It was about 51 degrees F and partly cloudy at about 11 am on this 2-days post-election (still disoriented) morning in my childhood home of Chicago, on my way to see my parents.
Arrived in Union Station right around the scheduled time of 9 am after catching the City of New Orleans in Champaign at a little after 6.
Had planned to take the Orange Line (rapid transit, or, “el,” train) to my parents’ place but then noticed a rack of light blue Divvy rental bikes lined up under the sunshine and perfect temperature, begging me to have another go at biking to the neighborhood.
Last summer I’d attempted this ride but only made it less than a quarter of the way when the front tire of the Divvy bike went flat. I didn’t know how to exchange it for a fresh bike and reached my destination by falling back on the Orange line.
So here was another chance, and I plied the kiosk touch screen, slid my credit card in and out, and removed the bike from its stall, ready to roll.
Had some trepidation: normally I don’t ride without a helmet (did they sell them at Walgreens?) and was not used to navigating big city streets. (I was born and grew up here but have spent almost every one of my adult years in much smaller Champaign-Urbana) For example, could not bring myself to look down through the mesh-decked bridge at the river below. And the bike seat needed adjustment (it actually was too high!) and had to pull the heavy (!) bike over a couple times to fine-tune the height.
But the ride was smooth enough, and appreciated the front carrier, in which I secured the box of frozen local pork chops I brought from U of I Meat Sales for my Dad.
Headed south on the bike lane of Clinton Street. Should have heeded the turn in the ole lane at Roosevelt Road and had to retrace my route when it was cut off by the UPS station. Eventually made it back to Canal Street and on to familiar Archer Avenue.
The traffic was reasonably light and the temperature comfortable, but faced a brisk headwind. It was a good workout!
The scenery was not like that of central Illinois,
but it was stark in a different way.
Relaxed more as I rode along but did not stop much.
Did get a shot of a triangular building that fit the corners made by the intersection of right-angled and diagonal streets.
Stopped to view the Archer Avenue Bridge over one of the branches of the Chicago River,
this manifestation of which was built when I was eight years old.
Loved looking down from the bridge.
Was glad to note that the river smelled better than I remember it used to.
After somewhere between five and six miles and 45-some-odd minutes, I inserted the front wheel of the Divvy bike into the rack by the 35th and Damen Orange Line stop,
grateful for the intrepid souls who’d fought the odds to bring this so-civilized service into being. And did feel proud to have succeeded in completing the trip!