Tag Archives: featured

Maggie Daley Rink Opens

Opening day for the Maggie Daley RinkIt took two years, but the Maggie Daley Ice Rink has opened.  I’ve never had this kind of experience and it was also the first time on skates for the season, all of which added up to a little uncertainty and some tentative start on ice.  The rink itself has two ups and two downs — not steep, but steep enough that if you stop skating you will  either speed up and go downhill or stop and slide backward.  Also the lane widens and narrows, and that adds up to congestion.  This rink is NOT for beginners.  Fall down or stop and you could be in big trouble.  Folks just aren’t used to skating in a variable width.  Also, like all venues, some people just want to go fast and that can lead to some pretty dicey situations, especially when it’s crowded.  The official Park District information sheet lists the capacity as 700 skaters.

It takes the Zamboni about an hour to refinish the  surface, so when the gates open it is like the Oklahoma Land Rush.  I’m surprised that no one was injured.  After a while it thins out and the experience is much nicer.  Fortunately there are other things to do in the park while waiting for it to freeze over.

End of the 2014 Riding Season

End of Saeson
End of Season

You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em — not hard when you ride a Dahon Folding bicycle, but always a disappointment when the inevitable rolls around here in Chicago.  Yes, hardy cyclists ride year around but this 74-year old knows better and is also suffering from a respiratory infection that doesn’t seem to want to go away.  When it does it’s time to break out the ice skates and make winter something to look forward to for the next few months.  It helps to mix in a Caribbean cruise as well.

Here are some end of the season photos taken by my friend, Don, as we travel along the I&M Canal and Chicago River with a few of my cycling friends.  Autumn is a great time to ride, but unfortunately too short.

A Ride to Firkin’s

Day's Route

Image 1 of 17

Our route for the day consisting of two 11+ mile legs in a loop beginning and ending at Lake Forest.

The Firkin Ride Loop

Firkin’s in Libertyville is an outstanding gastro-pub with great food and a wide selection of brews to choose from.  Our group of senior cyclers took the METRA to Lake Forest and rode a few local streets (Everett Road is a white knuckle experience if traffic is heavy) but did the rest of the trip on the well marked Lake County Bicycle Trail system.  The map shows our route.

As an added benefit, my daughter and two grandchildren live nearby and were able to join us for lunch.

The Electric Boat Ride

Leaving the Dock

Image 1 of 5

Captain Don takes us out of the slip and into the Chicago River while Joan M and Lily smile with great anticipation.

Captain Don
Captain Don

When my friend Don mentioned he had a Groupon for an electric boat ride, I thought he was talking about a submarine.  Instead, he rented a two hour slot from the Chicago Electric Boat Company at Marina City.  With other friends and a supply of food and beverages we took a tour of the Chicago River North and South branches.


Feast of the Assumption – 2014

Jeff’s route

We had so much fun last year that we couldn’t pass up another chance to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption at St. Jerome’s at 2801 S. Princeton.  The trick is to get enough miles in at the beginning of the ride to feel like you have earned some of the things to eat and drink at the Fest.  Our route took us from DuSable Harbor to the South Shore Cultural Center, a trip of approximately 10 miles and a halfway point.

Time flies, or is it us?

On the return side we cut across the University of Chicago to the Lorado Taft Fountain of Time. This is one of my favorite sculptures and a nice way to transverse the University of Chicago before heading either to Hyde Park or head north via Drexel Boulevard.

Arriving at St. Jerome’s you are immediately faced with a quandary: eat or drink first.  It’s easy to pass the fried dough on the way to decide what to eat, be it a kabob, lamb, and/or a dinner plate.  The pizza, hot dogs, etc. are nothing special, although they do look good.  We finally made our decision of Heineken’s, kabobs, lamb, and fried dough and a shady table.

Yes, we’ll do it again next year.  Hopefully the weather will be as picture perfect.