Thursday, January 11, 2007

Balmy Bike Ride

It was in the 40s today so I nearly died from heat stroke. Strong southerly winds almost made pedaling unnecessary.

At Chicago Avenue I said hello as I passed a guy on a mountain bike (or maybe a hybrid) wearing a pretty big backpack. I later sensed someone behind me; sometimes I'd see another shadow from the streetlights and then later I wouldn't. After a number of miles I finally looked back and there he was. So I grunted and waved and we jawed a while. It's difficult to have much of a conversation in such conditions though. The wind, the panting, the varying distance; its like trying to talk to someone on a crowded nightclub dance floor.

He was biking from Northwestern Hospital to Evanston, made the trip a couple of times a week, and was grateful for the tailwind considering he biked into it this morning. Eventually I was getting winded and fell in behind him. He was pretty tall in the saddle and maintained a killer pace. I think his seat was a little high because he rocked his body back and forth as if he was reaching for the pedals. My knees ached just watching him. I pulled up along side of him to yak some more in hopes he'd slow down a bit. Worked like a charm. Despite heading in the same general direction, he preferred to bike up Sheriden Road. I told him I preferred Clark Street because it was smoother and the vehicular traffic was slower. At Winthrop and Thorndale I peeled off and biked alone the rest of the way.

Biking through downtown Wilmette I noticed traffic backed up and a helicopter hovering above. I looked around for an indication of flashing emergency lights thinking there must have been a major accident. I crossed Lake Avenue but still didn't see any cause for the snarls. I decided to turn toward Green Bay Road to see what was going on. About twenty people were spread out among the four corners of the intersection each holding small signs protesting the troop increase in Iraq. The print was kind of small so people would definitely have to slow down to read them. Pretty clever.

Distance Traveled: 24.3 miles
Distance to date: 1632.6 miles
Price of gas: $2.46

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