A few weeks ago, Andrew Karas wrote me to say he and two friends were going to attempt the "L Challenge" - riding the entire length of every rail line in the shortest amount of time possible.
I wrote extensively in May about Adham Fisher's journey -- or shall I say, he wrote about it, in great detail. Adham finished in 9 hour, 36 minutes and 33 seconds. Andrew and friends came close to that.
Here are a few details from their voyage, including their itinerary. Adham guarded his itinerary late a British state secret, interestingly enough.
There were three of us, Andrew--me--Grace, and Ryan. We made our trip in about 9:57, counting from the time the first train doors closed to the time the last train doors opened. We also have a list of arrival times at every station on the route, if for some reason that might be interesting.
Briefly, our route was as follows: On at Ashland/63rd at about 9:40 AM, change at Garfield for Cottage Grove, back to Roosevelt, then catch 54B bus (Cicero) at Midway, walk from Cermak & Cicero to 54th/Cermak, ride to Clinton, then to Harlem/Green Line, walk to Forest Park, ride to O'Hare, return to Jefferson Park to catch 81 (Lawrence bus) to Kimball, ride all the way around the Loop and change to Purple at Belmont, quick ride up to Linden, return to Howard, out and back on the Skokie Swift, finally the entire Red Line. We arrived at 95th/Dan Ryan just after 7:30. We had enough to time in the evening left to go get Chinese food afterwards.
All in all, it was a successful and well-executed effort. I think we would have gotten very close to the record if Ryan hadn't had leg surgery beforehand, and we seemed to strike out waiting for trains three or four times in a row, showing up at the turnstile as the train pulled away.
We found some lovely Chicagolanders on the El, some funny for the wrong reasons, but some worth mentioning. There were a couple of guys at Skokie who looked like they had never seen a train before, but who weren't uncomfortable opening 24 oz cans of Heineken Lite and lamenting a recent unsuccessful wooing attempts.
We had a chance to help some highly Chinese Chinatowners find their way to the Orange Line, but we had our confidence shaken when a concerned fellow rider sharply reminded us they were looking for the Red Line. Hopping between cars also proved very popular. On the South Side Elevated especially, a bunch of people casually opened the end door and walked across to the next car. Apparently the danger sign isn't scary enough.