Jeff & I registered months ago to participate in this years L.A.T.E Ride Chicago and I woke up Saturday morning excited for the 25 mile ride we had ahead of us later that night! After visiting with friends at a BBQ we headed directly to Target and bought Jeff his required helmet along with some lights for our bikes and walked in the store one minute before they closed. We drove home, grabbed everything we needed then rode our bikes to the Elmhurst train station to make our way downtown for the ride.
When we got on the train there were already four other bikes in the car. A couple people who were heading downtown for the ride along with two guys who turned out to be taking a cross country road trip on their bikes from California to New York. We found it interesting hearing stories about their trek and realizing they had no idea there was a huge biking event happening on the very same night they came into town.
After the train arrived at Ogilvie Station we made our way to Buckingham Fountain where a band was kicking off the event along with volunteers giving out free drinks & snacks. We walked around checking out all the people, their bikes & helmet decorations and wound up stopping to talk to one of our teachers from Elmhurst College, Professor Catherine Crawford who happened to be riding in the same round as us.
We then made our way to where the green group was lining up. While we were waiting to start the announcer mentioned there were around 9,000 people participating in this years L.A.T.E. Ride (which by the way stands for Long After Twilight Ends). At 1:15am our group was allowed to start. Riding through the streets of Chicago on a Saturday night was very interesting…people waiting outside to get into bars & clubs, folks standing on their balconies yelling down to all the cyclists, cars driving by honking their horns and waving their arms out their windows in excitement and frustration. We got to about the halfway point where they handed out snacks and drinks and we couldn’t believe it was only around 15 miles into the total path. It felt like we were riding for a lot longer and our butts were already pretty sore by that time too. The last half of the ride took us down the Lake Shore Drive bike path all the way back to Buckingham Fountain where we were given breakfast and sat and watched the sunrise.
After the ride we had some time to kill before the train station opened again so we drove around town some more, after sitting for a while in a couple different locations, we gradually made our way back to Ogilvie where we took the 8:40am train back home.
Over the course of Saturday & Sunday we put approximately 40 miles of riding in and we’ll definitely be doing the L.A.T.E Ride again next year!
Let us know if you’d like to join us and I’ll remind you when next years event comes around.