Biking Barrington Hills

The weather was great this weekend and Megan and I took the opportunity to do another ride from our "Biking Illinois" book. This time we hit up Barrington Hills, which is a well known biking area in Illinois. Lots of really quiet country roads nestled in with horse farms. It is quite a picturesque area. 

The ride worked out that we were also heading up to the parents and in-laws places for an afternoon grill out so this was on the way. The ride was a ton of fun and I would love to head back to this area in the fall when the leaves change. Megan had some difficulties with the hills. We did end up cutting our ride a few miles short since she also got a flat tire near the southern end of the ride. We literally had just left a small ret area in the DuPage Forest Preserve when she got the flat. We were a mile away, but the road we were on had forest preserve on either side of us and almost no shoulder. We changed the flat there, but my small bike pump couldn't pump the tire back up to the 110 psi she needed for her bike. We got her back up to around 55 psi and worked our way back north on Old Sutton Road. 


National Ride Your Bike to Work Day - They Forgot to Tell the Motorists

This past Friday, May 20th was national ride your bike to work day. I have been wanting to do this for the past several years, but rain and other factors at work have prevented that. This year however the weather promised to be nearly perfect and I had nothing conflicting with work that would prevent me from participating. So I went off this past Friday with my bike and some research from Google Maps to find the best bike route to get to work. The ride in for me is 17 miles each way, which makes for a pretty robust bike ride. It is doable, but not exactly something that is easy or one would do on a daily basis. 

My ride was going great until I was about 2/3's of the way done, whereI ended up in the bicyclists worst nightmare. A car driver turned the corner off of the road heading into the entrance of a Mcdonald's and cut me off. I was just feet from the car. Thankfully, I didn't hit the car, but I did end up locking up my breaks and "high siding" the bike. I basically did a front flip on the bike, over the handlebars and onto the pavement. I hit the pavement pretty hard and my Strava map actually seemed to capture my crash, which you can see below. 

It took me a few seconds to realize what just happened. The woman who pulled in front of me did ask if I was "OK", but she did not get out of the car nor did she actually apologize. Several other motorists asked if I was "OK" as well. Thankfully, I wasn't badly hurt. I had a nasty raspberry on my knee which was bloody, but really not that bad. I also landed hard on my shoulder and my back, which later in that day ended up hurting a lot. As of a couple of days later, they still hurt, but they are feeling much better, so I think I just bruised some ribs and my shoulder. The only other major casualty was the strap on my bag which tore off from the impact. 

So of course I had to ride home from work at the end of the day. Thankfully, the ride home was without incident. It was however pretty tiring though. Overall and interesting experience to say the least. Perhaps I'll do it next year, or perhaps not. Can't quite say at this point. 

The Salt Creek Bramble

This past Christmas I received the "Road Biking Illinois" book and two weeks ago Megan and I got out to do our first route in the book. We did the Salt Creek Bramble which was a nice ~35 mile bike ride around the western suburbs. The weather could not have been nicer and the ride was pretty great, hitting up some nice trails through the forest preserve and hitting up some nice neighborhoods. I didn't realize when we firsts out from it that we would be going as far north as Oak Park.

The only major complaint in the book is that the street names changed often from town to town, even while staying "straight" on the road, so there was a lot of stopping and referring back to the book to try and get our bearings. We made a nice stop at the "Brown Cow" ice-cream shop in Forest Park to recharge our batteries a little bit. 

The western side of the ride had a nice detour through Fullersburg Woods, which I would like to go back and walk at some point while also hitting up Graue Mill. We tried to find it in the area, but we couldn't and the woods there has a nice crushed gravel path that I think would be great for an afternoon walk. Great ride for anyone in the western suburbs. Hit up my Strava link to get the route and do it yourself.