adventures in biking

riding my bike again. after months and months off. what happened to the winter this year? mild. never even got cold. tonight after work, after sundown. dark sky and a chill in the wind. but it’s not cold. sweatshirt and windbreaker is all i need. my route up milwaukee to elston and on to kedzie.

waiting for the light to change at western and elston an older man pulls up on his bike and says something that’s hard to make out – something about we don’t ride, we glide. i smile and agree and we’re off when the light changes. breathing as i ride. watching the street and the lights. at california the light is turning yellow but i hear the older man’s voice, let’s beat the light. and he comes from behind and flies by me on my right.

we ride together the rest of the way. he’s from poland. he’s in his 60’s but bench presses 200 pounds! he rides everywhere! he and his son both do. he loves to ski! has skied all over europe! he asks how old i am, i tell him 34. 34? like my son. you are an old goat. but i am an old ma-a-a-a-an. he bleats like a goat. he’s on his way home from volunteering at catholic charities. we head north on kedzie together. a car pulls out in front of him just north of the brown line tracks. when we meet up again at lawrence, i say, bad drivers. he says – what can you do? i’m patient. there are bad drivers all over. poland? terrible drivers. russia? terrible! czech republic? terrible drivers. germany and belgium, terrible. switzerland? he pauses – not so bad.

at foster we say goodbye and i head home. the light is on in the kitchen.

adventures in biking summer 2010

I was on my bike early on Monday morning. 7.30. The sun in the sky. Hot. Already 83 degrees out. The downtown Chicago skyline obscured by haze. Only the barest outlines of shapes visible. Sweat on my forehead. My t-shirt. My arms. My neck. Riding on Elston. My favorite street in Chicago. Wide. Two lanes for cars and bike lanes as well. It’s a diagonal street heading SE/NW to or from downtown. Only a few traffic lights to stop for. Ten minutes out, I noticed my left foot wobbling a little on the pedal. It seemed weird. I thought maybe my shoe was catching on part of the pedal or crank or something. After a few more pedals and a hundred yards or so the crank with pedal still attached to it shot out into the street. Continue reading “adventures in biking summer 2010”

pneumonia front


Riding my bike home from practice. The first warm night of the year. I’m wearing a t-shirt. Memorial Day Monday. Leftover grease charcoal smoke hanging in the trees of the park on California. Dark. Cook outs packed up. Windy. Wind blowing against me in gusts. As I make a left onto Montrose a strong gust hits me in the face and I breathe grit and debris blinking to see. And it’s cold. Completely cold. The temperature drops. I’m enveloped in cold clean air. The wind picks up. My t-shirt is not enough. Screams shouts and shrieks from the girls on the sidewalk. People hurrying from cars and minivans to waiting apartment buildings.

As I walk in the back door into the kitchen, H is there putting dinner away. The bright light reflects blinding off of gleaming white walls and counters. I tell her what just happened with the temperature. A pneumonia front just came through, she replies.

adventures in biking

on my way to work the other day. cold. sun. me wrapped with scarf and ear coverings. layers under my windbreaker. breath frozen. left eye tearing as it does in the wind. at the corner of petersen and jersey. i was stopped at the light.

jersey has a left turn lane, a lane for going straight and a right lane for turning right or for assholes who also want to keep going straight. if said asshole wants to do this they have to cut off the car in the lane to their left fast. otherwise the asshole will crash into the cars parked on the street just north of the intersection. jersey is only a two lane street on the other side of petersen. the turn lane is unmarked but it’s pretty obvious that you can only go straight by cutting off the car to yr left.

when i get stopped at this intersection i stop in between the middle lane (that goes straight) and the turn lane. this way cars making a right can still do so while the light is red.

an suv sort of car pulled up in the right turn lane. the window rolled down. this dude with coffee in his left hand. close beard. heavy flannel shirt.

“hey. are you driving a car or riding a bike?” he said with the setup.
“i’m riding a bike.”
“yeah. yr supposed to be all the way on the right side,” he said smug with his punchline.
“yeah. i am. that’s the turn lane. i’m going straight.”

he hesitated for a second. it seemed he hadn’t thought of that. “well, yr brave buddy. that’s all i can say.”

the light turned green and I headed on my way. i noticed his car when it eventually passed me on the other side of petersen.

this sort of thing pisses me off. drivers who pull into the right turn lane or shoulder of the road at a light and then floor it to cut off the people to their left. not only are they assholes. they fucking scare the shit outta me cuz I never know if they are turning right or are going to run me over in their attempt to pass everyone else.