Now that Mother Nature has decided to let Chicago get on with the spring/summer season this week, it's clear that city dwellers are diving in to take advantage. Of course, it was well overdue, so I don't blame everyone for breaking out the shorts and sandals in advance of the arrival of Memorial Day Weekend.
I'll admit it was the summers that convinced me that Chicago gets a terrible rep for its winter seasons. Granted, they are brutal, but I recall experiencing a few ugly winter seasons when I lived on the East Coast.
Anyway, even though I crave a lovely Chicago summer as much as everyone else does, I'll admit that there are a few things that give me pause when it comes to this season.
The increase in bike riders!
As an urban dweller, I've never found much use for bikes. Honestly, in New York, I spent a ton of time on my feet walking or taking public transit. And when I learned how to drive, forget about it. It was like I skipped the bike phase and went for an upgrade, complete with a motor, stereo, and four doors. With that option, a bike didn't seem like it was a necessary option to get around. (And it wasn't a recreational option I preferred when the Big Apple was my backyard.)
Now, in full disclosure, I attempted to learn as an adult but was so consumed by fear and the balancing it required, so I never mastered it.
So, now as a person that still chooses to get around by walking, public transit or driving, I find that sharing the road with bike riders is a reality that I am still not quite used to, honestly. Now don't get me wrong and I accept Chicago's status as a bike-friendly city. I respect bikers and commend their courage to ride on the streets comfortably. However, I do believe that some bikers do get too relaxed and forget or don't care that they're sharing the road with drivers. (That is, ignore lights, weave out of their bike lanes, fail to signal or neglect to wear gear in the street.)
Therefore, with so many bikers back on the streets through at least October, I will pledge to have more patience with the cyclists on the road as long as they aim to play safely, too. Besides, Chicago traffic won't be going away any time soon.
And drivers, let's try to have patience with our two-wheeled friends. After all, this weather merits being outdoors. Everyone has to get around.