Chicago. And 100 things along the way.

 

Eat a Rainbow Cone

99. Eat a Rainbow Cone. A tasty, Chicago-only blend of orange sherbert with pistachio palmer house (vanilla with cherries and walnuts), strawberry and chocolate ice cream.

Did I ever brag about that one time I rode a century last summer? Hey! What’s that? Well, if you’re a newbie on the bike, it’s 100 miles of wondering why you’re riding 100 miles. But at least there was ice cream.

Chicago is a very bike-friendly city. Sure, there are times (i.e. every time) when you think you’re going to die while on the road. But trust me, riding in Chicago is a rewarding experience. I’m counting down the days to consistent 40 degrees so I can get back on.

Anyway, there’s an online biking group called the Chainlink that meets year-round. When the weather is especially beautiful, they promote events like century rides. I’m new so I decided to ride about 10-20 miles of this upcoming event, then break away.

My roommate, Megan, is my biking mentor/goddess.

Somewhere along Lakeshore Drive and maybe mile 5, the thought of riding 100 miles suddenly seemed possible. I blame the odd-shaped character on our route map.

As the map points out, we went all over the place. At some point, we ended up at the Original Rainbow Cone. It’s on the south side and I didn’t know it existed until we walked in.

I felt so cool riding up to a place of business with 30-40 people, chaining up my bike and demanding some ice cream.

So the Rainbow Cone is delicious. In fact, out of this world delicious. Clearly, it made the list for some reason. And if you can’t get to its original location, it’s conveniently served in downtown Chicago. But I definitely feel legitimate about biking all the way out there.

Without a pair of bike gloves, I concluded I was ill prepared for my century ride. Did I mention my thumbs didn’t properly function for weeks? And now that I think of it, they still don’t grip very well …

Live and learn. At least I know I’m capable of a century ride. I’m capable of riding with dozens of strangers and striking up conversation. And I’m capable of eating really delicious ice cream. I just needed a century ride to get me there.

Cruise the Chicago River on an Architectural Boat Tour

100. Cruise the Chicago River on an Architectural Boat Tour.

A college friend from New York City visited one November weekend and she insisted we see the city. Like most things on my list, I had been meaning to do this for a long time. But at this point I was almost a year into living here. I had walked the streets surrounding the Chicago River dozens of times. I wondered if I would get anything out of it.

But there I sat, shivering because it was November (and actually the last weekend before the tour took its winter hiatus) and feeling this surge of city pride. As this tour guide spewed dozens of facts about the various buildings around us, my heart was literally bursting.

I can’t remember even half the things this lady told us. But the feeling I live in a city with some goddamn history … now that is a powerful thing.

Mandatory first post!

Well it had to happen and there’s no hip way to say it.

Welcome to my first blog post. Not necessarily my first post ever, but definitely my first enthused one. So stay excited, reader. This is really like my first time.

I tried a political-themed blog a few years ago in college and that failed after three posts. I blame college and the utter laziness that comes with that, but what can I say? I had about five followers at the time and I wanted to end on top.

I’m trying this again because honestly, I’m a bit writing deprived. This blog is about my life. It’s also about the people around me. It’s about not going very far to find them. They have stories to tell and dammit, I want to hear them.