Biking to Chicago, solo

On the morning of Saturday, July 27, I’ll be leaving for Chicago on a trip that we’ve planned for some months.  We expected to be riding this trip together, but Lisa’s hip issues culminated a month ago with a total replacement on her left side.  She is recovering well, and is now walking with her hiking poles and spending time on a stationary cycle on a daily basis.  Sadly, her doctors prohibited her from riding a bike outside for three months.  Even more sadly, she is coping with the fact that she will probably never run again.  On the other hand, she is living without pain, sleeping well again, and looks tan and healthy after spending a couple of weeks recovering in the backyard sun.

I pondered just cancelling the bike trip, which was timed to get us to Grant Park in time for the Lollapalooza Music Festival.  We thought about driving down, or taking the train down.  While riding through Missouri a month ago, though, it occurred to me that I could still do the trip and have Lisa meet me in Chicago.  We have decided to do that.

This will be a little outside my comfort zone – riding solo, working out the route on my own, navigating through Madison, Waukesha, Racine, and that endless commercial industrial megalopolis between Milwaukee and Chicago. Thankfully, Wisconsin has a great system of bike trails, and I think that much of my ride will be on them, making it a little safer.  And remember that chart showing a circle labelled “your comfort zone” and outside that, another circle labelled “where the magic happens”?  Also, my bike has lovely new salmon colored brake pads which make me happy.

And there is this: Lisa will be joining me (by car) at my first and second campsites: Pepin, Wisconsin, and West Salem, Wisconsin. Then she’ll return home and work through Wednesday, and take the train to Chicago on Thursday.

My route: St. Paul to Pepin, Pepin to West Salem, West Salem to Baraboo, Baraboo to Lake Mills, Lake Mills to Racine, and finally, Racine down the shore into downtown Chicago, to check in at the Aloft Mag Mile, where Lisa will be waiting for me (unless I get there first!)

On Friday, Tame Impala, Janelle Monae, Maggie Rogers, and a hundred bands we’ve never heard of. Our friend Mike recommends The Nude Party, and I’m all up for that.

I/we will try to post daily.