Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Saturday on the North Branch Trail

Last weekend, spring came into full swing. The sun came out, green things came up out of the ground, and the temperature was ideal for cruising. I went out in bib shorts and a short sleeved jersey for the first time this year. It was weird, and I felt chilly at first, but quickly warmed up. I still wore the toe covers and wool socks, paired with some extremely hairy winter legs. It may not have been very #pro, but I was not very concerned. I was just real happy to be out in the sun.

I cruised up Elston, through the bike lane, all the way to the start of the North Branch Trail. The trail isn't too far from my apartment, and it's easily accessible via bike-friendly roads. If you aren't familiar, the North Branch Trail stretches about 17 miles from Caldwell and Devon in Chicago up to Glencoe, ending at the Chicago Botanical Gardens and loosely following the path of the Chicago river and the Skokie Lagoons. It is mainly paved, but there are many offshoots of offroad trail that meander through the forest. Some portions of the paved trail run along the equestrian trails, and if you're ok with horses, you can share those trails with them too.

In short, the trail system is a lot of fun and offers the opportunity for some exploration. I spent as much time off the pavement as I could, stopping numerous times for photos. I finished with something like 30-40 miles, and was pretty beat up by the end of it. I had a strong headwind all the way back home too. I guess I'm  not used to this anymore, but I will be again soon. Thanks to the great weather and the discovery of this trail, I had the most enjoyable ride of the year... so far. I'll be riding out on this trail a lot.

A good ride deserved a good beer. I treated myself to this imperial IPA from Goose Island upon returning home. It was pretty alright.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Heritage Pizza Cruise

Not all bike rides are about going fast, or having an "adventure". Sometimes it's just about hanging out, drinking a couple beers, riding through the city, and ending up at a cool pizza place to chow down on some real tasty grub. Thank you Heritage Bikes, for reminding us all of this important truth. Also thanks for the free beer and slice of 'za at Dimo's. By the way, I don't believe we could have possibly had better weather for this. Talk about good luck.

Heritage makes some fantastic bikes, that are really the perfect blend of practical city-riding functionality and good aesthetic.

I had never been to Wrigleyville before this day, and I don't foresee returning any time soon.

Dimo's makes some excellent pizza, but I managed to somehow make this tomato pesto slice look far from it.

Carbon Tigers played a set at Dimo's while we ate. It was the perfect end to an awesome afternoon.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Situation Lame

Lately, my home "office" has become a bit more of an office than I had ever wished. I've been putting in too many overtime hours at that desk and nearly enough on that bike. I have a feeling things are about to change pretty soon though, and I'm hoping some adventures will be in store...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Giro Empire Shoe in Sepia Leather

Holy hell... If ever there were a cycling shoe to spend $400 on, I am pretty sure it would be these. Only 400 pairs produced, and the first 50 are being sold exclusively through their Facebook page. Each pair comes with their limited edition handmade ride wallet in matching leather... Uggghhhh... I've you've got more than a few hundred extra dollars laying around, head over here and grab a pair quick.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

OYO Mountain Products

Give me all of these things... except maybe the hackey sack. OYO Mountain Products is the side project of the folks behind TOPO - That outdoor gear company in Colorado that makes some of the neatest backpacks and stuff ever. OYO does some similar stuff, kind of like a TOPO Jr., but adds a few neat things to their collection that may have been outside of TOPO's realm. Quality American made gear with a retro 80's/90's feel.

Friday, March 21, 2014

St. Pat's Day Cruise

Last weekend we seemed to get our first real break from the madness that has been this year's midwestern winter. Saturday morning I suited up, grabbed the ol' Nature Boy and headed out towards the lake for a cruise. It was my first time on a bike this year without a winter hat, and I couldn't be happier. As I passed through Lakeview, I quickly noticed the hoards of green-clad, seemingly intoxicated folks stumbling through the streets. It was only early afternoon. It was then that I realized that it was St. Patrick's day, or rather, the weekend prior to the drinking holiday. I have really no interest in celebrating, and in fact, usually make a point to avoid wearing green on the weekend of. However, after realizing this, I glanced down and found that I fit right in, atop the greenest bike out on the street. After that, I made a point of riding to the Chicago River to take an ironic photo of the Ol' Boy next to the river that had been filled with celebratory green dye.

It ended up being a fun ride. It was cold out, but tolerable, and it was nice to be on the bike without feeling complete misery. At the end of the ride, I was kinda beat. It's been a while since I've really gone out and rode for hours. Motivation has been minimal, in part due to the horrendous season, and in part due to the fact that I'm living in a new area, away from my usual group of riding buds and regular routes. Having friends to ride with is probably the single most motivating thing to get on the bike. When you make plans to ride, it's much easier to back out and turn yourself down rather than turning your friends down. Things are looking up though, and so are the temps. I'll be getting out more often now, and getting back up to speed shouldn't be too difficult.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bunyan Velo - Issue No. 04

I'm pretty sure everyone's seen this already, but it's just too good not to post. There are some incredible images in there...


Been thinking about these things a lot today. This winter has been nothing short of relentless, miserable and depressing, with seemingly no end in sight. It has been the worst in my recent memory. I've got a bad case of cabin fever and I'm itching to get out and frolic in the wild. I'm not even hoping for warm weather, but merely a climate that is capable of sustaining life again. I need to keep reminding myself that this winter is not forever, and soon enough we shall camp and hike and bike again. We will do awesome things outside again without suffering, and for as bad as these past few months have been, the next will likely seem that much better...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

17th Chicago Bike Winter Art Show

Ancien Cycles is a pretty cool bicycle boutique in River West, and last weekend they hosted the 17th Annual Chicago Bike Winter Art Show, so Marcus and I rode over to check it out. I took some pictures. It was neat.