After our ride with Father Charles, Bill and I biked two more days across Michigan to Muskegon, where we caught a ferry across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee. From there, we took a train to Chicago, leaving our bikes in Milwaukee.
In Chicago, we stayed a night with Kathy Schubert, who is shown on the left with her faithful companion Joey (yes, Joey is the dog). (Joey also just turned 13, and as Kathy is Jewish, she showed us pictures of Joey celebrating her ‘bark mitzvah’) Kathy is highly involved in many cycling events through the city, and organized a bike ride event for us to travel Chicago and see various environmental sites in Chicago.
Fortunately, Kathy has a few extra bikes (about 7, to be precise), so I was able to get on a bike for the ride. Some 40 cyclists joined us, and we weaved about the city, visiting a random collection of ‘green sites,’ including green roofs, vacant lots that have been turned into tiny farms (within the city limits), energy efficient buildings, and the Chicago River. I did not think of the Chicago river as being an environmentally positive site, as it has a sign reading ‘water unfit to touch your skin,’ but, according to the other cyclists with us, it is incredibly clean compared to a few decades ago.
In all, Chicago is a fairly ‘green’ city, and the mayor has a promise to become the nation’s ‘greenest city.’ The city has a large push for green roofs, which reduce dirty runnoff into the lake and also reduce air conditioning bills. I found the city very easy to bike around (although many of the buses were wanting), and learned that there is a very ambitious plan to make the cycling even better. The city is installing solar panels on many city buildings, and planting thousands of trees.
One of my goals in Chicago was to reach the Latino community, and I was fortunate to appear both on Telemundo Chicago, and give a talk to a large auditorium of Latinos (I had to give the talk in Spanish). Bill and I also gave a talk for a group of younger students (in English), and a talk at Chicago’s Lincoln Park library.