Yesterday, though, I decided that if I can't beat 'em, join 'em. I targeted two vendors--Vermillion, for its mango-cumin fries, and Pegasus, for its loukaneko Greek sausages. The fries did not disappoint, a wonderful blend of tangy and spicy. The sausages were good, too, served on a buttery pita.
The 8-mile bike ride to the Taste was mostly uneventful. I tacked all the way there in a 15 to 25 mph wind from the southwest. There were thousands of people on the lakefront, many who disregarded the bike path and focused on sauntering, standing and wandering. Thankfully, nary an accident was to be found.
The ride back wasn't as smooth. Navy Pier was closed (because of the fireworks?) so I had to take a bizarre route north. I was south of the Chicago River and needed to get over it. The problem was I was the path was at ground (river) level (most all the streets in this area are one or two stories up). I biked west along the river, discovering some beautiful quiet spots I never saw before--even a riverside wine bar--a reminder that getting lost can be a good thing. I plowed through the crowds and finally got to Columbus Drive. It was two stories above me, accessed by a metal spiral staircase. I decided to forge on to Michigan and the stairway there. I biked under Michigan Avenue on a catwalk over the Chicago River and discovered a wide balustraded cement staircase. I slung the bike over my shoulder and proceeded up to Michigan.
From there, I walked the bike--no way I'm biking on taxi-laden Michigan--all the way to Huron or thereabouts. I got on the bike and pedaled toward the lake, free of the bulk of fireworks traffic. Somewhere near Chicago Avenue and the lake, I took a tunnel under Lake Shore Drive to the lakefront path. Again, slinging the bike over the shoulder and proceeding down steps.
People were starting to gather all along the lakefront at this point, but few were biking north. I made great time with the tailwind. Near Irving Park Road, I began encountering people walking to the Montrose fireworks display. I was hoping I could still see the display, but time was running out. The plan was to watch from friends' 22nd floor apartment in Edgewater.
I got on the bus at Sheridan and Lawrence and within about 15 minutes made it to the apartment building. It was raining a little, but not enough to stop the show. I made it to the 22nd floor and saw not one but all three fireworks displays! And I even had enough time to drink a beer.