31 July 2007

Question for Chicagoans

How often do you ride on the Lakefront Path?

I'm suddenly curious because I just realized something. People from elsewhere ask me all the time if I ride on "that trail there by the lake," and I always thought of it as an unbelievably silly question: of course I do, all the time--it's right there! But I live all of two blocks away from the "uncrowded" southern half,* and around here it's the quickest and most direct route downtown; if I lived in, say, Logan Square, that wouldn't be the case. So maybe there really isn't an obvious answer to that question.

Speaking of the Lakefront Path, why in the world does the Grand Illinois Trail route mercilessly direct riders to Navy Pier and the absolute worst segment of any bike trail in the Chicago area--that narrow, barrier-strewn, tourist-choked sidewalk along lower Lake Shore Drive? That should qualify as cruel and unusual punishment.

*This is all relative, of course. The part near 31st St. Beach is no picnic (actually it's one big picnic, which is the problem), but from what I hear the stretch up near Lakeview must be a solid mass of sweaty, half-naked northsiders.

4 Comments:

At 01 August, 2007 01:05, Blogger David Johnsen said...

I've ridden the North Side Lakefront Path twice in the last ten years (once because I figured I had to for my book). It's okay at the right time of day or in the winter, but I live two miles west of the lake now so it isn't worth riding there and dealing with the crowds. If I want to enjoy the lakefront, I'll walk or run instead (and hope some psycho triathlete doesn't run me over).

 
At 27 January, 2008 21:26, Anonymous musclebutt said...

The Lakefront Path is a great night ride up around Museum Campus. Of course, I recommend reflectors, flashing lights and great care to watch out for any creeps out there. I've never had a creepy situation happen, but I'll be ready if one presents itself. I used to take my car, park it, then did a rollerblade ride, then a bike ride. This was when I was younger and more adventurous.
I agree that the south end of the path is most beautiful. It's best to go early in the morning to early afternoon. The Southside cultural center has a nature walk by the beach where I have seen beautiful birds. The paths on the lake or close to the lake anywhere from Promontary point by Univeristy of Chicago down a little past LaRabida hospital have great nooks and crannies for exploration. I'm amazed how many people are still scare of "South Side Chicago". I'm lucky to have grown up in a non-prejudiced household and to have a great sense of adventure. It's the best way to experience life, nature and all the people you will meet along the way!

 
At 18 February, 2008 18:37, Blogger BadCarbine said...

The Grand Illinois trail hits navy pier? That is interesting. I looked in my little green map book(circa 2005) and the route it displays seems to be a good 15 miles or so from the lakefront entirely. I wonder if it's out of date... time to google!

 
At 18 February, 2008 18:41, Blogger BadCarbine said...

Ah! you're right! They must have changed it... Probably for the sake of attracting more riders? Well the one advantage is you can ride on the eastern and western border of Illinois with one path. Thats a plus for those die hard riders I suppose...

 

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