Summer seems to have snuck into Chicago over the past week, evidenced by our several hot and humid 80+ temps this week and part of last week. Beginning last Sunday, Chicagoans have been flocking from the woodworks to soak up the sun and get in a workout along the lakefront path—a little volleyball action, perhaps, or some walking, running, or bicycling with the family. Cool.
I totally dig and appreciate that so many people are enjoying the lakefront—really, it’s one of Chicago’s treasures—but it makes for some serious pedestrian congestion… what some may even claim to be as “dangerous” congestion, in fact. Someone’s bound to get hurt if we’re all not careful.
There’s all sorts of etiquette rules out there. Here’s a round-up, IMHO. Consider this “Things that Erin tells me to keep in mind next time I’m on the lakefront path”:
- If you’re biking, don’t blaze so fast that you can’t stop on a dime. With all the kids that are out and about on the lakefront path, they’re not necessarily thinking about how fast you can ride… all they want is the ball that fell loose from their hands. And really, you’re not riding in the Tour de France, so slow the fuck down. Wherever you’re going can wait those extra two minutes for you to get there. (I generally feel this way toward obnoxiously fast drivers, too, but I digress…)
- If you’re riding, and you want to pass a runner,
- Announce yourself (“on your left!”), and
- Pass on the left. Yesterday night, a nice biker had the foresight to announce himself and tell me “on your right!,” though he passed me on my left… I guess it’s the thought that matters?
- If you’re riding, leave enough room between you and the runners on your right and/or left. On a run home on Tuesday night, a little boy, maybe 7 or so, was biking with his father, and INSISTED that I not pass him. Each time I tried to, the little boy sped up. His dad hollered from behind, “slow down! Let her go!” but the boy insisted. The I-pass-him,-he-passes-me action continued between the boy and me for about a mile, after which the little boy looked over at me and reminded me that “bikes are more faster than feet.” That was a 7:14 mile for me, so I’ll take his words of wisdom. At any rate, runners, if you’re too close to bikers, you could get ensnarled in their paths. Bikers, if you ride too close to runners, a runner’s errant foot could catch on your bike and send you both tumbling down like the London bridge. You have eighteen miles of lakefront; learn to share it.
- If you’re standing, don’t stand on the lakefront path. You will most likely have a near-fatal, or at least painful, collision with an out-of-control biker, walker, runner, rollerblader, or hyper child. Again, there are eighteen miles of sand and grass for your standing pleasure.
- And finally, don’t walk, run, ride, or blade more than two abreast. Nothing says “my buddies and I are inconsiderate and selfish path hogs” than a seemingly-unbreakable wall of pedestrians or athletes.
Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. By the next time you hear from me, I will have:
- Run the JP Morgan Chase Challenge – a 3.5 mile jaunt through downtown – with my DePaul colleagues,
- Run the Soldier Field 10 Miler as my final long run before next weekend’s Sunburst Marathon (#14!), and
- Last but certainly not least, I will have finished the entire draft of my thesis!!!
Happy strolls to you and yours in the days to come.