Friday, February 02, 2007


Got ready to leave work at around 4:45 pm but all the preparation for the cold weather delayed my departure until well after 5:00 pm. Putting on all the layers, gloves, booties, headgear, etc., seemed to take forever. The inside of my mittens were still clammy from perspiration despite over 24 hours to dry. What a bummer. Once I got on the road I saw steam and chimney smoke indicating winds from the southwest. So I thought I'd have a boost on my way home.

I was dressed well and the frigid temperatures didn't bother me for the first part of my ride. After about 15 minutes I thought I might be a bit overdressed as I was beginning to feel a little hot. On the Lakefront Trail near Balbo I took a few pictures of the Chicago skyline. At the Oak Street curve I encountered an intrepid young lady also navigating her way through the piles of ice along the bike path. After that I figure I saw less than six people for the rest of my time on the bike path. It was a pretty lonely ride.

At around Lawrence I was getting pretty dogged ready to be done but still 12 miles from home. Stiff winds were from the west and all the salt on the path was like driving on gravel; I was getting beat down. The areas of my body heading into the wind were chilled while the rest was comfortable or verging on hot. The exposure seemed to be sapping me more than usual. Pedaling alone in the cold darkness gave me nothing to think about except how much I didn't want to be there anymore. I took a drink of my Accelerade figuring I'd better get something in me before it froze.

At Sheridan and Ardmore I ran into another young lady on a bike. I said hello but wasn't in the mood to chat. I wanted to just get on with it. But driving through traffic took my mind off the wind and my growing fatigue. Once I got to the heavier traffic on Clark Street, I'd forgotten my troubles. But the ride from Howard, past Calvary Cemetery, and up Chicago Avenue can be kind of dull. It doesn't seem to get much better/interesting until Main Street.

The cold and accumulating salt and street crime was taxing my drive train. My chain and right pedal developed a steady and annoying squeak. I would have lubed it before I left today but I still hadn't replaced my busted bottle of chain lube.

The rest of the ride was the same old crap. Cold, dark, tired. When I finally arrived home I saw the temperature was only 2°.

Distance Traveled: 24.3 miles
Distance to date: 1872.6 miles
Price of gas: $2.28


leomemorial said...


I love to bicycle but just moved back home here from Florida. Man, I need to get used to biking in cold wetaher, because it's hard enough walking in it. But I could use some tips. I reside in the Midway area.

Besides, the CTA sucks. I'm sure biking would be much faster...

Steve said...

Aside from the obvious tips of dressing appropriately, keeping your bike tuned, blah, blah, blah. I'd suggest you bike as fast as you possibly can. That way you'll be bothered by how hot and tired you are instead of how cold it is.