Monday, September 7, 2015

Cubs by bike

And so it came to pass that Mary joined her women friends and went to Lake Summerset for the weekend. And lo, rather than pine away in a darkened room, Dave got himself a Cubs ticket and headed east into the city for the day. Metra allows bicycles on off-peak trains, including those on brilliant mid-August Saturdays, so rather than fight the traffic and stress over parking at an inner-city ball park with no parking, I rode my bike. Well, not all the way -- I took the train from downtown Naperville to downtown Chicago. There was much Cubbie blue on the Metra platform. Apparently I wasn’t the only Napervillian heading for the game that morning.
All aboard the Cubs bandwagon. Er, train.
There was a bit of fumbling getting on board. I was not aware, nor is it obvious from the Metra website, that bicycles are only allowed on the ADA / handicapped equipped cars. However, a conductor whistled me over and got me squared away. I was ready with a bungie cord to tie Wyvern down. (Wyvern is the name of my Trek Crossrip bicycle -- it’s the commuter, 32 mm Gatorskin cut-resistant tires, aluminum frame, rack for pannier bags or, in this case, a trunk bag. It’s green.) An hour later, I was headed north along the Chicago River.
The river gets even greener on St. Patty's Day.

Seriously, world, how hard would it be for all streets to be like this stretch of LaSalle? Cars and bicycles sharing the road, the lion laying down with the lamb, cats and dogs living together, kumbaya my lord can’t we all just get alo-- hey, asshole, get off your freakin’ phone and pay attention there’s humans on bicycles over here and don’t you honk at me you jerkface douchebag!
Please note that I came to a complete
stop for the red light. 
I am a good
bicycle ambassador.
Heh, I kid because I love. Actually, riding a bicycle in Chicago is pretty easy and fairly safe. There are lots of bike lanes, or at least "sharrows" as in the picture above to remind motorists that there may be bikes about. It’s an eight-mile, 45-minute ramble from Union Station to Wrigley Field. The Cubs have a free, secured and guarded bike check right across the street, tucked in behind the T-shirt store.

Soon I was in my seat, very close to the infamous Bartman seat, I think: right where the foul line meets the brick wall in left field. Wind was blowing right-to-left and out-ish. A hot dog, a glass of wine, some friendly seatmates to my left and right, a warm sunny day in Wrigley in a rare winning season -- well. I was one happy guy. I got even happier when the Cubs’ home runs started landing in the basket. Cubs won over the Braves, 9-7. Great game.

On the way out, right under the big sign at Clark and Addison:
She said yes. But only because the Cubs won.
Feeling very Cubbie Blue on the way home, I decided to stop at Harry Caray’s restaurant for an expensive but always excellent dinner. I ordered the succulent 8 oz. filet at the bar while I watched the first quarter of a Bears preseason game.

Speaking of the unfortunate Mr. Bartman:
The most famous baseball shreds in Chicago history.
I headed back on Wacker Drive. It was pretty cool zipping along the almost-deserted downtown streets at night.

Strapped Wyvern into the handicapped spot on the train car, like the old pro that I am.
Mine's the one with the flag. 
And managed to stay awake all the way out and not miss my stop. It was a long four-mile ride home from the train station, but all in all, it was easier and more fun than driving.
♬ Catch the last train to N-ville and I'll meet you at the station ...

dsj 9/7/2015

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