I had a mini freakout when I awoke to the alarm on my phone going off. Mainly because I set it 30 minutes after my alarm clock...so I already knew I was behind the power curve. How far behind...90 minutes. Which, ultimately, was for the best. The last time I looked at the clock before falling asleep, it said 1:28am, so waking up at 4am was not something I was looking forward to.
I've had worse. Waking up at 5:15am gave me a few extra winks. I wasn't going to make the start time of Bike The Drive, but that was ok, I wasn't going to be too far off the mark.
If you're not familiar with the MB Bike the Drive, it is the one day of the year where bikes take over Lake Shore Drive for 5 hours of car-free riding. Now in it's 17th year, it is an institution of the Chicago cycling community. Over 20,000 riders come together once a year and go up and down Lake Shore Drive, having an amazing experience while also benefiting the Active Transportation Alliance, who do bicycling advocacy work in the region. If you weren't aware, Chicago was recently named the most bike friendly city in the U.S. That wouldn't have happened without the amazing advocacy done by the ATA, so many riders are thrilled to support the organization through this annual ride, which also serves as a fundraiser.
Now, this was my first year. I didn't know exactly what to expect. I ride a lot. I've ridden a 100 miles in one day (Perimeter Ride). I rode 24 miles yesterday, so I wasn't very worried about a 30 mile ride, which is the total distance of when going from Columbus and Jackson to one end of LSD (Museum of Science and Industry), and then turning around and going to the other end (Bryn Mawr) and back to Columbus and Jackson. A feature of this ride is actually the 30 Mile Challenge. In addition to the ride, there is a post-ride pancake breakfast (for a nominal fee) and festival complete with live music (don't know who the live band was, but they kicked ass) and vendors, activities, giveaways, etc.
So, let me tell you; there is a big difference in riding 30 miles in the city and on a straight track. I hadn't realized exactly how stop and go street riding is. I was feeling perfect going into the first 7 miles. The inclines were minimal, and I was fresh. I decided to only have a banana (I've been doing intermittent fasting the past few weeks), and I was interested in how I would perform with little to no calories going into my system. I felt great. However, after the turnaround at MSI, I started to notice a little soreness in my hands, wrists, and elbows. I know that I definitely need to invest in some gloves.
From there, something I never anticipated was my write thumb started to get real sore. The shifting of my gears with my thumb was putting some pressure on the thumb joint. Weird, right? Going on, of course my butt started to get sore (I need to invest in real riding shorts), but my right ankle started to get sore about 20 miles in. I also probably could've used some sunscreen on the back of my neck. I did take a rest stop at at Bryn Mawr, which was much needed. Got a banana, a Clif Bar, and some electrolyte drink in me.
It was all worth it once I got back to Grant Park and had crushed the 30 miles!!!! I'm sure there are people who did twice that distance and all that jazz, but it was my first time, and I felt good.
I was very glad that I prepaid for the pancake breakfast. It absolutely hit the spot, and yes, I went back for seconds. A huge shout out to Chris Cakes Pancakes. Not only did their pancakes taste great, but they were flying around like Frisbees. One of the gentlemen flipped a pancake up, caught it behind his back, tossed it up from the plate (still behind his back) back onto the grill, and then off to a girl with an outstretched plate! I've never seen anyone make breakfast this fun!
From there, I wandered and checked out the vendors. If you take a look at my Instagram, you'll see me drooling over a 2019 Subaru Ascent. I drive a 2011 Subaru Legacy. I love it...would love a newer Subaru...preferably a Crosstrek, but beggars can't be choosers. Thank you to REI for being a supporter of this event, hosting the packet pickup, and for raffling off an awesomer than mine bike. I hope I win.
One other vendor that jumped out at me was Materia Bikes, makers of Luxury Wooden Bikes. Yes, you read that right...Wooden Bikes. Amazingly beautiful wooden bikes. I loved the race bike they had on display...much lighter than I expected. Unfortunately, out of my price range, but definitely check out their website.
All in all, I had a wonderful morning. I will be riding again next year. This was a great start to the summer season, and I'm loving this 93 degree weather (stop complaining). If you've never done Bike the Drive, I encourage you to come out next year, and yes, it is a family friendly event, and yes, your kids will get a huge kick out of riding their bikes where normally all the cars drive!
So were you at Bike the Drive? I'd love to hear thoughts, comments, etc. Was there something I missed? I didn't notice until after the event that Bosch was doing test rides of E-bikes....did anyone check that out?? What about riding a Divvy...did anyone do 30 miles on a Divvy? Is that even possible? Let's hear it!!!
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