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My Take on Cycling in Chicago

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by Peter Greenbaum

Chicago is known by many names: City of Big Shoulders,  the Second City and the City That Works. These days, it’s really the city that bikes.

We have a saying here:  “There are two seasons – winter and construction.”

While Chicago’s weather can be tough, the last three or four winters have been relatively mild. By mild, I mean cold but not that much snow.  It’s been especially forgiving for those hardy souls who bike every day, no matter what.

Cycling in Chicago by Pete Greenbaum Cruiser Republic

Scene From The Saddle’s correspondent is not one of those hardy souls. Uber is just fine for me. However, during the spring and summer months, when I do ride, biking in Chicago is delightful -- especially if your route takes you by Fatso’s Last Stand in Ukrainian Village.  It’s an oasis of great hot dogs, brats and burgers. Who cares about the calories?  If you’re biking, you’re going to burn them off anyway. Besides, a real Chicago dog comes loaded with plenty of vegetables like pickles, relish, onions and tomatoes. More about that in another column.

Cycling in the City of Big Shoulder - Cruiser Republic

Chicago’s streets have been improved, for the most part, with many featuring partitioned lanes for cyclists. This is a good thing, when you consider that Chicago drivers tend to have heavy right feet. Cyclists, for the most part, are good about wearing helmets and obeying traffic regulations. When they fly through stop signs, however, Chicago’s drivers don’t hesitate to shout four letter words at them.

As with any large North American city, it’s been a learning curve for both cyclists and drivers to accommodate each other on the roads.  It’s not always an easy alliance, but each year, it does seem to be improving.  And that’s good news for everybody.

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