Yesterday was a perfect day. A perfect first-summer-day, a day when I know why I moved to Rogers Park and what I love here.
It started from the long bike ride, and the sun is now up early enough for me to start biking at 5-15. I entered the Lake Front Trail at 5-35, and it already looked busy with people walking their dogs and talking to each other, joggers, and biking groups.
I had breakfast on my balcony, and then I had a very productive workday. During my lunch break, I went to the beach, lay on the sand, listened to the waves, and walked in the crystal clear water.
And then, my neighbors messaged me that they could help me to pick up the plants, and I got on Uber and went to the nursery and picked the plants.
The evening was balm, and I worked until 9 PM and could plant everything and clean up almost everything. So now my summer life is going to be perfect.
It would be a perfect day, if not for one thing.
In the morning, when I stopped to wait for a green light at the corner of Broadway and Granville, I saw a neatly dressed older man picking in the garbage. When I started crossing, I saw that he had a bun in his hand, and he was hurriedly eating it while crossing.
Each time I bike in Helsinki, I marvel at how awesome the bike paths are! I can’t even compare it with Chicago! Pretty much anywhere in the city, the bike lanes are clearly marked, and it is completely safe to bike. And there are so many different routes! In Chicago, if I decide to go biking after work, I have to navigate heavy traffic even if I follow the bike routes, and it might take me up to 30 minutes to reach the Lake Front Trail. Here in Helsinki, I can bike anywhere at any time of the day!
I had my girls over for Easter Saturday. They took a train from Milwaukee on Friday evening, but not just that; they also brought Nadia’s bike with them and a bike seat for Kira. With all this equipment, walking from the Union Station to the CTA was a challenge. To minimize the walk, we decided to take the Brown line and then switch to the Red Line, and with all the waits, it took us 1 hour 40 minutes to reach my house(instead of one hour!). We made it and thus proved our dedication to reducing the carbon footprint, but it was a major project.
On Saturday, we could not figure out how to attach a bike seat to one of my bikes, and I thought that if all of this was for nothing, and we won’t be able to go on the bike ride, it would be a major disappointment. Fortunately, after multiple tries, Anna figured out how to attach the seat to another bike :), and we left – an hour later than planned.
Nadia was a champion – we biked all the way from my house to the start of the Lakefront Trail – it’s 2.7 miles one way! And it was pretty cold, especially closer to the lake. And Nadia fell off the bike several times, hurting different parts of her body, but afterward, she would get back on her bike and keep going. Amazing kid!
On the way back to the train station, Igor helped us to carry things, and it was tons easier! That way, we actually made it in one hour!
Lena came to visit, and we went to the Orchid Show in the Chicago Botanic Garden
Since it was 68F, we went biking at the Lakefront Trail
We spend the evening creating posters for today’s rally
We desperately tried to send money to Ukraine with unsatisfactory results, but I will try some alternative routes
So that’s our bike ride. As I said, it was 68F, so technically speaking, people could go short sleeves, and some did. At the same time, the ice can’t melt instantaneously, so the lakeshore looked like that:
I never had a bike ride as I had on Saturday! The weather was stormy for several days before that, and it was raining non-stop. Saturday was the first day when it finally stopped raining, and Boris and I went on a bike ride.
When we were close to the Navy Pier, we saw a police barricade across the bike path. Since we saw the bikers and runners passing it, we figured out it was not indicating any immediate danger (and we were right, it was removed on the other side of the stretch, and when we were heading back, this first one was removed as well).
On that stretch of the Like Frnt Trial, the water often comes very close to the bike path, but this time around, the waves were running over the bike path all the time!. We saw huge chunks of seaweed on the asphalt, so thick that we had to dismount and walk the bikes. Then one of the waves reached Boris, and he was wet up to his knees! His breaks lost traction, and so did his feet, so the next time we had to stop by the crossing, his bike ran into the rear of my bike, and he fell off (no injuries). Our final destination for this ride was the Field museum (I will blog about it separately), and he had to walk around in the wet shoes.
Sometimes, life is fair, and I was covered by another wave, with a similar effect on the way back. I thought that if somebody took a picture of bikers covered by the waves, it would be very impressive!!!
That’s – last weekend. I am so glad that after returning from Finland I still caught several summer days. It was 47F when I left the house this morning, and I believe it’s the first day of the season when the temperature would stay in the 50s for the whole day. So, a week later – my last summer morning of 2021 🙂
While in Helsinki, I try to combine work and doing something interesting together. Until today, the weather was great, sunny, and not as cold as everybody told me it was going to be, so we went on long bike rides every day, including the very first day I came.
Boris discovered several new bike routes, and each day, our ride was different and very scenic. Boris often reminds me the story which happened to me on one of my early visits, when I thought that if I needed to get from one point on the shore to another point on the shore, I could do so by walking along the shoreline:)
I am not making this mistake anymore, but all three of our rides were along the shoreline (for my love of it :)).
To be honest, I do not want summer to run forever. I do not want to live in Florida or California. But I love that summer lasts through the whole month of September!
This week, I finally gave away my early morning biking, but I have been devouring these last biking mornings for the past two weeks. I had an amazing long ride on Labor Day, and I finished my early mornings seasons last Sunday, watching the sunset on my way back.
I’d just say – living by the lake in September is priceless 🙂
Anna brought her cargo bike with her (she ended up driving a truck because of that), and although driving a truck in the city is not the most enjoyable activity, the presence of a cargo bike made a huge difference! We could go anywhere on bikes! Both Sunday and Monday mornings, we would head to the Lake Front Trail to explore the playgrounds – thank you, Chicago Park District!
We biked to the Edgewater Art Fair on Sunday evening (because Nadia really wanted to listen to some concert), and we biked to Andersonville on Monday to have lunch with Vlad and Dylon.
At the Edgewater Art Fair, Nadia danced for forty minutes straight while the band was playing, and Kira followed as much as she could:). Neither me nor Anna could expect it!
Only later we thought that we could plan more outings with the cargo bike, including going to the Lincoln Park Zoo and to Navy Pier – both are relatively close to where I live, but unfortunately do not have convenient public transportation. We will plan better next time!
Last time Boris was here, he talked me into using the bike’s luggage rack. Before that’ I was a little bit sceptical about my abilities to keep the balance/ Also, I didn’t realize how much stuff you can carry on your bike this way. Now, I am shopping at Devon Market, and at once a week the Glenwood Street Market.
And I am planningt to use my bike for shopping as soon long as possible (not sure how winter will look like)