Since it's freezin rain out there tonight, let me regale you with a tale of many miles from warmer days gone by.
On the 9th of Noveember, my slightly belated (work and weather interfered) birthday ride started at Green Lake FPD in Calumet City with a southerly tailwind. First, I rode the full length of the Burnham Greenway; the south 2.1 mile section from 159th to State Street, then on street to span the gap-in-the-middle (State St. east to Burnham Ave., and north to Wolf Lake state park at 130th St.) then back on the trail at the north end of the park continuing to 100th St. in Chicago.
I continued on-street through Calumet Park and out on to US41 at 95th St. (via Ewing Ave., Mackinaw Ave., 87th St., Burley Ave., 85th St., and South Shore Drive (bike lane! starting at 83rd St.)) to 71st St. By this time, the wind had swung around to the west.
The south end of the Chicago Lakefront Trail begins (with no fanfare) just north of 72nd St. & South Shore Drive. A double wide sidewalk takes you along the south and west edges of the South Shore Cultural Center, then at 67th St. the paved trail starts and you ride past LaRabida Children's Hospital, Jackson Harbor, and the 63rd St. beach house. From 63rd north to Burnham Harbor (18th St.), over 6 miles, there are no street crossings to deal with, only other trail users. Landmarks along this section include the Museum of Science & Industry, Promatory Point, Hyde Park, beaches with killer views of the Chicago skyline, McCormick Place, and Solider Field.
Next is the Field Museum on the left, the Adler Planetarium on the right, and a bike trail that wraps around the east side of the Shedd Aquarium. At this point you are riding between Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago Harbor and can see Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park, part of Millenium Park, and the Chicago Yacht Club at Randolph Street. The trail moves on to the lower level of Lake Shore Drive to cross the Chicago River.
By noon as I arrived at Navy Pier, the wind was coming out of the north - directly off the lake. After a comfort break, I continued northward into the ever freshening headwind past Oak Street Beach (strangely empty), through Lincoln Park (Diversey and Belmont and Montrose Harbors, tennis courts, a golf course, etc.), and all the way to the end of the trail at Ardmore Ave.
The return leg was great with a delightful, if a bit fresh, 10-12mph tailwind. (Average temp for the day- 60F.) Once again I wandered onto Navy Pier, this time for food. After my short and late lunch I detoured onto Northerly Island (formerly Meigs Field) and rode the outside loop admiring the wildflower praire that has been planted where the runways used to be. Noted at 57 miles: my Birthday Ride; added 4 more miles while waiting for my SAG pickup at 63rd Street beach for a total of 98.8 kilometers; the Metric Century will have to wait.
Here's a map: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3313529 (northbound only)