Biking Downtown Chicago and Record Store Hopping

It was a beautiful day on Saturday and Megan suggested we get out of the house. One of the things I wanted to do this summer was to get our bikes into the city and bike around for lunch, so we ended up doing that. 

We took our bikes in and parked at a Park District parking lot next to La Rabida Children's hospital. The goal was to bike our way along the lake front trail north into the city. 

The problems though started immediately upon our arrival. Megan's bike had a flat tire on the rear wheel and we didn't have a spare with us. "No big deal", I though. We are in the city so there are bike shops every few blocks. I pulled out my phone and went off to find the nearest shop. My first stop was at the "Bike Clinic" which was just south of where we were. Unfortunately they were closed. There was a sign on their door written in Sharpie that they would not open until 1:00pm. Well off I went to the next stop on my Google search, which was Blackstone Bicycle Works. Getting there was not an easy task. Streets seemed to be closed all over the place and I was constantly re-routed try to find my way there. At one point I got stuck down a one way street that had a barrier curb erected in the middle of it. I had to back out of the street back onto the main road. 

I finally found my way to Blackstone, but at first I was not sure if I was at the right place. As I walked up all I saw were a few dozen bikes sitting outside what looked to be an abandoned building. A few moments later though someone came out to greet me and they took me round back to the main shop where I bought our tubes. Turned out the place was pretty cool and is a youth mentoring type of facility. 

Well, we finally got Megan's bike fixed and we were off and running and we soon made our first stop after that.

Hyde Park Records

Hyde Park Records was our first stop. It was a very "hole in the wall" sort of record store. They had a lot of rock and soul music, but not much else. I personally was in the mood to find some jazz or classical. Megan made a great find while going through their bins with


Reckless Records 

Our second stop was at Reckless Records which is downtown right near the loop. Madison and State Street in fact. This place was definitely a rock shop. It had some really cool stuff in there, but it was also very crowded as you might expect from a store at this location. Very trendy. I didn't find any records I was interested in here, but Megan came away with a few. They definitely have a nice selection of new and used records though. 

The Slurping Turtle

Not a record store, but our pit-stop for lunch we wanted to have Ramen and we hit up the Slurping Turtle which is north across the river. I had a basic Ramen Bowl and Megan ordered a sort of ramen cold salad, which was pretty good for such a hot day. 


Jazz Record Mart

Our final stop was at the Jazz Mart which is located near Illinois and State Street. If you are into jazz music this store is really cool. Almost entirely jazz it has a completely a different vibe than the other two stores. They have a nice selection of world music as well so if you want to go bin diving, I would highly recommend this place. 


August 2014 Reading List

My volume of books so far this year hasn't been really high, but that is probably because the majority of the books that I am reading seem to be in the 800+ page range. I have continued to work through the Malazan series and I am now on book #7 with Reaper's Gale

This book so far has been the hardest to get through and it is really a slog. I personally just don't have much of an interest in the story line that is happening in Lether and the characters really are not that interesting. I am close to 50% of the way through the book and we have finally be reintroduced to some of our Malazan favorites and I did get one new character called Beek, who seems like he will certainly turn into a great character in the future. 

I think after this book I will need to take a break from the Malazan series and catch up again on some of my Sci-Fi reading. I am really looking forward to reading Unstable Prototypes, which is the follow up to Joesph Lallo's Bypass Gemini. I also have on my radar to get back into the Entire of the Rose series. I read the first book in that series several years ago around 2001, and while I wasn't a fan of the main character, I did find the world very interesting.  

I would also like to read the follow up books to N.K. Jemison's Inheritance Trilogy. A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was one of the best books I have read in the past few years and I really would like to see where that world goes as well.