Tuesday, September 22, 2015


It is hard to imagine a more beautiful urban trail anywhere else in the world.   Recently I rode my bike from the northernmost part of the trail back home.  Yesterday I rode my bike from a spot along the trail parallel to where I live in Chicago and took the trail all the way to the southernmost portion of the trail - and then I biked a few more miles beyond the end of the trail before I turned around and came home.  My travels took me just shy of the Illinois/Indiana border. I used a new application that I downloaded yesterday to log the trail, MAP MY RIDE.  When the ride was over, the application reported that my trip was 40.87 miles.   It also 'calculated' that I had burned 3265 calories for this 3+ hour journey.   That sounds wildly overstated - I am going to report calories burned today - but I will decrease that number by 67% and self-report that the trip 'burned' 1077 calories.   (If that number is understated there is no harm done - It hard to imagine that it is overstated...afterall, I did ride my bike for more than three continuous hours.

Here is a description of the trail from bikechicago.com

Chicago Lakefront

lakefrontChicago’s amazing lakefront trail is a biking paradise! With over 18 miles of car-free bike paths, it is easy and safe. Enjoy sandy beaches, scenic parks and spectacular views of the city and Lake Michigan. The lakefront trail is the fun way to see the sites, your connection to all of the best attractions in Chicago, including Lincoln Park Zoo, North Avenue Beach, Buckingham Fountain, Museum Campus and more!

Here is the map that was generated by MAP MY RIDE

I saw parts of the city that I had never imagined existed before. I saw old buildings that looked like ancient ruins more commonly seen in Greece.  I saw numerous beaches and parks that I never knew existed.  The most interesting thing that I saw was the ORE WALLS.

The ORE WALLS are 30 feet tall and 2000 feet long


Chicago’s Final Frontier

In 1997, what was once the largest producer of structural steel in the world was demolished, leaving 600 acres of Chicago lakefront barren. Today, McCaffery Interests is hoping to transform the site into ‘the community of 2050.’

The future of LAKESIDE, a mixed-use community that has plans to be built over the next 50 years, is currently 600 acres of slag, a byproduct of steel-making.  This is where I 'discovered' the ORE WALLS.  I felt as if I had stumbled on ancient ruins on another planet.  It was the most amazing thing that I saw on my bike ride yesterday.

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Monday MENU

breakfast oatmeal, cheese omelet, ginger, mango                    893 calories
lunch        spinach salad, with CRAB MEAT, borscht             800 calories
dinner       spinach salad,  Campbell's Chunk Clam Chowder 492 calories
                 three apples                                                              1062 calories

total calories consumed     3248 calories                                                              
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YMCA PRECOR EFX elliptical 120 minutes, 4:3 interval                1747 calories
203 minute bike ride, 40 miles                                                               1077 calories  
TREADMILL 123 MINUTES,  9.33 MILES, AVG 4.5 MPH             1203 calorie


Monday net calories DEFECIT 779 calories 

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SPINACH SALAD topped off with 1/4 pound of LOW CALORIE CRAB MEAT

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fitbit day 19
50013 steps
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50013 STEPS...and all I had to do was spend 125 minutes on an elliptical machine, ride my bike 40.87 miles for nearly 3.5 hours and then spend another two hours on the treadmill.  I had the urge to earn the badges for 45000 & 50000 steps.  I succeeded.

I earned the SNOW BOOT BADGE at 10:39PM.   I remained on the treadmill and I earned the COWBOY BOOT BADGE 58 minutes later at 11:37PM.   I find myself jealous of Girl Scouts.  When a Girl Scout earns a badge they get to sew it on their vest.  I only get to post it on my blog.  I think I would have a pretty snappy vest if my badges came in patch form!
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from a Sept 16, 2010 Chicago Tribune....

Plan for shuttered U.S. Steel South Works site offers promise

Design would create a vibrant mini-city along southeast lakefront while remembering the gritty past.

September 16, 2010|By Blair Kami
Chicago just gave its stamp

 of approval to an enormously promising plan to transform the vast, long-shuttered U.S. Steel plant site on its far southeast lakefront into a thriving community of high-rise apartments, town homes, shops, offices, and parks.
Imagine: Sleek 

high-rises lining a vast industrial slip where ore boats delivered the raw materials for steel-making. A new park built over the foundations of a massive open hearth. A broad extension of South Shore Drive that would be an urban boulevard. Parks and alleys that would channel stormwater into Lake Michigan instead of the city's sewers.
But there is a long and treacherous road to travel before this grand design — a "noble diagram" in the tradition of planner Daniel Burnham — can become reality. And the potential potholes extend beyond the battered economy They include the up-for-grabs character of the site itself: Will the redevelopment retain the grit of
 the old steel plant, which was called South Works, or will it reproduce suburban banality, giving us
Generic City, USA?

Ever since Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel closed the plant in 1992 and scraped away its awesome array of blast 
 and refining mills, South Works has loomed as the ultimate post-industrial landscape. With nearly 580 acres, sandwiched between 79th and 91st streets, it's bigger than the Loop.

Here, as the writer John Maclean once put it, roaring melting pots turned iron ore, limestone and coke into prime steel, and turned Scots, Irish, Poles, Czechs, Ukrainians, Mexicans and others into generations of Americans. And here, men built the steel that undergirds the Loop's skyscraper behemoths, the rocket assembly structures at Cape Canaveral, and the railroads that crisscross a continent.
Today, the once-humming plot of land remains hauntingly empty, save for massive concrete walls where the raw materials for making steel were stored and a "road to nowhere" extension of 87th 
Street that is a legacy of a recent failed bid to attract a cup-making factory to the site.

But at the behest of Mayor Richard Daley, the Chicago City Council looked beyond the
economic downturn
 last week and approved up to $98 million in infrastructure improvements for the first phase of rebuilding South Works. This could be money well spent. The South Works plan, crafted for Chicago developer Dan McCaffrey by the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Mass., is full of good ideas:

Streets and roads that weave neighborhoods into the urban fabric: The essence of Chicago's urban form is its street grid, a vast tic-tac-toe strip that joins every neighborhood of the sprawling, fractious city. Instead of going suburban and calling for cul-de-sacs that would have isolated the new South Works from the existing South Chicago neighborhood to the west, the planners wisely call for extending the street grid through the site.
Better yet is their proposed rebuilding and rerouting of South Shore Drive, already under construction. The new road, due to be complete in late 2012, will be a boulevard, complete with bike lanes, and it would be lined on both sides by stores and housing. It would thus be a new and more human-scaled version of South Shore Drive, more neighborhood-friendly and less expresswaylike than its famous counterpart to the north.
Parks that fill gaps along the lakefront and reach inland: With 95 acres of lakefront parkland between Rainbow Beach & Park to the north and Calumet Park to the south, the new South Works will take a major step toward realizing Burnham's vision of a continuous chain of lakefront parks.
But what is truly inspired about the plan is that the lakefront parks reach inland as "finger parks," 35 acres of them. The most impressive of the finger parks would stretch along one of South Works' monolithic "ore walls," where iron ore, limestone and coal were piled before making their way into blast furnaces and refining mills. In this bracing public space, the planners envision an amphitheater, a South Side version of Taste of Chicago, and (why not?) a chunk of wall for climbing.
Remnants of the industrial past that celebrate the story of working Americans: Most developers would have wiped the 
 clean at South Works and completed the destruction of its industrial past. But McCaffrey and his planners deserve 
 for seeing the inherent value of the ore wall and the site's other industrial remnants.

Not only would those remnants lend the redeveloped site an irreplaceable character, but they would also tell the story of the people who labored at South Works, enduring the heat of the blast furnaces and the punches of the foremen.

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