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Photo TR: A Labor Day bike-ride into downtown Chicago..


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Hey Guys,


Since we had Monday off, and the weather was so freaking nice, I decided to ride down the lakefront (lake Michigan) trail from Evanston to downtown Chicago. I had heard horror stories of this trail, mostly concerned with the crowds, so I had never ridden it before. Now I haven't ridden much this year so I wasn't looking for a serious ride, so this seemed like a good opportunity to try this out.


From my apartment it's close to 15 miles south to Oak Street Beach, which is on the northern edge of downtown; right where the famous Michigan Ave ends. I decided to use the John Hancock building as my target since it's only two blocks from Oak Street, plus I can actually see it from Evanston which is cool.


Anyway it really was a fun ride, very picturesque. The crowds were really bad in spots, so I doubt this will become a regular trip for me; but I still really enjoyed it.




All of this was brought to you by...


Back in Evanston (almost home again) by the awesome lagoon, and it seems strangely sleepy after the chaos of the lakefront trail. (You can see the lake through the trees.)


The John Hancock building: I made it! This was one of the the tallest buildings in the world (until Sear Tower opened in 1973). It's a mixed-use building with commercial and residential units. Apparently it's a status symbol to own an apartment with one of the diagonal braces crossing the windows.


This is the Drake Hotel, which sits at the north end of Michigan Ave and is totally and completely awesome. Back in the 30s, Francesco Raffaele Nitto (known as "Frank The Enforcer") had his office in the Drake, and was even shot there by two dirty cops! Frank was one of Al Capone's main henchmen, and later became the front-man for the mob Capone created.


Probably the most retarded window display ever.. I mean, really!


Looking south down Michigan Ave, which is also known as the Magnificent Mile. This is a major tourist destination, mostly for the (ridiculous) high fashion; however the road has a rich history which is why I like it.


Looking north along Oak Street Beach and you can see all the zillion dollar apartments. This area is know as "The Gold Coast", and they all have spectacular lake views.


I'm not a fan of the stupid palm trees, but other than that Oak Street Beach is pretty nice.


Oak Street Beach sits at the very northern end of Michigan Ave. Most of those people are probably very rich if they live nearby. (OK, I'm a little envious..!)


After battling my way past the crowds at North Ave Beach, I am almost there.


A very busy beach day indeed .. it was probably even worse on the weekend. I love the atmosphere of these busy beaches, everyone is so happy .. (not to mention the eye-candy - it was tough to keep my eyes on the path at times!)


The northern end of North Ave Beach. This is one of the most popular beaches in Chicago, and it was quite packed today. In fact the path was so crowded that I had to walk my bike in spots. Fortunately the ride home wasn't as bad.


While the beaches were *packed*, the lake was surprisingly empty. Just a few boats and jetskis cruising around. (I'd love a jetski one day!)


Chicago is so well organized, with all the house/building numbers on every street starting from a single intersection downtown. Anyway, the path is labeled with the current number so you know where you are in the whole system. The 3400-north block is very significant...


Getting closer now - don't even need the zoom! Probably only about 5 miles remain..


This is Belmont Harbor, and apparently it takes years to rent space here. I was surprised by how many boats weren't out on the lake..


Montrose Beach .. so named because it's at the far eastern end of Montrose Ave.


The Lakefront trail spends most of its time paralleling Lakeshore Drive, which is signed as U.S Route 41 for most of its length. Route 41 starts in the upper peninsula of Michigan, and runs all the way down to Miami Florida. It's a drive I'd love to do one day (or maybe even ride it?!).


This building was once part of the Edgewater Beach Hotel complex and is now apartments. Back in the day (20s - 40s), this was quite the happening location. The complex was visited by such greats as Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Charlie Chaplin. It even offered sea-plane access to Chicago! Well today I don't need no stinkin' sea-plane, I'm going to ride...


Broadway also runs through some mixed-up neighborhoods which don't quite know what they're doing. Once very affluent, then quite poor, and now becoming quickly over-run by yuppies in cinder-block condos. Tensions are high, and much character is being lost.


Devon Ave is one of my favorite, and most interesting streets in Chicago. It runs through an area that has seen multiple waves of immigrants, so it's normal to see a Jewish Deli, next door to an Indian Restaurant, next door to a Muslim clothing store. Everyone gets along with each other too (for the most part), which rocks.


Rogers Park is a very interesting neighborhood. It is the most north/eastern neighborhood in Chicago and is really going through a turbulent time. This area has some brilliant, old buildings, amazing tree-lined streets, and it borders the lake. It's also quite violent and dangerous - I'd be reluctant to wander these streets at night. It is being gentrified though, which is just adding to the problems.


In Chicago now, and on every corner are signs like this for the cyclists. Chicago is a very bike-friendly city, with bike lanes and paths covering a larger area than the trains do! On this ride I am going to the Lakefront Trail, which will take me right into downtown. I also love Warren Park, and spent a lot of time there several years ago.


This is one of the beaches near my place in Evanston (less than a mile away), and it's reasonably busy. It's nothing compared to the beaches in Chicago though!


Same location, this time with some zoom. It's almost 15 miles to downtown, but the Hancock building is clearly visible (the tall building with two antenna on the middle-left of the photo).


This is the unzoomed view of downtown Chicago from Evanston, just two blocks from my apartment. You can see the Hancock building if you know where to look!

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^ Lol Paul. Awesome Cameron! These rides make me a bit envious of how much you bike, makes me want to go hop on my bike and go for a cruise. Sadly, Tustin is not very picturesque, neither is Santa Ana or Irvine. So I'm kind of stuck on beautiful rides, but its cool to look at all of the stuff that you encounter on your rides.


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^ The cool/picturesque rides are really only important when I'm bragging about them here! Typically when I ride I don't pay all that much attention to stuff that's off the path, I just keep my head down and crank away. I also get a big kick out of riding to a destination that I normally only drive to.


I have two more rides I want to document this year .. hopefully I'll have the time


Thanks for the comments, guys..



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