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Posts tagged ‘Chicago’


It was lovely to spend the week in Chicago, altho sadly without any snow this year.  I love the city during the holidays – the lights, the decorations, the window displays.  While it is a heavy dose of opulence and extravagance, it feels somehow acceptable in is own way – at least on a temporary basis during the holidays.

We walked and walked, took in a movie and a play, shopped and ate  … the foods I remember from my childhood, growing up near the city. It brought back dear memories of Christmastimes past, and it is sweet to be able to share it and make new memories with my own boys who have come to love this city.

We saw plenty of bikes, a number of cyclists, but once again, my attempt to capture a bike messenger in flight never happened.  One of these days …

Tonight we will ring in the New Year at home with friends, and look forward to adventures on the road ahead in 2012 – and wish you all the same.  Cheers!

day 1 and already behind…


buried (alive)

2010 has come and gone, and I wish all of my friends a coming year filled with happiness, good health, smooth pavement, and contentment and civility with passing motorists.  And so much more.  🙂

Took some time “off” (really, c’mon – the stuff I do in no way resembles “work”) to spend with friends and family, and do the annual Christmastime visiting.  Think: the classic holiday movie Christmas Vacation.  And this is my only excuse for behind so behind in posting.

The 7-state untold-number-of-miles roadtrip began with a few days in Chicago, my hometown, the place of my birth, my roots.  There is nothing as wonderful to me as Christmastime in Chicago – the cold and snow, the wind, the lights of the city, the food.  Oh, the food… !


bike delivery and messengers on the streets of Chicago

Downtown, I really only saw a small handful of cyclists (compared to what I had seen back in August).  Mostly messengers and bicycle delivery guys, the ones whose jobs made it necessary to be riding in the cold, snow, and slush.

My favorite bike encounter of the trip was Jack’s Bicycle Puppet Show.  Jack parked his puppet-theater-on-wheels along the holiday shopper-filled corridor of State Street, and for a small donation you would be treated to some music and the adventures of Puppet Cat.  Awesome.


Jack's Puppet Show Theatercycle ~ State Street, Chicago

We left Chicago and headed for rural Pennsylvania, to spend Christmas with Mark’s clan.  My father-in-law was kind enough to dig an old 3-speed Huffy out of the depths of his garage so that I could do some pedaling while we were there.  (I suspect they all knew I needed some kind of outlet to get me out of the house for a couple hours each day…)

There was a lot of snow (18+ inches?), and with the small rural back roads virtually empty of traffic and the occasional passing Amish buggy, the snow-riding was a blast!  Three speeds of happiness in the snowy and slippery landscape.  I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas gift.


happiness in a borrowed bike - the trusty Huffy 3-speed in the snow (Pennsylvania)

a little slipping and sliding up the hill

a "trip computer" from another era ... or from the local Amish (?)

out in the open

kind of like getting a bike for Christmas

snowy happiness on an old Huffy

And so, to my friends (who are all more on top of things than I am – with full-blown statistics of miles ridden, events conquered, goals met and goals to be set) … thanks for putting up with my continued mindless ramblings, my lack of substantial contributions and goal-setting, and my silliness and lameness in general.  Maybe 2011 will bring a change.  But likely not.  Anyway, thanks for inviting me to the party, and wish you all the best for the next 365 days on the bike.

(And now … to sneak in a non-bike photo – because that’s the way I do things here.)


... kind of like the inner peace & serenity you find while on a bike (only trees can't pedal; I know)

chicago: city of bikes, lights and music

one of countless pedi-cabs seen around Chicago; popular choice for Lollapalooza concert-goers at the end of the day

I am behind in posting … and I have been reminded of this fact.  Sorry.  We just returned from a trip to Chicago – nine of us (including boys’ friends) headed up for Lollapalooza 2010.  Just. Amazing.

The bicycle culture has always been vibrant in Chicago, even from back in the day when I was growing up there.  And now, especially in summer, the city is saturated with cyclists of all kinds.  Women in heels on beautiful Dutch bikes, messenger-types on fixies, all variety of commuters on all types of bikes.  Fast bikes, fancy bikes, hip bikes, beater bikes.  I think my favorite (and one I am tempted to duplicate in my own manner) was the fur-covered bike we spotted on Michigan Ave.  Good grief, how I loved that one! 🙂

despite the heat wave, this one apparently needed a little extra warmth

The truth is, we actually hauled two of our own bikes up there with us – but never ended up riding, I am very sad to say.  Our group decided to just stay together, enjoying the music and each other’s company, walking everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.    At first I wasn’t sure I’d be willing to stick it out for 10-11 hours a day in the massive Lollacrowds (estimated at 68,000 each day, I believe), and thought some biking would be my alternate plan if I needed to escape.  However, the whole festival scene, the truly amazing music, the energy of the experience kept me – kept all of us – in the park the entire time.  It was wonderful and unforgettable.

Every night when the festival ended, the mass exodus of concert-goers would take over the surrounding streets of the city, all heading home.  It may look chaotic or even scary – but it was exhilerating, happy, filled with energy and excitement. On the last night, the entire crowd – probably a few thousand people – broke out into spontaneous singing of the chorus to “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire (who were the last to play on Sunday); you’ve probably heard the song from the movie soundtrack “Where The Wild Things Are”. It was just …. spine tingling, and a moment I will never forget.

the body of music lovers - leaving and taking over the streets, singing

I think I almost managed to break my camera taking photos, but decided to leave the music and city shots (as I am slowly uploading them) for Flickr, and only put a few of the bike shots up here.  I also may have put myself behind schedule on #330daysofbiking; but the truth is, as much as I would’ve liked to have ridden, I just don’t regret it.

Chicago – I miss you.  It was a magical reunion – from bikes to music to your breathtaking skyline at night.  The enchantment of Grant Park on a summer night, and Lake Michigan in the moonlight.  Not to mention some of the best food in the world, which I have dearly, dearly craved.  Thanks for welcoming me home.  Rock on; bike on!

late dinner in Greek Town ... and a bike on Halsted

merry christmas

Christmas tree in the Walnut Room of Macy's, State Street, Chicago

Just returned from a few action-packed and fun-filled days in Chicago.  It had been nearly 10 years since I had been back “home”, so it was great fun – revisiting favorite places, eating long-missed food, having a dose of “city”, and getting a much-needed serving of cold, snow, and city-Christmas feeling.  (Other pics are on my Flickr set, here.)

We managed to walk nearly everywhere – from the glitter of Michigan Avenue to the blustery lakefront and the museums.  We did take the train out to the suburbs one day, just to revisit the town I grew up in – Downers Grove.  The boys and Mark graciously indulged my desire for the re-visit to places from my past.

We saw a few sturdy cyclists braving cold, snow, and messy streets, but not as many as I expected.  Then again – would I be braving the crazy holiday streets in the same weather?  … Well, probably not.

a night-time commuter

Chicago Police Bikes

blue christmas, blue bike

Back home and celebrating Christmas in more balmy temperatures and rain.  I somehow managed to make Santa’s not-so-naughty list, for he brought me some really nifty bicycle-themed gifts this year.

Santa was in a bicycle mood this year ... 🙂

Wishing everyone a holiday filled with peace, friends, and family … I am so grateful for the wonderful people who fill my life with joy.  Looking forward a new year full of new adventures.  Cheers.