Chicago July 2012

We were looking forward to the July 4th fireworks at Navy Pier. We didn't know we'd be watching them in the midst of a record-setting heat wave, though! The temperatures hit 100 degrees or higher for three consecutive days, setting a Chicago record. We had the air conditioning cranked up full blast for the entire stay, making it comfortable inside.

We took the bikes again, and riding in the heat wasn't actually TOO uncomfortable. On one ride South on the Lakefront Trail, I had a flat tire from riding on rocks and retaining walls. Taking care of that took a while because there were two holes (a pinch flat) and I ended up drinking my whole water bottle's contents. By the time I got back to the aquarium I was glad to see their fountain - I washed up and then dunked my helmet underwater before putting it on. That worked really well.

Navy Pier Fireworks

There isn't much I can say about watching fireworks. I got a decent video of the last 30 seconds of the show. Part of the entertainment was watching all of the cars lining up and stopping on Lakeshore Drive. This time, there were no police cars chasing people off of the road - not sure why they did it before and not now.

Mountain biking on the Lakefront Trail

I posted a message in the Chicago mountain biking community's forum, asking about what else I could ride in the downtown area. Somebody suggested the retaining walls down by 31st Street. I headed in that direction and found these great big rocks, all lined up like some prehistoric giant's molars. Finding a section that looked like it could be ridden wasn't easy, lots of them were of doubtful shapes or had large height differences. I was able to ride seven in a row, the ones in the leftmost two pictures below. From the shadows, you can see the height differences. The picture on the right is of one of two sections that had a few lower-lying rocks and were easier to ride. I didn't ride anything like the picture on the left.

There were also concrete retaining walls that unfortunately had gaps every 15 or 20 feet. I rode the smaller ones, lifting the front wheel up and letting the back one fall down into the crack before being pulled along. One of these hard hits on the back tire caused the two-hole "pinch flat" that delayed me for a while. Good thing I had the repair kit with me, 6.5 miles of dragging my flat-tired bike would have taken hours - and this was the 103-degree day!

Beach Life

There were thousands of people on the beaches when I rode North on the Lakefront Trail, despite the hot weather.

Who even needs sand?

These people were just baking themselves on the concrete, and some jumped off the concrete wall into the lake. There are ladders to get back up and in the rightmost picture you can see that they even have a lifeguard here.


There were a lot of volleyball nets set up and a lot of women mostly not playing games, but talking or practicing. I saw a sign later that mentioned an Olympic qualifier, so perhaps they were all waiting for matches to play?

I found that on the day I took these pictures, "The North Ave Beach Ball" event was scheduled, but for boys and girls 17 and under. It didn't mention anything about the Olympics, but the location seems to be where I was taking pictures. Who knows?

New Eastside's Lake Shore East Park

This little park nestled between high-rise buildings is in an area of Chicago that has three-level streets, and I was fascinated by this freestanding elevator shaft (no building!) used by local residents to move from the park to the upper level street. The park has a dog walking area shared by several high-rise apartment buildings and a lot of nice water features.