My fiancee and I will be moving to Wilkes Barre, PA soon, so today marked my last bike commute as a Chicagoan. I started biking in March 2011, through the late fall, started up again in Feb 2012, and biked nearly every day I could until today. I have gone through 3 bikes (2 upgrades), well over 3000 miles, only 3 flats, and no major accidents (for that last bit, I am extremely lucky!). I met a few of you (some at West Town Bikes when I was working on my Cross Check, a few more at last years North Shore Century). I regret not getting more involved as this is a pretty awesome community. As I depart our fair city, I thought I'd give a few thoughts:
#1. Bike more. Seriously. Make time for it. If it's a sunny Chicago day and the weather is bearable, get out there and bike, even if just for a bit. Take advantage of the great bike infrastructure here and bike, bike and bike. You never know when life will take you elsewhere where bike lanes are non existent
#2. Be careful out there! As recent events have shown, even a city with great bike infrastructure, the unthinkable happens. Don't pedal full speed into 3 way intersections, don't draft city buses, take out your headphones, and for the love of god, put on a bike helmet. Keep both eyes ahead of you and your legs moving. Listen for cars coming up behind you and don't be a dick.
#3. Get out and enjoy the city. On your bike, on foot, it doesn't matter. Chicago is a truly great city. I know I've spent the last month going out all my favorite bars, places to eat, everyplace I could think of trying to get everything I could get done in 1 month.
Anyways, It's been real kids. I'm hoping some day life will bring me back to this fair city and I can call this my home again.
I'm glad you had the chance to experience Chicago. I've lived in a few spots around the USA and always seem to come home. Even a decade in SanDiego couldn't keep me from drifting back to the City of Big Shoulders.
The flatland and grid pattern streets make this an understandable maze. The sheer size of the city and industrial base makes it much easier to be employed and survive in this 'Windy City' a term that has more to do with the politics than the weather.
Yep there is a good chance that if you've lived in Chicago you may leave but you'll be back...
My line in 1974-5 was I hate Chicago too much to ever leave it permanently....
Good luck in PA!
Good luck in Pa with the hills.
Lived there and a 2 mile long 25% grade will test your soul harder than a ride in any Chicago winter. Get ready to put some meat on your thighs and get some serious Cardio workouts. Went back to visit and hills that I didn't even think about before were putting me in bottom gears so much my friends busted my chops for hours.
There are some great rides there though, you'll do the Valley Forge to Maynyunk to the Art Museum and back because it's one of the best rides ever, it's a 'rail trail' (bike path laid down where there was a train line) and it's pretty much car free the whole way.
Stay safe / Good Luck.
I know how you feel. Several years ago I ended up moving to Minneapolis for a while and then to Buffalo. There are good and bad things about every city and state, but I couldn't wait to get back. My wife and I moved back to Chicago a year ago in November. I still miss Minneapolis and Buffalo, but there is nothing like Chicago.
Good luck in PA, I hope it's more bike friendly than Buffalo was!
Best of luck with the move! Don't expect the kind of community support you find here, but there are plenty of great rides. Wilkes Barre itself doesn't have many hills but it is surrounded by them. You may find this link helpful.
great parting thoughts. thanks for sharing. enjoy the keystone state - people are friendly there. and thanks for all your contributions to the chainlink !