups. The families were my favorite. Best family group: Dad pulling young kid on a hook-on bike, behind which was a burley with two little kids fighting with each other. Mom riding next to them, trying to get kids to stop fighting, and then....she sort of....drifted back a bit....:p ....and who can blame her... Second place goes to the mom with a kid on a little bike with training wheels. Kid's wheels get stuck in a groove, and he's pedalling like fiend but going nowhere. She stops riding, picks up his bike with him on it, sets him down on flat pavement, and off they go. Seven miles later, I saw them again, still going!

This picture is taken just after the turn around at the Museum of Science and Industry, the southernmost point. As you can see, I'm representing Amici Veloce! With a color-coordinated orange jersey underneath 'cuz it was a smidge bit chilly. My leg is at a rather odd angle, I noticed. I think I was trying to not hit the photographer, at which I succeeded.

So we rode back north, enjoyed some coffee and clif bar give aways at the festival, and then rode on home, stopping for an omlet (J), and Belgian waffle with peaches and pecans (me). It was a total of 33 miles. A good hot shower and a delicious nap made for an all around lovely day!

If you're ever going to be in Chicago around Memorial Day, definitely plan to do Bike the Drive! :D

Pax
06-06-2007, 09:15 PM
Lise, I saw you on the Drive!! You were southbound (on the North loop) while I was still chugging away heading north...I saw the Ameci Veloci jersey go by and wandered if I knew the rider. Very cool!!

Lise
06-06-2007, 09:19 PM
Are you serious?!? How cool! :D

I wondered if I might see any TE'ers, and figured that the AV jersey was the best way to connect! We must've just started--we got on the Drive at Lawrence Ave, two ramps south of the northern turnaround. I'm so impressed that you even noticed it, going the other direction. Now, let me think, when did I take off my jacket? Probably around Fullerton...perfect timing! :D That's so fun. Thanks for telling me!

crazycanuck
06-07-2007, 01:26 AM
Looks like you & J had lots of fun! 30,000 folks..oh dear.:eek: I would def stay away as that's just too many cyclists in one area!

Too bad you & queen didn't get to catch up though. Always next year.

C

Pax
06-07-2007, 05:09 AM
CC - Even with 30k people there it's not really crowded, LSD is 4 lanes in each direction so you've got people riding from 5:30am to 9:00am on 8 lanes. It was FANTASTIC!!

Lise - You look great! Our pics were taken at the start when it was pouring buckets, mostly we look like drowned rats. :p

Lise
06-07-2007, 05:16 AM
Our pics were taken at the start when it was pouring buckets, mostly we look like drowned rats. :pHa! I can imagine! We took pix of ourselves with my cell phone early on, when I was still wearing my grey jacket over my black pants, and it was still raining....we look like greyish wet rats on a greyish wet pavement! In the above pic, we're just coming off the best rest stop, where I stretched and ate a banana, the kids at the snack table were doing cheers, and weather was clearing up. :D

Veronica
06-07-2007, 05:28 AM
You look great Lise!

V.

bouncybouncy
06-07-2007, 06:11 AM
Hopefully that event becomes contagious and we see it in more cities!!!

http://www.bikethedrive.org/

(love the song choice!!!)

they even make it easy to attend from anywhere...

http://reservations.877chicago.com/1091_package-info_p1074.html

Pax
06-07-2007, 06:26 AM
Even though my SO is a native of Chicago we played tourist the day before the ride:

This is us at "The Bean" in Millennium Park (I'm the *cough* more substantial one)
http://i209.photobucket.com/albums/bb217/Deepliquid/Chicago%20May%2007/HPIM0213.jpg

And here is a cool pic I took of The Bean
http://i209.photobucket.com/albums/bb217/Deepliquid/Chicago%20May%2007/HPIM0210.jpg


Chicago is an awesome city, if any of you are thinking about a visit you should try and plan it around the Bike the Drive, it's a blast!!

Sheesh
06-07-2007, 07:06 AM
Every year we plan to do Bike the Drive, but something always ends up getting in the way - last year it was a trip to NYC, this year it was Mr. Sheesh's torn miniscus. Maybe next year... it looks like tons of fun!

Lise - Welcome back!

Lise
06-07-2007, 07:06 AM
Queen--great pix! I do love my city! How does that bean stay so shiny? It's a modern marvel.

Bouncy--thanks for mentioning the music--I'd never watched the video before! Very sweet.

pll
06-09-2007, 09:55 AM
I love this ride, too. This was the second year I did it: meet with some friends in Evanston at 5am, ride to the entrance to Lake Shore Drive on Bryn Mawr, head to 57th and back to Evanston.

At 5am, I do not remember how to unclip, so, for the second year in a row, I have landed on the ground when I came to the first stop... It's a good thing there are not many witnesses at that time.

Pax
06-09-2007, 10:21 AM
I love this ride, too. This was the second year I did it: meet with some friends in Evanston at 5am, ride to the entrance to Lake Shore Drive on Bryn Mawr, head to 57th and back to Evanston.

At 5am, I do not remember how to unclip, so, for the second year in a row, I have landed on the ground when I came to the first stop... It's a good thing there are not many witnesses at that time.

Funny! We stayed with my niece (who doesn't drink coffee) and lo and behold Chicago coffee shops are NOT open at 5am...we did the ride without coffee. Needless to say, I'm lucky I didn't just ride into the lake and drown. :p

SR500
06-09-2007, 07:39 PM
Cool, we were there on our very red Trek tandem. DH sported a Shrek jersey. Rained the first 8 miles, but a great ride. Hope to do the night ride next year.

maillotpois
06-12-2007, 01:28 PM
Excellent report - and great photo!!!

I am just so happy you and J are doing things like this together!

Lise
06-12-2007, 08:01 PM
Thanks, Sarah! He loves biking. In fact I just ordered him another jersey off SAC. It's his b-day next week, and I'm putting together a bike-themed gift (and a Beatles-themed gift, too :p ) He really just started biking about 18 months ago, and it's fun to watch him discover the joys of it.

maillotpois
06-12-2007, 09:57 PM
That's just cool.

:)