Commuting and Leisure28 Jun 2008 10:33 pm

A cyclist beats the traffic by taking to the outside on the Lake Street bridge.

A woman’s voice announces over the loudspeakers in the Metra Ogilvie station as I leave the train downtown this morning, and I paraphrase: because of the Taste of Chicago, bikes will not be permitted on Metra trains starting today through July 6th. She thanked me for my patience.

Of which I have none.

The bike blackout days strike again.

OK, granted, this is not news to me. Two years ago I totally forgot about Taste of Chicago and tried to board the Metra train at Central Street to go downtown for something totally unrelated. The normally very friendly senior conductor, formerly a regular on the old 5:45 pm “Lawyer’s Limited” (my name, can you tell?), was stern and growling, “NO BIKES! NO BIKES!” as he held up his authoritative conductor palm and jammed his fingers on the buttons to close the doors.

Sheesh… two wheels and a helmet caused a personality change in this guy? Where was the friendly, schmoozing conductor on the 5:45?

Of course, I was pissed off, and rode downtown only to be late for what I wanted to be at on time if the train had let me on. BFD: the Waste of Chicago, an orgy of overpriced fatty foods that creates grease stains on the asphalt so profound that crews have to blast it off come Monday morning. Is it fun? Yeah, it’s fun enough, but not without a second mortgage and not every year. Besides, the music fests have a theme and music wrapped around the greasy food and beer. This is just food wrapped around more food.

But I go on. Looks like I will plan on my bike, the CTA, or some combination of the two, this coming week or so.

Well, regardless, the train ride saves me energy for bicycling to my evening tai chi class, which strains both my body and my brain.

OK, so this is not only about riding every day, it’s about…balance.

More on this topic as I go on.

2 Responses to “Friday 6/27/08: A Waste of Chicago”

  1. on 30 Jun 2008 at 9:17 pm Lori Osborne

    Hey George,

    I thought of you last week. I missed the “Lawyer’s Limited,” and caught the Ravinia train home instead. Due to the nice weather, the train was getting packed. I started feeling a bit claustrophobic and panicky that I might be trapped on the train forever, so I made my way to the vestibule a couple stops early.

    A passenger with a GIGANTIC baby stroller gets on the train. The stroller most certainly does not fit down the aisle, so he parks in the vestibule, taking up at least half the space (we’re on one of the handicapped accessible cars–otherwise there is no way that Hummer of baby strollers would fit up the stairs either).

    I am trapped on the stairs facing away from the platform. Central Street comes, and I inform Mr. Gigantic Baby Stroller that he MUST GET OUT OF MY F#CK*NG WAY IMMEDIATELY!! Okay–I actually just said, “ExCUSE me–my stop!” as I waited for him to manuever that monstrously huge obstruction out of my way. I scramble off the Metra just in the nick of time.

    So it occurred to me that if you just plop a baby carrier on your bike, you can call it a stroller and Metra will be forced to let you ride no matter how crowded the train.

  2. on 01 Jul 2008 at 5:35 pm Steve Cohen

    Two years ago I got on a Ravinia train that, I didn’t hear, was Express to Ravinia - no intervening stops. I had to go all the way and come back. I tried to make myself as obnoxious as possible to get the conductor to throw me off sooner, but it didn’t work. That treatment is apparently reserved for bikers.

    I thought they might have announced this and I simply didn’t hear it due to the loudness of the Ravinia crowd, but a couple weeks ago I got on another Ravinia train (the Robert Plant/Alison Krause one) and a fellow passenger also remembered that ride, and that they never did announce the changed itinerary.

    Gotta love Metra.

Trackback this Post | Feed on comments to this Post

Leave a Reply