-Part of OOFD's Wander Ride Series
Two gems for a nice ride route around down lay along or just off of Racine Ave on the South Side. Plenty of chill back roads to get there from the East and West, and come from the South, you can simply take Racine or Halsted is a bit faster. Better yet, the chill Loomis down through and cross the river there in Pilsen. Most of all these options has a bike lane. Heading to a fair bit down south to 87 where it picks up Vincennes down into Beverly or even take it to hit the Major Taylor Trail which runs south east to about 129th and Halsted. So great place to get to all around. We suggest at least wiggle through some side streets as much as you can.
And you are traveling to the city famous Sherman Park on between 55th and 52nd Streets and Racine. One of the only parks in Chicago with multiple ball fields on an island. It opened in 1905 along with 8 other parks that were focused to get green spaces into crowded migrant neighborhoods as Chicago had 2 million people but less than 200 acres of park land.
Sherman Park was the biggest of these 1905 additions (about a mile south, you have another large park in Ogden Park at 53rd and Racine. Heck, if you want to journey a little 2 miles more West, you’ll hit the enormous and grandiose Marquette Park with its lagoons and golf courses and such). And the South Parks Commissioner at the time, J. Frank Foster, used these new parks to pioneered the concept of using the park house for social services as well. The park it is named after Burnham’s father in-law who was the “founder of the stockyards”.
Along the Journey
Speaking of stockyards, the old Stockyards are still an industrial park just a mile north of Sherman Park between around 47th and 35th Streets. Cut two blocks east to ride on Morgan for a bit and really through the heart of the industrial park. On Morgan, you’ll also see the Vienna Beef factory and outlet store.
And at Exchange, go East, and just before Halsted, you’ll run into the original entrance to the Union Stock Yards built by Burnman in honor of his father-in-law. There is a really well done historical marker that notes that just inside this gate, there once was over 100,000 head of livestock. The huge, beautiful building just a bit more East,is the old bank and multipurpose building for the stock yards, which at their height slaughtered 82% of the meat eaten in this country and employed 25,000 workers.
As your ride through along, be sure to take advantage of the countless of very low to no contact ways to buy food and beer. The route goes right through Bridgeport, so get that breaded steak sandwich. Or consider tacos or even some fried chicken!? Grab some Marz beer curb-side pick-up style or stop in Maria’s to get a 6 pack and support our local folks.
Sources - https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/sherman-john-park
-Signs at the Stock Yard Gate
OOFD's Wander Ride Series
OOFD's Wander Ride Series
We know with COVID 19 many folks are craving some outside time. Some of the go to trails are not open or crowded as heck, so not the best to ride in as you try to stay socially distant. Instead, use our city's incredible bike lanes to cruise a new neighborhood. By the way, out of the 77, how many have you been to? Get out there. Explore this city. Ride its streets to soak in its mourning and enclosure and distance.
Find that interesting neighborhood you've heard of. Seek out that place that carries weight of our history. Stroll that cemetery or park for the first time. Take the back streets to get there. Wiggle around the city on two wheels and keep exploring. Use The Reader's Mellow Map and Openland's Get Outside Map. And check out our Bike Camping hopes and dreams. We'll do our best to keep you inspired enough to wanna immerse and educate yourself in the beauty that is our home, Chicago.
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