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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rainy biking on the Lakefront Trail

Posted By on 11.08.11 at 12:44 PM

Biking in the rain can be kind of fun in the summer, but the colder the weather gets, the less pleasant it becomes. For the last couple hours of work yesterday, I had the same internal debate I always have when the weather's dicey: to bike or not to bike (in this case, from the Reader office in River North up to west Rogers Park, then home to Ukrainian Village later in the evening). As usual, this involved obsessively checking weather.com (even though I know how often it's wrong) to see what the odds of rain would be later in the evening, as well as figuring out possible routes via public transit. I also considered going home to get my car first, how much longer that would take, and how much sitting in traffic on the way up would make me hate the world. And as usual, biking was the fastest and most convenient option, so I took my chances that my ride home would be rainy.

It wasn't supposed to be rainy on the way up, though. (Did I mention how terrible weather.com is?) By the time I wheeled my bike out of the office it was dark out and a light rain was already falling, but it was too late to consider any of the other transportation options—I would have been horribly late. I started biking, but I wasn't happy about it. It was impossible to tell whether the rain was going to get heavier or lighter, and I had a good ten miles to go. As I navigated the traffic lights and stop signs of River North and tried to gauge whether it might be letting up a little bit, I wasn't loving biking in Chicago.

I got on the Lakefront Trail at Oak Street. The light drizzle had turned into a heavy mist, the lake was calm, and the path was nearly empty. It was beautiful and quiet, worlds away from the downtown traffic I'd been in just a couple minutes before, and a far cry from the usual congestion of the path on summer evenings. There were a few runners out, but I had the path almost to myself. I cruised along, passing the cars crawling along Lake Shore Drive, and was suddenly really happy to be biking.

And cycling home from Rogers Park? It was raining harder then, so I accepted a ride from a friend. I was feeling a little guilty about making her go out of her way to take me home, but then I realized her car had heated seats, and suddenly I was really happy to not be biking in the rain.

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