|Riding the streets of Chicago on an Electra Townie – very comfortable|
|Crossing the river...|
I thought it best to hand the bike back before having lunch so I pedalled off towards Millennium Park – which involved riding back along North Michigan Avenue and negotiating a busy left turn near the park. Over the road from the park is the hugely overrated Tavern at the Park, a kind of pub with tables and space at the bar to sit and 'enjoy' the cuisine, which is very predictable and not, in my opinion, that great. It was one of those places where you can bet you'll get unnecessarily large portions. I ordered the chicken hash lunch with a Revolution Porter – and to be fair the portion was average-sized – and finished off with apple crumble and ice cream. The main course was fine (ish) but it came with truffles and I've now discovered that I'm not endowed with expensive tastes. If I had to list the things I really hate eating, I'd definitely have foie gras at the top of the list followed by Queen scallops – let's make that all scallops – and now I'd like to add truffles. They overpowered my chicken hash, which was basically chicken stew (but not as good as my wife makes it). It came with two poached eggs, which I knew would be runny and messy-looking on the plate once I had sliced through the egg and allowed the yoke to mingle with the stew and...ugh!
|Scenes from the city as seen from the bike...|
|Multi-storey car park and apts.|
I ambled back along North Michigan Avenue amidst the crowds of shoppers and tourists, clutching my copy of The Man Who Cycled the World, which, for some reason, attracted the attention of the Americans, some of whom passed comment. "Did he do it?" And I'd reply, "Yes, he did it and then he cycled the Americas." The book became a kind of icebreaker as, earlier, the investment banker had asked me about it too. So if you own a copy of this book and don't want to be bothered by strangers, leave it at home.
But I haven't mentioned the bike or the Chicago Marathon, both of which need to be discussed. First, the bike. An Electra Townie, which they sell in the UK. It has a front brake and a mechanism whereby you pedal backwards and the bike stops. It works well, This is a comfortable bike, ideal for the city, but I'm not sure how good it would be on the sort of rides (and distances) covered by NoVisibleLycra. Don't get me wrong, if I owned one, I certainly wouldn't be trading it in for something more suitable as it would do the job. Remember that in most cases a bike is a bike is a bike, although I'm sure Mark Beaumont would disagree and I certainly wouldn't fancy cycling the world on an Electra Townie.
|Not as good as my wife's chicken stew...|
Wherever I go there are people wearing brightly-coloured trainers who, I'm guessing, are fast asleep at this very moment in preparation for the big day tomorrow. I say 'tomorrow' because it's still yesterday as I write this. It's only tomorrow in the UK.
And now it really is time for me to revisit my bed and get some more sleep, although I doubt I'll get much now that I'm fully awake and in writing mode.