My new house has a bike room, and there are more bikes than people :). Biking was something I greatly anticipated as a part of my new life.

However, I have no sense of direction, and it always takes me a while to learn my routes.
The Lakefront Trail breaks about 2.5 miles from my house, and the first thing I wanted to figure out was how to reach the starting point.

On Thursday, Boris and I decided to give it a try. I checked Google maps, and there was a safe route, all using the bike paths. Unfortunately, about 1/3 into it, I didn’t trust Google and turned earlier than I should have. When I tried to get back on track, the route planner started to direct us to Sheridan. We even got there by accident, but we quickly realized our mistake. Then, it was all trial and error, and the whole trip took us 80 min instead of 35!

Boris left on Friday, but I still had to figure out how to do it right. I went out on Sunday morning, this time following the instructions, and got there and back in 40 min (I only lost my way once on the way back, but was quick to get back on track).

I am so glad I can bike here! And the surrounding is so beautiful!

Biking In Helsinki

There is still almost no snow in Helsinki, and we were biking almost every day. The surrounding is still beautiful, although Boris didn’t give me any chances to stop to take pictures. Except of yesterday, when he lost me :).

My Helsinki bike is a city bike, not very fast, although quite decent. As for Boris, he has a new bike now, which is really fast :). So most of the time he has to slow down, or to stop sometimes to wait fro me. Yesterday, it started funny, but ended up not being so funny. I wanted to stop for a bathroom break; I knew that there were several places along the bike path, and I called Boris to stop when I saw one, and waved that I am crossing the street to the facility. Somehow he didn’t realize what was going on, and when I got out, I saw him biking back. I yelled, but he didn’t hear me. I could still reach him if I would hop on the bike right away, but I was absolutely sure he has his phone on him, so I called… Both of his phones. And when I realized that he has none on him, it was already late – I could not see which way he turned.

I knew how to get home, but I didn’t have a key! And I remember how I stared at my key when I was about to leave the house, and thinking: we are going together, I do not want to risk losing a key! And so that you know, this key opens not only our flat, but also the building entrance and the bike storage. And it was getting cold and dark, and I didn’t have a light on my bike.

It all ended well :). And I didn’t get a cold 🙂

BIking Accident

I just saw that I forgot to hit “publish” on my yesterdays’ post. Now there will be multiple in one day:), because I am still going to publish that one.

So, for the last two hours, I am trying to write down what has happened to me today. It’s embarrassing, but here is it: I had a really bad bike accident this morning. And it was not even the long ride. It was my shortest biking routine, the one I do these days after the strength workouts – just to add some cardio. It’s less than 30 min ride. 

I am still not sure what exactly happened. I was going downhill, probably faster than I should have, but the hill was not that steep. There were some small branches from the Monday storm on the ground; they didn’t look dangerous; I rode over similar small branches a lot in the past several days, they were everywhere. And the next moment, I felt that I am going down. I tried to brake and tried to put my feet down on th ground, but I could not fight gravity. 

My next thought was that my whole face is smashed, so I was delighted to find out that I had only a couple of cuts on the face.

Unfortunately, I wore glasses. These days, when my vision is tons better than before, I usually put the contacts in after the shower, and do my exercises in glasses. But this morning, for some reason, I was intensely thinking: maybe, I should put the contacts in before my bike ride. And I didn’t.

If I would, my new glasses won’t break. And I won’t have an extra puncture of my skin close to my right eye. 

There was a lot of blood, and also my bike chain got off, so I had to stop the blood at least a little bit, and fix the bike, and then get home. I did it all, and I am very proud of myself. 

The injuries bother me, however. First, I thought that I hit my right shoulder but turned out it was just a massive scratch of the skin. And the same goes for all other parts of my body. The cuts are not deep, but they are everywhere – hip, leg, knee, hands, elbows, fingers. Annoying like I do not know what. 

I so-so-so hope it will heal soon!!!

The Forces Of Nature (Derecho)

On Monday, “we” – some parts of Chicago and Northern Illinois and some other Midwest States – had severe storms (I didn’t know what “derecho” means, but now I know that it’s exactly what was happening :). I didn’t post any photos or videos, because what was happening in Palatine looked horrible, but way better than in most other places. I believe there were seven tornadoes reported around Chicagoland.

We didn’t have a tornado, although tornado sirens were going off for several hours. My mom didn’t have electricity for six hours. Actually, two blocks on her street didn’t have power, and the ComEd crew worked there for several hours. There were so many outage reports that ComEd notification system went down. I was able to report through the automated phone system, and later it turned out that this was the only system that was still up. In about 20 minutes, they started to send me text messages about the status of repair work. I took mom to my place, fed her dinner, charged her phone, and gave her some hot tea in a thermos because I was unsure how long she would be without power.

It was major stress for her, but I know that some people were without power for two days or more.
On Tuesday morning, I went biking, and it was mostly combining biking with weight lifting:) because I had to carry my bike over the fallen trees eight times!

All of these fallen trees were removed the same day, and today I biked with no obstacles, but here is how it looked on Tuesday morning.

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Biking in Helsinki

We biked a lot :). Biking is one of my favorite things in Helsinki, but now it was even better. Since I got my very own bike here, I didn’t have many opportunities to ride it. This time, I rode it every day. And not only because the weather was cooperating, but also because Boris made it a habit for himself, which I was also happy about. I used to nudge him into doing some physical activity daily, and now for the first time, I do not remember since when, although the gym is still closed, I exceeded my move goal every day.

The biking routes were exciting. The first time, I didn’t even try to take pictures. THen I asked Boris if we can do multiple stops next time, but I could not tell in advance where I want to stop, so I only took a third of all the pictures I wanted :). I tried a couple more times, but I still didn’t capture a lot, like four swans, very close to the bike path, or mounted police :).

But whatever I got, here it comes.

First day, first ride
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Another Long Day…

Once again, way too many things happened today. Some were good, some – very satisfying, some funny, and some sad.

And because I do not feel like writing about the sad things at the moment, I will put here several pictures from the forest preserve. First, the ones I took on Friday early morning, when I was biking.

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A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (III)

When I was planning my long weekend, I planned for a long bike ride on Monday morning. Then, the forecast showed rain at 6 AM. I thought I will wait, but then I thought – what if it won’t rain at six, and instead will rain at eight? What a fool I would be then! I left at 5-40, and yes, the rain started at 6-05 :), so I had to come back. But after breakfast, it was beautiful outside, and I went for the longest bike ride of this season. Actually, I do not think I ever took such a long ride all by myself. I was not even sure how the paths are going where I was planning to go :). And I had a great time!

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A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (II)

I love summer in Illinois. I am not talking about just summer in Chicago, filled with all these amazing events and activities: music festivals, parades, markets, Crown Fountain, icecream at the River Walk, and the fireworks on the Navy Pier. Chicago summer is fantastic, but I also love Illinois summer away from the city. 

I love that it is hot. Yes, I know that many people hate the Midwest summer for being hot and humid. But I love it. Maybe, that’s because, since my early childhood, hot weather was a luxury. Something we didn’t get at home. You had to travel to The South. The South was almost as appealing as “zagranitza” (see related post). 

In any case, I love it when the outside temperature is in the lower 80’s. My picture of the perfect summer is the following. It’s warm enough that I can wear shorts and a sleeveless top. I am on my deck, or rather on the wooden steps of my deck, I am barefoot, and my soles feel the warmth of the wood. The mourning doves are mourning; I hear their uuu! uuu! The sun is not setting down yet, but it starts to go down, My back is feeling the door of my kitchen. It’s never extremely hot on my deck because the sun never touches it directly. And it’s that moment when I sit there and do nothing. No audiobook in my ears. No looking at my phone. Nothing, but the sun which starts to descent, and the mourning of the doves … 

Every year, the first day I can sit like this marks the arrival of summer. This year, it was so cold for so long that I could not even believe that this day will come, even a week ago. 

And now, for the fourth day in a row, we have a perfect summer. Each day of the long weekend was a gift! 

Here are some pictures of want I was doing on Sunday.

Very foggy morning, meeting a number of deers
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A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (I)

Every year we hope that the weather will be nice on Memorial Day weekend and that what is considered the official start of summer will bring the summer weather.

Unfortunately, more often than not, that’s not the case. Either it is raining, or it is below 70 F or both, but most often, the weather is not good for swimming on the day when pools are official open.
This time, it was the opposite. The pools are not open, but the weather exceeds expectations! I decided to take upon the advice of the health authorities and spend most of this weekend outdoors. And also, doing some good things for myself.

Biked to the Farmers Market: they asked me to leave my bike at the entrance and kept an eye on it.
Greens, bread and chocolate – all you need! (plus coffee!)
Continue reading “A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (I)”