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april and alberto: wedding anniversary by bike (chicago)

June 9, 2011

This week’s bike date in our Bike Date Series comes from April and Alberto, who blog over at EcoCanary about green living and sustainability. April and Alberto recently celebrated their wedding anniversary by going on a bike ride through Chicago. Here they share the details of their outing along with some tips on restaurants and sights in the Windy City. Thanks, April and Alberto, and happy Anniversary to you both! Enjoy…

April & Al, Navy Pier

OK, so just like most everything else in marriage, plans for the perfect bike date and the actual date itself are never quite the same thing. My husband and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary and we had this great plan for a bicycle trip down memory lane. We were going to visit all the significant places in our relationship…the college where we met, the first date, first kiss, the church where we got married, etc.

But life being it what it is, we got a late a start and had to change a few things.

However just like most everything else in marriage, what actually happens is ten times more wonderful than all the plans in the world.  Because the important parts; you and him  are all that matter and when it comes down to it no matter what you do together, it turns out to be an insanely good time.

We decided to play tourists and go to Navy Pier, stop off at North Avenue Beach where we took pictures on our wedding day and have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Uncommon Ground. I had never been  to Navy Pier before and I fancied riding the Ferris Wheel holding hands.

We dressed up, packed a picnic lunch in my baker’s basket, got on our bikes and headed south. It was a beautiful sunny day in the 70s when we left our neighborhood on the northwest side of the city but as we approached the lake, it got colder and misty. There was a cool breeze coming off the lake and a fog was rolling in. We paused to take some photos.

It was still clear before lunch and the Ferris Wheel ride.

Navy Pier

Here I am doing my best impression of Cycle Chic:

Cycle Chic, Navy Pier

After locking up our bikes at one of the many secure racks located at the entrance of Navy Pier (talk about rock-star parking, why on earth would you arrive any other way?!)  we sat down at a table for a picnic lunch of sandwiches, goldfish crackers and granola bars. We bought some fruit juice from inside and added in a shot of  “warmth.”   It was lovely. We toasted our love, all the years of our marriage and all the ways we had grown as a couple in the past year.

A quick kiss and then we were off to the Ferris Wheel, our hands swinging between us.

Surprise kiss

By then a thick blanket of fog had come on in tiny cats’ feet. It made for a magical atmosphere.

Under the Ferris Wheel 2

Here we are up on high looking down.  The fog obscured much of the skyline, but it was still a stunning view.

On the Ferris Wheel
View from the Ferris Wheel

Overtaken by the mist, even the skyscrapers were ghosts…

Ghost Building

Next we set off on the Lake Front Path  which is one the reasons why Chicago ranks high as a bike-friendly city.  It’s a beautiful paved path with two lanes for north and southbound travel that stretches for 18-1/2-miles along the Lake Michigan shoreline. It was quite chilly, but we warmed up as we got going.

Here’s a picture of one section of the path on a much sunnier day.  It was featured in a PBS article about the Lake Front Path.

We made a quick stop at North Avenue Beach and looked out at the fog over the lake.  We couldn’t see the skyline at all.The we traveled north along the path for about four or five  miles until we got to our exit point, heading west to Uncommon Ground.  It wouldn’t be an anniversary date without a romantic dinner!  Uncommon Ground is a one of kind restaurant dedicated to locally grown, organic foods.  Some of their produce is so local it’s grown on the roof-top garden of their sister restaurant.  We celebrated our anniversary dinner there last year and had a great time.  So often when you go out to eat you have to choose between your eco-conscience and your appetite. There is no need to compromise at Uncommon Ground.

North Ave. Beach
April at Uncommon Ground
We toasted some more, tucked into our scrumptious meals, chatted and reminisced.  All and all the perfect end to a perfect anniversary date.

We learned a few things along the way about bike dating.

1) Dress for the occasion AND the weather.  It’s a good idea to have some warm weather gear just in case it cools down while you’re on the road.  Also, ladies go with tights and not thigh-highs…trust me on this one.

2) Routing is everything.  Playing “Frogger” with traffic is not my idea of a romantic ride.  We advise picking a route involving side streets and bike lanes.  If you pick quiet enough streets you can even ride side by side and have a conversation, imagine that!

3) Pack carefully, don’t bring too much cargo.  It will only get in the way of the fun. That basket was cute for the pictures but proved to be a little cumbersome to take on and off the bike at each of our destinations.  I’ll save it for picnic-only dates in the future.

Thanks, April and Alberto, for sharing your special day with us! Some related posts you might enjoy:

Have you biked to a wedding, attended a wedding where the couple arrived by bikes, or celebrated an anniversary with a bike date? Tell us about it (or leave a link) in the comments below!
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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 11, 2011 13:51

    Yay, I’m so happy to see this story here. What a wonderful couple! When April was telling me about her wedding anniversary plans, I thought, that sounds like an absolutely perfect Simply Bike Date. :)

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