Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dave and Steven get Critical in Chicago

Our first Chicago Critical Mass. I shouldn't have rushed from
work and picked an expensive parking garage
(the closest to Daley Plaza). There was a half-hour wait until the ride started.

But at 6:30 p.m. or so, somebody gave the signal and
"away we go!" with a thousand or so of our closest friends.

 Including unicycle guy. 

And bubble dude.

After a little more than an hour of touring Chicago's
west and near-north neighborhoods, we
got hungry and peeled  off the Mass at Armitage.
Our  dinner destination was  Harry Carey's.

Steven got to ride the Holey Cow. (He stayed on
for the required eight seconds.)

And we had dinner. OK, we had the feast
of a lifetime. I had the filet ("succulent" only
  begins to describe it) and Steven had
some sort of pasta that rendered him
speechless. And those of you who know Steven
understand what that means.

Dessert was Highland Scotch whisky.
Dang we had a good time.

Lil Miami Trial, my old friend

My son accompanied me on my attempt to ride on the Little Miami Scenic Trail, which runs from Cincinnati, Ohio, north almost to Dayton.

 I abandoned the nieces and nephews to my wife and hit the nicely paved trail for the third time in my life. Once again, the previous night's storms left the trail littered with leaves, sticks, and the occasional 100 feet of mucky gravel and fist-sized stones.

Once we'd cleared the obstructions, and Steven had bought some bottle water in in the nearby town of Loveland, four miles of the Train Stop Inn, the trail was relatively clear. There's one spot where the pavement drops off, but it's marked with "DANGER AHEAD" spray-painted on the roadway. Hard to miss.

 Most of the pavement is in great shape. There are a few bumps and branches hanging down here and there. Otherwise, a smooth, wonderful paved path with the Little Miami River on your right. On the morning after a series of thunderstorms, freshets will play down the hillside on your left.

 So, Steven said he was ready to turn around and head back. I puttered up the road a few hundred feet to get past a puddle on the pavement and turned the front wheel. The wheel slipped on the mud and I reactively wrapped myself around my left knee and down I went.

I wasn't hurt other than a scrape on the elbow.
Steven was nonplussed. He was texting his friends
at the time and hadn't noticed his father's fall from grace.

An eastern box turtle that we saw on the trail. 

Look for bluejays and cardinals in the woods that enfold the trail. The kid and I did just 20 miles -- from the Train Stop Inn north 10 miles and back. Next time, I go solo and try for 50.

But, you may only bring one-third of a bicycle. Seriously,
I have no idea what this sign means. But they're posted
at every road crossing. Interpretations welcome!