a cycling day in Chicago

We hopped the train to downtown and just outside of Union Station is Lou Mitchel’s restaurant. Since 1923 Lou’s has been at the start of famous Route 66, that American mother road connecting East to the West during the dust bowl ( 1930’s ) as people migrated to California hoping for new chances and prosperity.

A Chicago Institution since 1923 - worth the stop

A Chicago Institution since 1923 – worth the stop

Route 66 has long faded, replaced by the super highways that bypass the small towns, but Lou’s has kept some old traditions. You get a donut hole ( baked there ), a complimentary orange slice and prune with breakfast, and a free tiny serving of ice cream after your meal.

these are some seriously fine donut holes

these are some seriously fine donut holes

We had omelets which were light and fluffy, but the whole-wheat toast baked there was sublime. A bite of omelet, a bite of toast, a sip of fresh squeezed orange juice… life is good.

Kingly toast - on their own bread - no need for jelly or jam - just a bit of butter.

Kingly toast – on their own bread – no need for jelly or jam – just a bit of butter.

With a bit of ice-cream to cleanse the palate we were off. Chicago has adopted some European ideas for bike lanes and in many places the bike lane is next to the sidewalk inside the parking lane. This creates a wall of parked cars to protect cyclists – and I felt safe on those roads. We headed over to the 606, a new elevated bike/jogging/hiking path that runs over the streets. You can cycle for forty city blocks without a light or car nearby. It was one of the best planned paths I’ve seen – and at $95 million to complete – it’s certainly costly. But it makes Chicago safer and better for living.

Cruising down the 606

Cruising down the 606

Heading North about 35 miles through the luxurious Evanston and nearby burgs along the lake you view awe inspiring houses but we had The Botanic Gardens and butterflies in mind.

The butterfly house at the Botanic gardens

The butterfly house at the Botanic gardens

Then North another 15 miles for lunch…

Another great Chicagoland place for hot dogs

Another great Chicagoland place for hot dogs

Then ten more miles to the train-station and home. Chicago is a cyclist’s friend.

9 Comments on “a cycling day in Chicago”

  1. I visited my sister in Pleasantville, NJ over the 4th of July weekend. In the surrounding cities they had bike/jogging paths that were cut out at edges of the woods. I thought that was very creative. You get to enjoy nature on both sides only at each stretch you had to cross traffic to continue on the path. I like the idea of the over paths.

  2. reocochran says:

    I have been to Chicago twice as a child and once as an adult, Bill. I like references to the Route 66 and also enjoyed Lou’s for a delicious breakfast through your experience.
    I an so happy for good bike paths. I think wieners somehow always taste better if someone else is either grilling them or at a restaurant. Enjoy the ride and hope you will be back to tell us more cycling adventures.

  3. In that case Chicago is the place for you Bill! I love the cycle track there. ❤
    Diana xo

  4. Resa says:

    We have lots & lots of bike lanes here in Toronto. They, also run along the curb. I still think it’s dangerous. However, we have a very long…. miles long bike path that runs along the lake shore & is 100% car free! Of course skate boards and in line skates share this path. It is quite wide. No Pedestrians, as they have their own path. 🙂

  5. cperrington says:

    Always enjoy your blog, but must admit, I was lost after the first picture. We haven’t seen the sun in Tampa in 3 weeks. It’s rained so much here that we have fish swimming in the streets. My kingdom for some of your weather.

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