Cycling.

When I was a kid it was tradition for the country side of the family to meet up at Gram and Gramps’ for Easter dinner. My grandmother was a wonderful “farm-wife” cook and we’d all crowd around one or two tables for a delicious meal. My grandmother always wanted us to be around one table if humanly possible, the “kids” table was not a certain part of the configuration.

Since we lived right next door, I would take the week or two before Easter to fix up some of the bikes left over from my Dad’s childhood that were scattered around the barn. I’d make sure the tires were pumped up and that the bikes were in road worthy condition. If the weather was right, we’d take a four or five mile ride, all of us in single file, along the country roads of the area. I always enjoyed this and I think my paternal cousins did as well.

My husband is working today (Go Cubs!) so I had a few hours to myself this morning. Since the weather is beautiful here in Chicago, I decided to go for a bike ride.

I’ve ridden the Chicago Lakefront Trail plenty of times since we’ve moved here, but the northern half of it was under construction for much of last year. The city has been focused on separating the pedestrian from the bike lanes along the 18 miles of lakefront trail, as well as fixing some of the congestion points near Navy Pier and other key tourist spots.

I rode through the north side to get to the very top of the trail today along my usual route and started heading south along the trail. I’d only ridden twice this year, so my body was a little stiff but I was feeling pretty good. I cruised along at 16 MPH or so. The trail improvements are wonderful and it really does help improve safety along this busy corridor.

About six or seven miles in I decided to see where the trail ended up. I knew the length of it (18 miles) but I had never ventured south of the museums. I decided to ride the length of the trail to its end on the South Side.

What a beautiful ride.

This trail is used daily by cycling commuters, fitness enthusiasts, and just folks out for a walk on a daily basis. As many as 70,000 people use the trail on a typical summer day.

All in all I rode over 38 miles today. I feel fantastic. My legs are little stiff but I feel such a wonderful sense of well being right now. I think I broke a spoke on the way home but I got home just fine. I know some folks worry about me riding in the city but it’s very rare that I feel any sense of worry or danger during my bike rides. Chicago has such a wonderful network of cycling trails in the city, both on and off streets, and we really know how to take advantage of them.

I’m looking forward to my next ride. A lot.

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