Chicago LOVES all types of transit. Train-friendly, bus-friendly, fairly car-friendly, and heavily bike-friendly. I have been involved in all those forms, EXCEPT the two-wheeler option. As easy as it is to ride with many bike paths, plenty of bike racks available, and pedestrians and motor vehicles friendly and aware of your presence, I was deathly fearful of ever getting on two wheels in the city. I had heard of too many incidents of really experienced cycalists getting hurt involving cars or pedestrians, things out of their control. How would a less experienced biker survive?!
As my years in Chicago have progressed, I've moved farther west in the city, which I enjoy; however runs along Lakeshore were impossible (an early endeavor I enjoyed when I first moved to the city). Well thanks to motivation from my boyfriend, who fearlessly hopped on a bike in the city the soonest he could, and once we both had bikes, we decided to try a joint leisurely ride through the city. Possibly getting to enjoy the beautiful lakeshore again. Well....I ran into two cars...parked cars. Brilliant, I know. (No damage was done to either). Riding the bike came as easily to me after 10 years off a bike as the saying goes. It was the other elements, the cars on the road, that made me tremble. As the cars came closer to me, the more distance I wanted to create, which unfortunately shortened the distance between me and the parked cars.
However, through some encouragement and further motivation from my other half, I decided to get back on the horse. This time we were going to the beach. And I did it! I had made it through the city, to the lake, and enjoyed time of the lake front as well. It was a long, and exhausting day, trying to my relationship dynamic (fortunately, my boyfriend was very patient), but a success!! I had such a proud moment when I though to myself, 'I've conquered my fear.' I was outside my comfort zone and ready to explore.
Being able to bike created and opened the door to a summer of fun. We were able to bike to new restaurant and places, and get to the lake soooo much easier. Also, I was able to bike to work, allowing me to save some money riding the L every day. I challenge you to try something new as well; see what doors open for you!