After hearing about the North Loop Ride through meeting one of the founders, Glenn, at a City Year networking event, I was eager to experience the ride on May 14th and 15th. I moved to Chicago a little less than a year ago and have not been able to explore the naturey aspects of Illinois due to a tight work schedule and unfamiliarity of the area. I was feeling slightly discouraged over the winter months because of the cold weather and lack of spending time outdoors.
Last summer, I did a 1500-mile bike tour from Bellingham, WA to Yosemite National Park, CA and it was definitely one of the best things I've done in my life. I felt so relaxed and anxiety-free on the trip, and the anticipation of the North Loop Ride made me excited about the possibility of experiencing similar feelings of being outdoors and living off of what you're carrying on your bike. There's something awesome about realizing you can survive off of what can fit into 4 panniers.
During the North Loop ride, I definitely experienced what I hoped to feel: the joy of riding through different landscapes (past rivers, through the woods, into little towns, past military bases, etc.), the comfort of riding alongside other people yet also experiencing the ride on your own, and the pleasure out of really feeling your legs work through 180 miles in 2 days. On Monday morning, even though I had to wake up at 6 am to go to work, I instantly felt rejuvenated and accomplished. I had a new found energy that the trip helped me feel.
The North Loop ride was the perfect 2-day escape from the busyness of Chicago and it made me realize that you don't have to go super far away to experience great nature and camping. It has inspired me to continue exploring Illinois/Wisconsin by bike in the future. I recommend this ride to anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors on a bike and doesn't mind a little butt pain getting up on day 2 :)
Entry by Lydia
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"To immerse , educate, preserve & advance the history, culture, trails and native habitats of the Lower Lake Michigan Basin Area"