The city of Chicago has a sprawl that goes on, seemingly forever. Which is why, when faced with the prospect of a short lunch ride from SRAM’s headquarters, the talk instantly turns to the lakefront. Next to the bright blue Lake Michigan shore runs a path that extends well into the south side of the city. Along the way, it offers up a cross-section of the people that inhabit this city. Everyone you could possibly imagine living here, in the third largest city in the US, can be spotted on this path. Picnicking families sit next to beefed up volleyball players, aging sunbathers tan their leathery skin, while the throttles belonging to the various motorcycle tribes are noisily tested. Children scamper left to right across the path, kicking various shapes of ball between each other. The overall effect, at least on a rapidly moving cyclist, is one that induces extreme alertness.
On this particular day, we didn’t make it to this historic bike path before tragedy befell us. The trick to riding in this city, or any city, is to remain aware at all times: aware of your surroundings; and aware of the fact that it could all change incredibly quickly. Just ask Pete, one of our posse. We were a few short blocks into the ride when we made a right turn.
A car door was flung wide open, taking out Pete, before we knew what had happened. Pete was soon back on his feet, however shakily, nursing a broken pedal and a bruised bone in his wrist. Assuring us he was alright, Pete urged us to continue on our merry way. After we assigned him an escort to get him safely back to HQ, we were left to deal with the heat, humidity and the sheer number of people along the lakefront. It was a quick, brutal introduction to what SRAM call their lunch ride. Thanks to Pete, Dan, JP and the fine folks at SRAM for taking us out and showing us the town.
SRAM Headquarters, Chicago, Illinois
Any given day of the week, generally around the middle of the day.
Ever since SRAM was founded, in 1987, the Chicago lakefront has been an easy option for a lunch/ product test/evaluation ride etc.
The ride out to The Point, their usual route, is somewhere between 20 to 22 miles.
Interesting Facts and Landmarks
During the summer you’ll have to dodge walkers, joggers, rollerbladers and tourists. From fall to spring, you can have the path to yourself and SRAM have hosted rides with athletes including Lance Armstrong and Jeremy Powers. You get some of the best views of the Chicago skyline and ride through some of the areas helped shape modern Chicago after the World’s Fair of 1893.
There are two cross races along the lakefront path, the first of the Chicago Cross Cup Series in Jackson Park, and the last of the series in Montrose Harbor.
There are a few notable restaurants in the area but the one that quelled our hungry stomachs – what is it about riding in the heat that makes you more hungry? – was aptly named ‘Burger Bar’. Go all out.
And how is Pete?
He was back on his bike commuting in the following Monday (this time he rode a little closer to the center line of the road, thus avoiding the ‘door zone’).
Previous Lunch Rides:
Otto Miller & Oakley
The Lawyers Ride
If you wish to submit your lunch ride to the collection please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, take a look at the continually updated schedule of the Rapha Mobile Cycle Club to see if Hennie will be in your neighborhood.