(Originally published on the Chicago Metblog.)
The Chicago Park District is running a challenge all summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day) to ride your bike along the entire 18 mile Lakefront Path, from the Margate Fieldhouse (4921 N Marine Dr) to Rainbow Beach & Park (3111 E 77th St) (or vice versa). Complete the challenge and you'll get a t-shirt (they call it a "yellow jersey", but it's a t-shirt) (and they were out of smalls).
Two friends and I completed the challenge this weekend and it was a great way to spend a Sunday morning. Path traffic wasn't too bad except in the Belmont to Navy Pier stretch, and even there I only got into two near-accidents.
I'll add to the official information a couple of hints:
- Coming from the south, take the next underpass to the left after Lawrence to get to the Margate Fieldhouse. If you get to Foster, you've gone too far.
- Coming from the north, when the trail ends, just keep going south on the sidewalk until you get to the northern corner of Rainbow Park. Follow the dirt path to the basketball court, turn right onto the path past the handball courts, take a left at the memorial to the Rainbow Division and follow the road down through the parking lot to the main building.
- The hours for the two buildings are more complicated than what are listed (for example, the Margate Fieldhouse doesn't open until 9 on weekends). The hours are changing throughout the summer, too, so it'd be best to call ahead and make sure the buildings are open when you plan to start out on your trip.
- Don't forget sunscreen -- my elbows are pink.
The staff person at the Margate Fieldhouse told us that about 14 people had completed the challenge so far. So there should be plenty of t-shirts left.