08 May 2009

I am a biking beast

So, last Saturday was the wedding shower for my friend L. LusciousLuka hosted the shower and all was set to go down at 3pm. Plenty of time right? So in the morning the Captain and I had some breakfast and I started baking crackers for the party. After about an hour I realized that something was wrong and they were not rising. It was 10:30 at this point, so we decided to bike the mile to Whole Foods and get some backup brownies. I outfitted my bike with my new green panniers and myself with my new clipless bike shoes. I had been practicing a bit strapping myself onto the bike, but was still afraid of splatting onto the road. This was the first morning that I went out with both feet secured to the pedals. So far so good.

We loaded up the bags and biked back home. By this time it was 12:30. I had planned to bike to the subway, take the El, and bike to Luka's place since it was only 2 miles total riding time and only 30 min on the train. The car would have taken 20 minutes, so this seemed like a great plan. Of course, this is Chicago, and there is always some sort of incident with the El. I left at 12:45 so that I could get to the house by 1:30 and take a shower in plenty of time for guests to get there at 3.

Well... Firstly I had never taken my bike on the subway. I got to a 'mini' station that had no guard, just turnstiles. I made the mistaken decision to raise my bike vertically and try to go through the turnstile- big mistake. I got stuck. I wanted to both laugh and cry thinking that the Captain would have to come and save me from the metal contraptions evil clutches. Luckily for me, you can go backwards through the turnstile with no problems. I biked around a bit more to try and find a normal station. Two blocks away- great. I am still pretty much on time. I got on the El just before 1pm and it was supposed to be smooth sailing into the Loop and up to Logan Square. Just then- Oh noes! The Blue Line is closed from the Loop up to Western. Well I was supposed to get off at California (which is the stop after Western) so basically the rest of my ride is gone.

I briefly debated biking from the Loop to Logan Square, but after calling a much stressed out Luka, and realizing that I have no GPS, I decided to attempt riding a bus with a bike. Luckily the bus driver was much nicer than any other Chitown driver I have had, so he walked me through the proper procedure to get my bike on the rack. Of course I am only 5' tall, so that makes lifting your bike onto a bus rack much more difficult for me and comical for the people on the street. I put my bike in backwards the first time and had to redo it as more people filed onto the bus. By this time it is 1:20. Ok, I can still make it yes? Let us not discuss how sweaty I am at this point (due to lifting a bike more that I thought necessary and the fact that my jersey does not breathe) and how desperately I need a shower before greeting people.

The bus finally nears Western after being in traffic for 40 minutes. Of course I know the directions to get from California to her house, not Western, so I had to phone the Captain to direct me. According to Google maps I really only need to be on one road. That road dead ends and splits near Luka's house, but that was the part of the directions I knew, so I should have been fine no? Wrong. Google maps lied to my honey. The road dead ends, disappears, and reappears about 5 times before it even gets to the split which I knew about. I was biking down alleys, avoiding traffic, biking through mud and potholes all while trying to keep track of where this magically changing road was going. I almost lost hope at one point when I merged onto the giant road Milwaukee Ave. Just then... what is that I see... why it is the California Blue line stop. I knew where I was now horrah. Only one more mile to go. (I had gone about 2 miles so far from the bus to here). I had no idea what time it was, but that I was surely late. I rounded the corner, ready to make my made dash through that last mile when the wind kicked up. I had a huge headwind this late in the game. Honestly. That was ridiculous. I was biking through dirty puddles and sweating up a storm when I finally made it to the house. Just in time to see the Bride and Groom pull up. Oh no! It was only 2:30. I technically still had time, but everyone was early!

The Bride and Groom drove around the block a bit. Many guests had already arrived, so I hustled through the hall to the shower. Oh that felt so nice. I was battered and bruised, but I think they might notice the wet hair more than the bruises, so that was ok. We finally settled into the party and ended up having a nice time. The best part of the whole day (besides learning to put my bike through the El stop and on the bus) was my bike shoes. I was so lost, so nervous about being late, and all around focused on my current predicament that I did not even realize that I had ridden all that way and done all that craziness with my feet strapped to my pedals. I didn't have time to worry about splatting on the road, so now I am a biking beast.

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