Chicago Sun-Times

Back on the Bike

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It's better than Christmas -- it's Bike Day, the first day after the long, icy, gray, sunless, depressing Chicago winter that it's warm enough to bike to work again. Bike Day varies -- depending on how brave you're feeling. It is March, after all -- you never know what the weather's going to do. It could be 50 and sunny when you leave in the morning and 25 and snowing on the way home.

My first bike day this year was March 13.

You really remember why you live in the city when you're on a bike. You're not behind glass -- in a car or on the train. You're out in the weather, smelling fresh bread, sausages and bus exhaust, feeling the wind, looking at the stores and the people in their infinite variety. You feel like you're 11 years old again, and get to work feeling upbeat, for at least 30 minutes...

The downside is the constant fear of getting struck from behind, or running into someone's car door. But at least it keeps you awake, and it's cheaper than a gym. Biking is a great way for the cheap to stay fit -- there's no gym fee AND you don't have to pay for the train.

Today could have been a bike day -- it was warm enough. But I lacked the physical courage to cope with the 35 mph wind gusts.

I'd be interested to hear from biking readers -- have you been out on the bike yet this spring? When was your first bike day this year? And for those who would rather bike without car traffic, registration is now open for the May 25 Bank of America "Bike the Drive" event. To register, go to

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Even after riding all winter, that first nice day does feel great. It's those March days after that nice one that aren't always awesome.

You know what's even more exhilarating than pulling your bike out of the basement after 4 months of inactivity? Riding through the winter...

Get some decent cold weather gear, install some fenders and quality lights. %90+ of winter days are enjoyable to ride and you can use the exercise and time outdoors.

my first bike ride this spring felt SO good, I can't wait for more:

The wind was a negative, but I did get ride behind it for a 2 mile stretch. It was good to just sail.

You mention the sights of city cycling, but don't forget the other cyclists, an ever larger and more diverse group. Ten years ago It thought it was only messengers and me, but now I see a far larger, more divers, and older group. There are lot more people over 35 or 40 out there now.


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This page contains a single entry by Mary Wisniewski published on March 25, 2008 2:55 PM.

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