It was 72 (?!?) degrees F under thin, high clouds that the sun intermittently showed through this morning at 5:20 as I headed to catch the Amtrak to Chicago.
Recently, Champaign-Urbana has joined the bike-sharing movement, and I was able to find (actually saw it there for a couple of days already) a VeoRide (dockless bike share) bike right across the street from my house to take me to the Illinois Terminal.
Was glad to be able to support the bike share movement, even though I have two of my own perfectly good bikes. This way didn’t have to risk leaving one of them out in the rain while I was gone. Not that the bike getting wet would have been a huge problem….
Anyway, pulled up the app on my phone, scanned the code on the bike, it magically unlocked, and was ready to go. I think the “hardest” part of the process was originally downloading the app and entering the necessary information.
Decided this time to bring along my bike helmet, which is kind of a bulky extra thing to have to carry. But it was easy to fit it into the slightly larger than usual bag I brought and not at all heavy. So, safety points for me!
Loaded the larger bag on the convenient front carrier on the bike, slung the backpack on my back, and was off.
Rode west on Springfield Avenue and don’t think I saw another vehicle until I got to First Street.
There my attention was caught by a profusion of peonies.
Their profusion was, I believe, a benefit of the recent plentiful rains.
Got to the station in plenty of time!
Peacefully rode the Amtrak train to Chicago and picked up a Divvy bike outside of Union Station
which I rode over the river
and thought the streets
to a Divvy dock close to the house where I grew up, where my parents still live.
Some of my siblings and their families came over later on, and we, semi-spontaneously, celebrated my mom’s 85th birthday. Always good to be together.
Early next morning, joined three of my dear childhood friends to participate in “Bike the Drive,” an annual Chicago event where Lake Shore Drive is closed to motor traffic and cyclists ride from Millennium Park south to the Museum of Science and Industry (5500 South) and/ or North to Hollywood Avenue (5700 North).
In past years we’ve gone the whole distance, but today the weather was uncertain, and none of us relished the idea of being wet during or after the ride.
So we entered the the Drive at 31st St., took the southern route, turned around and went as far north as North Avenue.
We were proud of showing up and glad to be together for some of the kind of activities we shared so long ago.
Afterward that same day was a great baby shower for my niece, and next day returned on Amtrak, which was on time except for the totally predictable (at least it has been every time I’ve take this train in the past couple years) pause for letting a long freight train pass. Wonder why that’s not calculated into the schedule. But it was a very small problem as these things go.
Back in downtown Champaign picked up a VeoRide bike across the street from the Illinois Terminal. Would have preferred a non-electric boosted bike, but the closest one had a rather soft tire. Also was curious about the “e-bikes,” so took the more expensive ride.
The “e-boost” turned out not to be much help for about half the ride–the electric motor was not engaged much of the time. Also the front brake cable seemed to be broken and made a repeated loud noise as the wheel revolved. Submitted a report about the condition of the bike when I finished using it.
But got home safely and was glad for the trip.