Monday, August 3, 2009

Going Dutch in Chicago

Having made the decision to buy a Dutch bike, a few weeks ago, I was now heading down to Chicago to see if I could find the right bike for me. After a long 7 hour drive, my cousin Pat and I, spent Friday night at the Arlington House International Hostel, in Lincoln Park. Being only a few blocks away from the Dutch Bike Co. was a happy accident. It was a decent hostel in a very cool neighborhood. Fortunately for Pat, they had bikes to rent, because the plan was to meet Dottie, of Let's Go Ride a Bike Blog, buy a bike and go for a ride along lake Michigan, on sunny Saturday afternoon.

Dutch Bike Co.

When I arrived at the shop an emisary from the Dutch Consulate of Chicago was there to greet me. Well, I suppose his main purpose was to get his wife's bike fitted with a basket, but it did lend some dignity to the procedings. Long story short. After trying various bikes, having Dottie arrive, and some other delay's, I bought an Azor Transport bike(Impressions in a future blog) from the owner Stephen. And then the fun part. A bike ride!

Dottie and me

From the shop we headed over to Lake Michigan and hopped on the bike trail along the shore. It's a gorgeous place for a bike ride. Big water on one side. Tall architecture on the other. Dottie is very lucky to have this for her commute. What made the ride even sweeter was being on my ultra smooth, new ride. The nice thing about heavy bikes is you can cruise at very low speeds, taking in the scenery, without being tippy.

One thing that always happens to me is, I like to make comparisions. How is Chicago the same or different from my hometown of Minneapolis as far as bikes go? While it's hardly scientific, because I was only in a certain part of town on the weekend, my guess is there are more bikes on the streets of Chicago. Bikes were everywhere. And they seemed to be a little more practical. Less drop downs and more racks.

While there may be more bikes. There are certainly more cars. On the main streets, cars are everywhere, all the time. Sometimes I thought that was a good thing for bikes, because with so much traffic, the cars are moving at a slower speed. But crowded cars can lead to some high risk maneuvers, which is not good for bikes. In the end, I kept wishing that more people would get out of their cars and hop on bikes. What a beautiful and quiet city it would be. So many more souls to save!


Johnny said...

Dang, that sounds like a fun (and fruitful!) trip! I'm looking forward to reading about your new steed:)

anna said...

That really sounds fun. It's always interesting to compare bicycle infrastructure (and also cyclists and bicycles) in different cities. Looking forward to read more about your new bike. Hope you'll enjoy it.

Dottie said...

Great to meet you! Hopefully I'll make it up to Minneapolis someday soon. Enjoy your sweet new ride :)

spiderleggreen said...

Dottie~Thanks for the hospitality! I'm loving the new ride.