Solstice Ride to Foster Beach Ride 23 of 52

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Date: June 21, 2017
Distance: 20 miles
Weather: Clear, low 70's.
Highlights of the trip: discovering more off-street connections east of Gompers Park

Although our days at the shop are tiring, especially during peak season, there's something supremely soothing about getting on a bike after work and gliding off into the twilight at the end of the day. As we wound our way from the shop over quiet side streets, we tacitly decided to go up north a bit further than necessary, so that we could enjoy the North Branch Trail a little longer. We picked our way over the quiet streets tucked away back behind the CTA bus depot off Elston, and crossed over the small woodchip covered foot path off North Indian Rd. to join the trail southbound right at the new bike bridge over the Metra rail line.

By this time, the tiredness started to melt away, and we rolled quietly through Forest Glen and Mayfair into Gompers Park. East of here, we enjoyed being led by one of the other ridersover little-known off-street connections between Gompers, Eugene Field, North Park University campus and stopping for a short break at the waterfall off Argyle where the North Branch of the River meets the North Shore Channel. At that point, we backtracked a bit to Foster and joined the traffic for the remainder of the ride to the Lakefront.

There was still a good bit of light still left as we lifted our bikes and climbed down the rocks to the edge of Lake Michigan. We brought beer, cider and a little food to share as the sun slowly went down behind the building, and our conversations faded to a lazy murmur. A group of teenagers nearby put on some hip-hop music, and another group in the distance set off a small volley of fireworks.

We stayed a while longer in the near complete darkness, sheltered from the city by the big stones, before heading back into the brightness of street lights.