Saturday, February 04, 2017

A Ride to IML

Last year around the end of May I invited Hellion to join me for IML weekend. It seemed like it could be a lot of fun to visit Chicago with someone new to Chicago, and International Mr. Leather always makes for a least an interesting weekend. What with all the whips and chains and things that go bump up against you. It's usually a terribly fun time.

Since it was Hellion's first trip to the city I wanted to try to give him some interesting experience. He mostly wanted to go eat at Five Guys: Chicago Edition. His love for burgers amused me so I agreed to extra greasy food on an early morning. As we ate a billion calories at 10 a.m. I smiled amused.

"Would you like to take a bike down to IML?"

"We can do that?"

"Yes, there is a Divvy rental not far from here. We can get two bikes and ride down the lake front, take pictures."

"That sounds awesome!"

For this ride I was as inappropriately dressed as it is humanly possible to be. I had on a corset over a punk pop dress, with a leather jacket and crazy windswept hair. We got our bright blue bikes, climbed aboard and started to race off down the lake.

For the better part of the trip, the bike ride went well. The lake was beautiful blue against the only lightly cool late spring weather. The sky a little cloudy, the breeze light not fierce. We stopped and collected many pictures along the way.

We were breezing along pretty quickly and I figured at the rate we were peddling we should be able to get to the congress theater in about 35 minutes, which is not bad for a Lakeside run. It wasn't until just as we pulled up to the top of Michigan Ave. that I noted that might bike was not functioning as I would have expected it to. There was just a touch of a noticable wobble in the pedal that made me wonder what it could be.

And then suddenly as I went for a spin, there was no peddle.

I pulled the breaks and stopped and tried to call out to Hellion, who was speeding along ahead, and then I realized I had his phone and I'd not be able to get him until he figured out I was no longer on his tail. I got up, stood next to the bike and wondered what in the actual fuck I was going to do now.

First I tried kicking the damn peddle back in and peddling, but it fell right back off. Then I just sort of stood there angry and starred at it, just as I saw Hellion coming back towards me on the bike path.

"What happened?"

"Damn thing came right off."

"Shit, can you get it back in?"

"Tried that."

"What do we do?"

"I can try a one way peddle and see if that works." That did not work. I dismounted the bike and stood there frustrated with the way the day was unfolding. My best laid plans suddenly in ruins around me. And then suddenly I see two Chicago bike cops coming down the path towards us.

"And what seems to be the problem, Ma'am?"

"Well, officer, the peddle has come off the bike?"

"What did you do to the bike?"

"I rode it."

"Then how did you break the peddle?"

"I didn't. It just fell off."

"Huh, that's weird." I'm standing here thinking this conversation is a bit surreal and these cops are a bit unhelpful, when suddenly an entire squad of what must have been the most bored lake front cops comes pulling up next to us. I have the two cops on bikes, and at least six more cops jumping out of the lakeside patrol cars. Really, I think? Doesn't this seem like a bit of overkill?

"Did you try putting the peddle back in," asks one of the newly arrived cops.

"I mean, yes. Like I said, it's broken."

"Well, how did you do that?"

This conversation is starting to take on overtones of Groundhog's Day with a dash of The Three Stooges.

"Look, officers, I think I'm probably going to have to walk this off the path. Do you know where the nearest Divvy station is?"

"Should be something on Michigan. But you know, you are going to have to pay for damaging public property."

For a hot minute I actually wondered if I was going to get a ticket because the peddle had come off of a Divvy bike on me.

"Well, be safe anyway." The officers turned away from us and started to chat casually while returning to their cars and bikes. I stood and watched with Hellion, heart racing a little, but not from the bike ride. I don't know why I was so upset, but for some reason, I had become more frightened the longer the conversation went on. Finally, the cops and dispersed and I stood there, pedal in my hand, wondering what I should do now.

"I guess we walk." I said.

And we did. We took a cab to IML. The event made up for the annoyance getting there.

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