This morning at the ribbon-cutting for a streetscape project in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, Mayor Rahm Emanuel confirmed a tip I’d heard earlier this week, that after he leaves office on May 20 he will depart on a bicycle trip around the perimeter of Lake Michigan.
“The next morning after not being mayor, I’m starting at Montrose,” Emanuel said, referring to a beach next to the Lakefront Trail, not far from his home in the Ravenswood community. He said he’ll be riding about 70 miles a day with an old friend who was his roommate when Emanuel went to go to work for President Bill Clinton in Little Rock, Arkansas.
“I want you to know I love you all, but when I’m up in the [Upper Peninsula of Michigan] I won’t be thinking about you,” Emanuel told the crowd. “I’ve really have always wanted to bike the entire lake, but I was shocked, I should have researched this before I came up with it. It’s a thousand miles. I should have found something that’s about 500.”
Emanuel and his friend bike regularly on city streets, the mayor said. “We both had this dream. I’ve never found the time [to do the trip] with all the other things that are my responsibilities, so that’s what I’m going to do. So I look forward to it.”
After the presser, Emanuel told me he plans to ride his lightweight Parlee road bike. “I bought it as my midlife crisis bike when I turned 50,” he said.
Will he be staying in B and B’s or camping? “I’m 59 man. I need a shower the next morning.”
I’ve ridden the entire perimeter of Lake Michigan myself, over the course of a few different bike-and-transit excursions. I recommended to Emanuel that he stop at Legs Inn, a cliffside Polish restaurant in a remote location 25 miles north of Petoskey, Michigan, near the top of the Lower Peninsula. The eatery is known for being decorated with bizarre folk art carvings, and it has a mind-blowing view of the sunset over the lake.
Emanuel accomplished quite a bit for Chicago bicycling during his eight years in office, so here’s wishing him a safe and enjoyable journey, free of flat tires.
JOHN GREENFIELD MAY 10, 2019 STREETSBLOG CHICAGO FULL ARTICLE HERE