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Location: Midwest, United States

Saturday, June 22, 2013


At long last, I found my first opportunity to cycle along Chicago’s Lakefront Trail.  I “did” the Trail Thursday and I was kinda overwhelmed by the sensory inputs. 

A winter came and went since I last rode that most intriguing of 36-mile urban loops.  In the interim, I had embraced sloth.  I had “fluffed-up” considerably.  “Buttered my buns” immodestly, so to speak. It didn’t help matters much that winter lingered a bit too long (though it had been extraordinarily mild ‘til February).  It took me a bit o’ time to get legs ‘n’ butt ready to ride some thirty-plus miles.

Did it.  Can I get me an “Amen”?

Pedaled my way some thirty-six miles along Chicago’s lakefront Thursday.   The excursion made me oh-so-very-happy as I recalled a myriad of sensory impressions, reminisced and toiled anew.

The theme that preoccupied my mind was “obliviousness.”  I guess I had forgotten just how oblivious so many trail denizens were of their surroundings, or just how dangerous it was to veer/wander in front of others who were barreling down the trail at far greater mass and velocity.  Physics can be a bitch.  Ah, the obliviousness of so many....I had kinda forgotten the thrill of it all. 

I spent some three hours pondercating the notion of “obliviousness.”  There's the forgivable obliviousness of teenagers in love (oh, how I envy them!), the studied “obliviousness” of street toughs (gang-bangers always whine about “respect’ though they show no respect whatsoever to others), the obliviousness of tourists staring at sights some distance from both their feet and on-coming traffic (yep, got it, Buckingham Fountain is impressive, indeed, but you need not stand in the middle of the path to take your photograph.  Just take three steps forward or back and we’re copacetic...and, yes, the fragrance of the flowers planted around the fountain is absolutely heavenly). There's the obliviousness of the eyes-downcast text-ers and, finally, the obliviousness I find most endearing (and most precarious) - the obliviousness of toddlers.

I had me an encounter with a pre-schooler last year who, with a shriek of glee, pointed at something to her right and took off in that direction like a bullet. What she didn't notice was that I was pedaling along at about 10 mph when she ran directly in front of me, just a coupla feet in front of my spinning wheel (and 230 pounds of "slow-reaction time" moi). I got good brakes on my bike, surely do...Stopped on a dime, in fact. Pitched me right over the handlebars. The toddler escaped injury. Her mom nearly had a heart attack and I had me a bit o' road rash and a tale to tell about riding cautiously around pedestrians. 

I rode me some 36 miles pondercating the notion of obliviousness and realized (with a start) the truth of the obliviousness of a graying git pedaling along whilst lost in thought.  Dear me.  I realized I had kinda zoned out for fairly long stretches of trail.  OK, I may have been musing about the human condition (a somewhat respectable endeavor), I may have been gazing at the sights.  More often than not, though, I was contemplating a bit o’ well-oiled cleavage...or a decidedly perfect curve of a hip.  

There are times I wax poetic.  There are times I might seem somewhat “deep.”  Nah.  I’m just human.  No different than most.  Just pedaling along a trail, oblivious as all the rest.

An accident waiting to happen.

* * *

I stumbled across this video and was absolutely delighted.  It documents the Lakefront Trail from south to north.  Judging by the shadows, the rider traversed the trail early in the morning.  I generally ride much later in the day when the trail is far more crowded.  Even so, I revel in the imagery.  I've come to know the Trail well and this video kinda captures it:

* * *


Blogger Wine and Words said...

Oh that looks like fun, makes me smile thinking of you cycling out there glancing at cleavages and the road and otherwise : )

Okay, I really want to get on my bike now. If only it weren't 105 degrees out!

Sun Jun 30, 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

It really is entertaining to bicycle along Chicago's lakefront and simply people-watch. Human beings are amazing in their diversity and unpredictability. I come away from each ride filled with amazement.

It'd be nice to have a bicycling buddy.

P.S., Annie, I'm still looking for an opportunity to fly to the West Coast. Should an opportunity materialize, I'll let you know.

Thu Jul 04, 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger June Calender said...

I missed this post while I away -- love it. Love the word "pondercating" and that pondercating can breed its own kind of obliviousness. You've had your share of bike spills but go right on enjoying. Hurray for you.

Thu Jul 11, 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger beachsiggy said...

Pondercating is good to do, as is being oblivious. It helps when everyone is on top of you to erect the bubble of obliviousness. Also helps to have a loud bike horn, and good brakes and reflexes. Looks like a great ride!

Tue Jul 16, 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I thought last winter in Chicago would NEVER end - so I moved to Fla. :-) There is much to be said in favor obliviousness, in my book. As long as you can transition out of it relatively unscathed.

Sun Oct 13, 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger erin said...

i'm happy you're in the world:)


Tue Oct 22, 08:58:00 PM  

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