This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Folding Bikes, Amtrak, Ice Sculptures, Shakespeare and Da Bears!

      What do all these things have to do with one another?  The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers were playing at Soldier Field in Chicago Sunday for a Super Bowl birth.   I got up early in the morning, rode my infamous Dahon Expresso to the train station in Kalamazoo in a balmy -20 wind chill.  Damn it was really cold, cold enough to keep the ice sculptures downtown very happy
So, I caught Amtrak down to the Loop, the early morning train was running a little late but was still scheduled in before noon.which was no problem. I have to admit that I always get a little anxious before a train ride.  Not because of some childish fascination with travel, I wonder if I'll run into some train personnel having a bad day and cause a confrontation boarding with my bike.  There was no problem today the bike tucked away neatly at the end of the car and the trainmen were very cordial.  A nap and cup of coffee later and I was in the windy city, towing my bike behind me like a high tech luggage cart.  I stepped out into the sun on Jackson Boulevard and pedaled my way across town to Navy Pier.  Being Sunday the traffic in the loop was very light, and it was about 30 degrees warmer than Michigan because for once The Windy City was not.
       Well I reached Navy Pier in about 20 minutes and was very impressed with the condition of the Lakeshore Trail.

The city must actually pay attention to it and I ran across a dozen or so many joggers enjoying the sunshine and mild afternoon.  Well I reached Navy Pier and decided to park my bike there at the bike racks next to the security station.  It was my first time to use a new Abus Bordo chain lock with this bike and found it caused problems.
 Those who remember my earlier review of the Abus lock, it is excellent but each link in the chain is about 4 inches long, so it's not as flexible as a normal chain.  With the weird geometry of the folding bike, it doesn't fit through the frame and front wheel "as you like it."  So  I folded the bike and ran the "chain" through the wheels and frame to attach it to the post.

It's a little hard to see in the photo but everything got locked up properly, I even locked the ring lock on the rear to make certain and left it.  Not a bad idea, it looks like an abandoned pile of junk.  Maybe I've found a new security system to develop.
Well at any rate I had a little time to do some shopping and have a bite at Harry Carey's where I found out the line on the game was Green Bay by 3.    Confident that the Bears had all the support they needed from me, I went off to find my seat at the Shakespeare Theater.  I had a wonderful afternoon, the play was sold out but only half the audience showed up because of the game.  At the intermission, we heard the dismal news about the Bears' dilemma, and went back from our cocktails to enjoy the rest of the play.  You figured it out by now that, although I watch a game now and then, I take the same attitude as Bobby Knight toward professional sports: "I'd rather watch snails fornicate!"  Even though this was not an earth shattering production and "As You Like It" is not one of my favorite Shakespearean plays, it is always good to see Shakespeare performed in this particular theater. I enjoyed this pageantry

much more than I would this,

and in some perverse way it felt good to spurn professional football and choose a romantic comedy instead.
      I had a bit of time to kill before the evening train, so I thought I would take a slow ride back to Union Station and enjoy  the end of the game at a bar there at the station.  There was nothing slow about the ride back, the city had become windy once again and since the arctic winds were cooled by a 300 mile long ice cube

blowing into hundreds of square miles of concrete and glass: the temperature had dropped...just a tad!
I think I got across The Loop in about 15 minutes.   I felt pretty good once I was pedaling, but had left my Polartec head sock at home and thought my face was going to freeze off.
    The rest of the evening went well, I got to watch all the losers moan and mope while I talked about how much I enjoyed the play.   The ride home went without incident, in fact the station attendants, far from hassling me about the bike, moved me to the head of the line to make it easier to board.  It was an altogether different experience than I have had with them in the past.

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