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  1. #26
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    Riding on the LFP most of the Summer is like trying to drive an automobile near Daley Square on the last Friday of the month around 6:20PM.

    You are just going to have to slow way down and perhaps stop a lot.

    On the LFP WE bicyclists are the cars. The peds and ladies with baby strollers are the bikes. We have no right to expect them to jump out of our way just because we want to make time. There are a million other routes besides a multi-use walking/running/blading and slow-bicycling path that goes through a massive strip park that tens of thousands of people are trying to recreate on.

    I'm sorry but that is just the way it is until/if they ever build a bike-only fastlane interstate down the lakeshore that is limited-access like a freeway for bicycles.

    New-Fred Lance wanna-be's pretty much ruin the image of bicyclists for many chicago folks who see them blast down LFP buzzing peds like cars buzz us down a busy road like Ashland or Western.

    Whenever I'm on the LFP I pretty much resign myself to going 5mph or less if there are peds present. Any faster is just not safe.
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  2. #27
    Senior Member DGozinya's Avatar
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    I just use it as sprint training on the north side. Go around a group of peds...sprint up to next group or ANY other possible obstacle, brake, announce, pass, repeat for 16miles round trip. That'll get your HR up and you are not buzzing the baby strollers at 20+mph.
    Now on the South side, different story. Most times I am on the path around noon-3pm, so not a huge amount of traffic. The stretches of: McCormick to 31st beach, 37th to Promontory Point, and MSI to 71st are all good places that you can open it up. Just keep your head up and fingers on the brakes. If in doubt, slow down!
    And when it's nuts out like Memorial Day, just do repeats on that little hill at 47th. Spend an hour just on it and it might be boring, but it is the closest we have to a "hill" around here. It's only 3-3.5%, so try to accelerate up it each time...never drop speed.

  3. #28
    Hi, I'm Bryan. jimmytango's Avatar
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    The one and only time I've ever gotten hit by a car was at about 230 pm on the LFP. I was late to work and going all out. I pulled up to the Lawrence/LFP intersection as a car ran the stop sign. Locked the rear brakes and slid into her passenger doors. Dislocated my shoulder, broke three ribs, put my head through a window... Cop said her car looked like she got t-boned by another car. Funny part though is that after I got a new fork and trued my front rim, the bike was fine.
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  4. #29
    Newbie supergolfdude's Avatar
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    Have you tried yelling, "GET THE H--- OUT OF THE WAY", and then spitting on them after you pass them? They're never going to catch you and hopefully they will learn their lesson.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by supergolfdude View Post
    Have you tried yelling, "GET THE H--- OUT OF THE WAY", and then spitting on them after you pass them? They're never going to catch you and hopefully they will learn their lesson.
    You reap what you sow....

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayonnaise View Post
    About a week ago I was heading downtown on my daily commute. I caught up to 3 riders riding in a pace line. These guys didn't have much form but were energetic. As I passed, they jumped on my wheel where they stayed all the way into the city.

    As we neared the city I figured I'd slow down. Last thing the lakefront path needs is 4 guys single file on a beautiful summer day with thick crowds.

    They pass me. They then take turns looking back to see if I'm coming. No way, not me.

    This part of the path has a couple of quick turns so they're out of my sight line quickly.

    Not more than 30 seconds later I make it through the same series of turns and look up the path and see a guy drop his bike and run to the side of the path.

    A little closer and I see a tangle of bikes piled up on the path. Closer still I see a long skid mark just before the crashed bikes.

    As I pass I see the same 3 guys all banged up lying on the ground.

    Then I see a woman sitting on the path, her crashed bike next to her, holding her arm in that distinctive way that says broken collarbone. The innocent victim of these boneheads.

    As I am occasionally spiteful, had it have been just the boneheads on the floor I would have laughed, but seeing that young lady hurt really made me sad.
    Hey was this near Oak st beach?? I saw the a cop car there questioning some riders last week! it was in the evening hours lol

  7. #32
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    I'm pretty much over my exasperation about riding on the path. The path is what the path is. It's never going to be a really great place to bike except maybe in late Fall and Winter when hardly anyone will be out there. Otherwise I see it for what it is, a place where I can get out and ride without dealing with cars and I've just come to the realization that I can't get worked up over stupid people. You just have to slow down when there are peds around. What scares me more are the other cyclists. There are a lot of guys out there who are WAY faster than me, and I know they're just an accident waiting to happen as Mayo pointed out from his earlier post.

  8. #33
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    Oh come on, its not THAT bad. I love going for a mid to late night ride along the path - the city is beautiful at night and its not as bad as you make it sound unless you go in t he middle of the day or on Memorial Day/4th of July

  9. #34
    Arschgaudi Mayonnaise's Avatar
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    yes, it was Oak St. beach.

    and yes ColombianGT, I think it is that bad. All of us reading this forum have a bit of sense and will ride the path with intelligence. Many users of the path don't have much depth of thought regarding what they're doing.

    Chicago is a huge city and we burst with joy when the weather is nice and head to the lake. You can't make a path big enough to accommodate everyone and when you get that many people in one place, accidents will happen.

    Like driving the Dan Ryan, it's a great new expressway, but you gotta constantly keep your eyes open for goofballs.

    I love the LFP and look forward to my commute each day, as I have for 15-20 years. It's one of Chicago's treasures (I was recently in St. Louis for a bike race and rode the Mississippi River path downtown: talk about a crap hole) and a wonderful way to see all kinds of people. Simply put, it ain't designed for haul' n ass so you gotta leave your high speed agenda at home. You're better off with the sound of one hand clapping or psychotherapeutic pedaling.
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  10. #35
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    Lol, I'm not disagreeing - I just happen to be optimistic about things

  11. #36
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColombianGT View Post
    Oh come on, its not THAT bad.
    agreed. as a daily commuter on the path for over 4 years now, i think many of the posts in this thread are overly dramatic. the lakefront path can get stupid crowded on weekends and summer afternoons, but other times on the trail, i have plenty of open space to haul ass, but this may be because i'm a reverse commuter (live downtown and work up in evanston). yes, there are idiots out there, and you do have to be constantly vigilant and slow down when slowing down is warranted, but this idea that it is completely unrideable at all times just doesn't jibe with my experiences. take this morning for example, i was passed by 0 cyclists and i passed 10 cyclists over the 8 or so miiles that i was on the trail. that's hardly the impossible-to-ride, hyper-congested cluster*%#$ that some make it out to be.
    Last edited by Steely Dan; 09-12-11 at 08:23 AM.
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  12. #37
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
    agreed. as a daily commuter on the path for over 4 years now, i think many of the posts in this thread are overly dramatic. the lakefront path can get stupid crowded on weekends and summer afternoons, but other times on the trail, i have plenty of open space to haul ass, but this may be because i'm a reverse commuter (live downtown and work up in evanston). yes, there are idiots out there, and you do have to be constantly vigilant and slow down when slowing down is warranted, but this idea that it is completely unrideable at all times just doesn't jibe with my experiences. take this morning for example, i was passed by 0 cyclists and i passed 10 cyclists over the 8 or so miiles that i was on the trail. that's hardly the impossible-to-ride, hyper-congested cluster*%#$ that some make it out to be.
    What kind of speeds were you going?

  13. #38
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
    What kind of speeds were you going?
    this morning i was on the hybrid, so only around 19-20mph or so. when i take my road bike, and when trail usage levels allow it (and with neutral wind conditions, of course), i ride a bit faster than that on the lakefront path. this notion being put forth that the lakefront path is awash with millions of users 24/7, 365 days a year is just nowhere remotely close to my experiences as a 12 month a year daily bike commuter on the path. yes, it does get wicked crowded at times (mainly in the high summer season), and if you use the path as a part of a daily commuting route, there are times when you have no choice but to slow down for safety's sake, but it's by no means like that all the time. not from experiences anyway.
    Last edited by Steely Dan; 09-12-11 at 02:52 PM.
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  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
    as a daily commuter on the path for over 4 years now, i think many of the posts in this thread are overly dramatic...that's hardly the impossible-to-ride, hyper-congested cluster*%#$ that some make it out to be.
    Well, my original post was from the standpoint of someone who had only ridden the path sporadically in the past and then only for pretty easy spins. As I started riding much more frequently and for longer distances I began to see more of what I hadn't from my previous rides, namely the oblivious pedestrians, roller bladers, etc. Since I wrote that post I've been riding the path on average 4-6 days a week for the last 3 1/2 to 4 months and I've reached an equilibrium of sorts. I no longer get quite as worked up but I still find myself aggravated on a regular basis. I don't try to seriously hammer out miles at high speed, unless I go and do that secret little loop which is almost always congestion and pedestrian-free. Still, you'd think people would exercise common sense and do simple things like look before running across the path or blindly turning their bike without seeing if anyone was behind them. As many people as use the path you'd think anyone who's been there more than once would know that it's a multi-user path and thus should be shared equally by all. That means exercising common sense, pedestrians should look out for cyclists, cyclists should always be aware that pedestrians will do stupid &^*%, cyclists should not try to fly at a high rate of speed through crowded areas, etc. Yeah, most days it is NOT a disaster, but almost every day I have to hit the brakes and call out to someone who just didn't look before they started to walk right in front of me or turned their bike right in front of me, etc. And don't get me started on any idiot who's out there with headphones on who wouldn't be able to hear you call out "On your left," or "heads up," anyway.

  15. #40
    Arschgaudi Mayonnaise's Avatar
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    I am sorry if I contributed to making people think the LFP is dramatically bad. It is not.

    I love riding it and will for as long as I ride a bicycle.

    What I was trying to convey is that you can never let your guard down. You need to be aware and alert constantly, even if you're seemingly alone. If you read the newspaper (I know, no one reads newspapers anymore), you'll know there's been a sharp spike in violent crimes on the path this Spring and Summer. Most people will ride the path and never ever have a problem, but safety first should be your motto.
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  16. #41
    Biking Viking
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    It is not a place to train, and it's not worth getting bent over pedestrians and other cyclists who use the path. I have had some decent rides on the LFP between Belmont Harbor and 55th riding midday during the week. Even with minimal crowds, you still are slowing quite a bit through some intersections, river crossing, etc. The best stretch is between McCormick and 55th, but it's only about 5 miles. Adding a loop around Northerly Island is a good way to extend your ride, as is biking the spit roads that frame Belmont and Montrose harbors.

    Riding Sheridan Rd north of Hollywood up to County Line at 7am on a Sunday isn't bad at all. If you want to train, I would recommend riding to the Botanical Gardens and back early on weekends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HungryJack View Post
    It is not a place to train, and it's not worth getting bent over pedestrians and other cyclists who use the path. I have had some decent rides on the LFP between Belmont Harbor and 55th riding midday during the week. Even with minimal crowds, you still are slowing quite a bit through some intersections, river crossing, etc. The best stretch is between McCormick and 55th, but it's only about 5 miles. Adding a loop around Northerly Island is a good way to extend your ride, as is biking the spit roads that frame Belmont and Montrose harbors.

    Riding Sheridan Rd north of Hollywood up to County Line at 7am on a Sunday isn't bad at all. If you want to train, I would recommend riding to the Botanical Gardens and back early on weekends.
    The Botanical Gardens ride actually sounds like something I'd like to try, whats the distance on that one?

  18. #43
    Biking Viking
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColombianGT View Post
    The Botanical Gardens ride actually sounds like something I'd like to try, whats the distance on that one?
    It is about 20 miles from Fullerton LFP to the Botanical Garden welcome center. I usually take Sheridan from Hollwood all the way up. Note that bikes are not permitted in the "ravine" section of Sheridan just north of Tower Rd (there is a stop sign at Tower, turn left, go about .5 miles and turn right just before the Metra overpass, and follow Old Green Bay for a mile before turning right and back to Sheridan Rd.). Take Sheridan all the way to County Line (Lake Cook Rd) and follow it west about a mile past Green Bay to the gardens entrance.

  19. #44
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    I've done LFP twice now, once 2 years ago, and once this summer. 2 years ago it was the air show and you could barely walk your bike through. But even without any special event, it is NOT a place to train or even expect to get a fast ride in. I'm surprised anybody thinks otherwise. I was able to go all out on the south section to Science & Industry, but on the north section I didn't even try. I asked a few people where they would go to really train and they said 'right here'.

    Here in NYC we have the West Side Greenway. Even though there are 'bike only' sections along parts of it, it still doesn't keep the pedestrians off, and the rollerblades, slow cyclists, dog walkers, and whatever make it hard to go fast in certain sections. Other sections are OK. Some sections are along a 'shared' popular walkway up by the boat basin. We also have Central Park, Riverside Drive and New Jersey to train, plus the other boroughs as well. There must be other places in Chicago to go, I wasn't there long enough to find out, and besides, I was a cycling tourist checking the lakefront out.

  20. #45
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    I've done LFP twice now, once 2 years ago, and once this summer. 2 years ago it was the air show and you could barely walk your bike through. But even without any special event, it is NOT a place to train or even expect to get a fast ride in. I'm surprised anybody thinks otherwise.
    and i'm surprised that you think you have anything remotely close to a valid opinion on the subject after having ridden on the lakefront path exactly twice in your entire life. i ride the lakefront path twice everyday!

    i think it's safe to say that i might be a little more familiar with chicago's lakefront path than you are. there are times of the day, week, and year when one can get fast training rides in and there are other times, particularly summer weekend days, when fast training rides become impractical/impossible. you do not have enough experience with chicago's lakefront path to make any kind of definitive statement about it's suitability for fast training rides. the truth is that it depends on when you go.
    Last edited by Steely Dan; 10-04-11 at 10:45 AM.
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    This may have been the only two times I actually rode a bike there, but I've been there plenty of times. I actually brought my bike the first time because I wanted to see if it would be better than my original impression. It wasn't, but there was the air show too and even going away from the show there were still too many people out. The second time there was Lollapalooza. But that barely made a dent in the trail, just a few kids along the perimeter of Grant Park. It was still too crowded on the north side. First time was a Saturday, a nice day too, the second was a Friday morning/early afternoon. I got a decent ride in both times, but I wouldn't call them training rides.

    I have plenty of experience with lots of trails, and the one thing they ALL have in common is pedestrians, skaters, dog walkers, and cyclists out for a slow spin. They are never good places to train, except as you say in off hours. The lakefront trail is way too crowded and narrow to really train on except if it is deserted, at least on the north side. The south side is better.

    This isn't a NYC vs. Chicago rant. Other trails, like the Burke-Gilman trail in Seattle, are equally bad, and that one doesn't go through the center city like the Lakefront trail does. And the West Side in Manhattan isn't a training route. No serious cyclist would ever think that, and mostly they avoid it except as a route to the GWB, and even then they mostly use Riverside Drive.

  22. #47
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    ^ you simply don't know what you're talking about because you lack the experience of riding chicago's lakefront path twice everyday for 12 months out of the year.

    i do have that experience.

    therefor, i actually know what i'm talking about.



    FACT: there are times when the lakefront path is deserted enough to get fast training rides in and there are times when it is not.
    The first rule: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

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    Agree. Under the right conditions, the path is fine for training. For several years, my weekday training has been exclusively on the path, and I've never had an incident, even at the height of summer. Of course, I have the luxury of working late, so my riding time is between 9 and 1, after the commute but before the beach bums get out of bed.

    If I'm doing intervals, I'll use the road/parking lot between Foster and Montrose. If I'm doing tempo or threshold, I'll ride between Soldier Field and the South Shore Cultural Center. Recovery or endurance, the entire path is fine.

    It requires me to keep my head up and be as alert as I would be on the road, and I would never train in the evening or on weekends. And I don't think anyone should ever ride in aerobars on the path, ever.

    If you've only been on the path during the air show or Lollapalooza, or if you never venture more than a few miles from Navy Pier, then, yeah, of course you'll get the impression that it's not a sane place to train or even have a pleasant ride. Come again some other time. (Like this week. Each day has been more exquisite than the last.)

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Scrooby View Post
    Agree. Under the right conditions, the path is fine for training. For several years, my weekday training has been exclusively on the path, and I've never had an incident, even at the height of summer. Of course, I have the luxury of working late, so my riding time is between 9 and 1, after the commute but before the beach bums get out of bed.

    If I'm doing intervals, I'll use the road/parking lot between Foster and Montrose. If I'm doing tempo or threshold, I'll ride between Soldier Field and the South Shore Cultural Center. Recovery or endurance, the entire path is fine.

    It requires me to keep my head up and be as alert as I would be on the road, and I would never train in the evening or on weekends. And I don't think anyone should ever ride in aerobars on the path, ever.

    If you've only been on the path during the air show or Lollapalooza, or if you never venture more than a few miles from Navy Pier, then, yeah, of course you'll get the impression that it's not a sane place to train or even have a pleasant ride. Come again some other time. (Like this week. Each day has been more exquisite than the last.)
    This, precisely. The key to getting a decent training ride on the LFP is the time of day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
    ^ you simply don't know what you're talking about because you lack the experience of riding chicago's lakefront path twice everyday for 12 months out of the year.

    i do have that experience.

    therefor, i actually know what i'm talking about.



    FACT: there are times when the lakefront path is deserted enough to get fast training rides in and there are times when it is not.
    Lol, easy killer.

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