Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Little Secret

If you, like me, aren't a bent-like-a-pretzel-over-the-handlebars, ride-as-fast-as-you-can cyclist and like to leisurely bike, looking at people and places, I'll share with you a little secret place of mine to bike:  Grant Park.  During the week, not the weekend.

Usually during the week, it's fairly empty and clear for biking back and forth and around and around.  I ride along the lakefront path (which can be actually dangerous with all the joggers and other bikers) past the yacht club and boats and cross over into Grant Park.  The city has newly paved around Buckingham Fountain, so it's nice to do a few rounds feeling the spray on your face, then if it's hot, stick to the heavily shaded paths.  I clocked 15 miles the other day just biking back and forth around the park and the strip of bike path between Museum Campus and Monroe Avenue!

Unfortunately, on this particular day, the city was setting up all over the park for the annual free Lollapalooza (free bands playing F-S-S and vendor tents galore) so in some parts I had to dodge workers and fencing and tent frames going up.  Ugh.  I hate Lollapalooza.  In my early years, I'm sure I would've been one of the teens or 20-somethings going to hear the music, drink and look for the opposite sex, but nowadays, I see it as just a huge crowd of noisy, drunken kids.  I'm officially o-l-d, I guess.

(Click photos to enlarge)
Clear and free paths around the park during the week (usually without the ugly event fencing, set up now for Lollapalooza)

Signage for Lollapalooza

With giant four-sided schedules of bands playing for the event

But still lots of open paths for biking

Just the occasional group of segway renters (and not the tent framing being put up that you see in this photo)

Buckingham Fountain with the landmark Hilton Hotel in the background

With the 200' center spray, a new tourist feature...

And "new" Chicago on the south side of the park