Thursday, July 10, 2008

Biking to Campus from Oak Park

Cindy and Her Purple Huffy
I’m a newbie to biking to campus. I rode 3 times during Chicago’s Bike to Work week. Finally, I rode again today. Started out by making sure there was enough air in the tires of my old purple Huffy. By 8 am I am riding down Augusta. Even before I get out of Oak Park, I hear a “Hi” or was a “Look out” and a guy in full biking gear on a fancy bike passes me by. For the next mile or so I try to catch up but finally he gets through a light I can’t. Healthy competition. The city waking up. I see a few folks on their front porches. A sprinkler. I pass by a few businesses that are usually closed by the time I ride home. Now people are just arriving to work. Smells – summer morning, fresh baked bread, fried onions. Crossing Cicero 8:10 am. Crossing Pulaski 8:15 am. Must be going about a 12 mph pace so it should take me 45 minutes. The city comes into view and I start to see more cyclists. Someone else passes me up. Must be my old slow bike. Maybe I should ask for a new bike for my special birthday coming up. Turn right onto Oakley. This is the home stretch. Finally, I pass someone on their bike! Construction on Lake Street “Do not enter” sign. Quick turn left – good thing Chicago’s on a grid system and you can always find an alternate route. Reach Leavitt and sign says “Local traffic only” but road is blocked. I figure if a pedestrian can get through so can I. Anything to avoid Damen which has a bike route up to the United Center but then you are literally sharing the road with trucks, cars and buses. I ride through a lot on gravel and between the blockade signs. Lake Street will be really nice when they’re done repaving. I pass through a row of pigeons crossing the road to eat the mulberries that have fallen. Around a pretty round-about. There’s the overpass for the Eisenhower. Jump a curb at the intersection with Taylor and Western and head east on Taylor. Good thing I’m not in a car. They’re doing some kind of road/sewer work in the middle of the street. Hello campus! I check out the prairie garden across from the hospital. Good – no one’s mowed it down this week. A little peace of sustainability on campus. Right onto Paulina Street and down the block to the bike rack. 8:45 am on the dot! Maybe I’ll keep my old bike after all. Sitting here at my desk I feel I’ve accomplished a lot already today and I did not contribute anything to my carbon footprint or pay a cent for gas.

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