Commuting and Errands and Leisure22 Jun 2008 02:17 pm

Conversation Starters

Definitely not as easy as riding the train or taking a car: I’m tired starting out today but make good time in good weather to work. Still, I always feel good after the ride and it takes the edge off a sedentery office job.

Cycling to work is a great conversation starter. Multiple people engage me about it, curious how far and how often I ride. I make no big claims here since I don’t do it every day. People seem to admire it but assume it’s impossible for them to do the same. I always encourage them to try it.

Nancy’s Northbrook Trip

Nancy decides to take a yoga class in Northbrook, a real suburb with lots of cars and traffic and subdivisions at the north edge of Cook County. Her unreliable rear tire forces her to choose an alternate bike and opts for the old brown women’s bike with front basket over her fixie. She’s gone by the time I come home and start dinner. As the fish tacos come together and the light starts to fade around 8:30 pm, Nancy comes home and puts her bike away. Perfect timing, it is.

Her trip was a success. She took the Green Bay Trail to Lake Cook Road and rode west on that. She points out that crossing on/off ramps to the expressway is dangerous: drivers are just not expecting to see a bike after doing 80 mph on the Edens Expressway. Big surprise. It took her an hour but her planning gave her a half hour of cushion before class.

After class, she gets out to Lake Cook Road and the 213 Pace bus comes along, conveniently enough. She puts her bike on the front and gets home in 20 minutes. Northbrook by bike and bus? It can be done with some planning.

The fish tacos turned out great, if I do say so myself. I think I eat more when I cycle.

2 Responses to “Thursday 6/19/08: I Go South, She Goes North”

  1. on 29 Jun 2008 at 12:37 pm Steve Cohen

    Hey George and Nancy, love this blog. Don’t see too many comments here, I may be the first.

    Some tips on Northshore routes:

    1. Skip the Green Bay Trail except maybe at rush hour. Better route: Green Bay to Wilmette Ave., turn right, out to Sheridan which you hit just after the construction site to the South. North to Tower, left to Old Green Bay, follow Old Green Bay and then some newly paved mansion-y streets whose names I don’t remember that are recently paved up to Park St. in Glencoe where you turn right, then back to Sheridan and all the way to Lake Cook. Much nicer than the Green Bay Trail.

    2. Rather than trying to cross the Edens on Lake Cook consider using Skokie Blvd (old 41) instead. It’s got fairly recent pavement and not too much traffic (although I mostly use this route on Sunday so take this with a grain of salt). Take it down to Tower, a much safer place to cross the Edens.

    3. You probably know that they’ve finally done a good job on the North Branch Trail, which is probably now my preferred route to Northbrook as compared to the last two or three years when the route was to be avoided like the plague.

    4. Another decent route is Central Park to Wilmette Ave to Illinois to Hibbard to Tower.

    I wish I could think of doing this myself. Two winters ago when my old Toyota Camry died, we did not replace it for the whole winter, doing so only when Sam’s return from college was imminent. We carpooled in our remaining good car and felt pretty good about that. Then we caved and bought the Prius which leaves us in the ridiculous position of having two cars and only one able driver eight months out of the year, Martha’s condition no longer allowing her to drive at all. Unfortunately, though, she can’t bike either, though recently she has thought of adding a cart similar to yours as a way of stabilizing the bike (making it more like a tricycle) That might enable her to have enough sense of balance to do it.

    Speaking of the Prius, I’m in a semi-state of war with Toyota. Details may be found by Googling the following phrase exactly, (including quotes) which will produce exactly one hit:

    “Overly aggressive ice-scraping”

    proving that even the most “environmentally friendly” cars have their downsides.

    Good luck!

  2. on 29 Jun 2008 at 1:07 pm Steve Cohen

    On second thought, take with rocks, not grains of salt, my comment 2 above unless you are riding Sunday morning. It now occurs to me that that Skokie Blvd. may be really lousy now with Edens-construction-avoiding cars at any other time. After they finish, maybe it could be a reasonable alternative.

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