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, March 21, 2011

Another "folder"trip on Amtrak

       Saturday  I had another trip to make on Amtrak, the day promised to be great outside, so I scheduled a 6 hour layover between trains in Chicago.  I had recently bought some Viva bag loops for my Dahon Expresso which allow me to use and mount my Frost River Saddlebag properly to the seat.
This was much nicer than trying to keep it steady under the "mousetrap" of my rear rack.  The bag makes a super overnight bag and holds much  more than I needed for the weekend.  The trip to the station was effortless and boarding was without incident, except for a few curious looks from the other passengers.  The train and station personnel were very cordial and accommodating and the folded bike fit nicely at the end of the car near the luggage compartment.
    After a very uneventful nap on the train a snack and cup of coffee, we arrived in Chicago about 20 minutes late.   I went right out to the street because I was ready for lunch.  The weather, while not sunny and bright, was warm (50 degrees) and pleasant.  Cycling had picked up since my last visit and bikes were parked everywhere around The Loop.
As well as outside Union Station.  I had forgotten the shoulder strap for my bag and decided it best to leave it at a locker in the station.  I had to wait over 30 minutes for a locker to be available and the cost is now an exorbitant $9 for the afternoon ($3 per hour, $9 max for 24 hours).  They have a machine now to take and verify your finger print for security.  Good thing, prevents anybody from trafficking in used underwear, I feel better.  I'll remember the shoulder strap next time.
  The rest of the day was great, I did nothing in particular but took a pleasant ride around State St and Michigan Avenue to check out some of the shops and have lunch.

Bikes were everywhere, I always get a kick out of the vintage bikes which are obviously being put to daily use.  This is a really nice, all original Motobecane I found parked outside the Art Institute.  After a couple of hours downtown I took the lakefront trail out to the real tourist trap, Navy Pier.  The path was busy with friendly commuters
enjoying the fair temperatures.  I saw a couple spandex hamsters who looked a little surprised when I waved at them, me in an argyle sweater riding a folding bike.  The rest of the afternoon amounted to some really nice riding around town and enjoying the activity on the streets.
  The most notable thing I encountered, and it made the day worthwhile, was visiting BAM (Books a Million) a downtown bookstore.
If you blow up this photo you will see what I mean.  Not only is the Fiction and Literature section right at the front door, the Poetry section is an entire aisle within view of the door!!!  I haven't seen that since I was in Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights Bookstore.  Most stores give all this up to political biographies and self-help gurus.  Poetry is relegated to a shelf in the back of the the third floor between the men's room and the fire extinguisher.  This made the day worthwhile.

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