Trail riding in Chicago

So apparently there is some decent trail riding in the Chicago area. After purchasing some new brakes for my Trek 820 and stripping off the unnecessary parts I took it out to Palos Park in Willow Springs. This park has about 20 miles of gravel wide track and single track trails

Overall I had a pretty good time. Unfortunately some pretty hard thunderstorms rolled through the area and I ended up having to camp out under a picnic shelter. The single track trails are only open when try to prevent erosion so my trip was cut a bit short. I definitely plan to head back out here in the coming weka and give my Trek some reason to stretch its legs.

L.A.T.E. Ride 2012

This past weekend Megan and I attended the annual L.A.T.E. Ride of Chicago. This is a night bicycle ride through the various neighborhoods of Chicago design to raise money for the parks. It usually has a great turnout of 5,000 - 6,000 people. This year however seems to have a much larger number of people show up. I learned later that there was a Groupon at some point over the past several months.

Unfortunately it seems that this influx of people had a pretty detrimental effect on the overall event. Right out of the gate the starting times were excruciatingly slow. We were in the third group of riders and in the past the organizers generally late groups go about every ten minutes. This year the groups were let out in about twenty minute intervals, so we didn't even get out of the gate until an hour later. 

Pace for the event was excruciatingly slow. Now this is not a race, but it seems that some of the people participating in the event didn't even know the most basic of riding etiquette, riding 6-8 across the street. 

To top it off when we arrived at the rest stop half way through the course all of the water, bananas and snacks were gone. More than half of the participants must have still been on the course, so clearly there was some sort of breakdown in communication. 

Overall not the greatest of events this year, and to top things off the front brake on my bike broke right when we got there. I have a decent Trek 820 that I have had since eighth grade. The bike is in OK shape, but is at least fifteen years old at this point. I think it might be time to get myself a new casual bike for riding around town in addition to a road bike for exercise. 

Learning How to Road Bike (For Fitness)

It has been a couple of weeks since I last put up a post. I have to admit, I have failed pretty hard at my commitment for monthly donations. I promise I will get back on that. 

Anyways, my newest hobby and obsession has been getting into road biking. I am constantly looking a new ways to stay fit since I get so bored with workout routines quickly. This past spring I went pretty hard with Yoga as a major component of my workout routine along with my tennis an weightlifting. Last year I completed Tough Mudder, which I was very proud of, but I have to admit that I absolutely hate running. I always have, and this year I have hardly done any running at all. 

My brother has been into the bicycling sport for the past several years. I never really considered it for me, but recently it has sparked an interest. I have always loved biking and truth be told I wish I did more of it. Unfortunately my community (Bolingbrook) is not particularly bike friendly with the way the shops are setup. 

I recently purchased my wife a nice casual bike for her birthday so I am hoping some of our casual bike riding can increase this year. I have an old trek mountain bike (which is a great bike truth be told) that I plan to convert to a single speed later this year. I never really use all of the gears on it and it could use a little bit of TLC to clean it up. 

Getting back into my original statement though, I think road biking might be an ideal way for me to keep my cardio up. The sport appears to be relatively expensive with starter bikes apparently in the $800 - $1200 range. I am hoping to visit some local bike shops in the next several weeks to see what options are out there for me. I'll report back once I get a feeling as to what is out there.