Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rainy afternoon and a bike tune-up

The rest of the afternoon and evening yesterday was rainy. I rode around Chicago a bit and along the Lakeshore Path that hugs Lake Michigan. I had my eye out for a spot that would offer a good view to paint and shelter from the elements. No such luck.

On Sunday while I was riding south towards downtown Chicago on Clark Street a guy biking the opposite direction dinged his bell at me and waved. I waved back, thinking he was just saying hello. But next thing I know, he's riding along side me and asking questions about my trip. We exchanged cards, and on Monday I got an email offering me a free bike tune-up (he - Igor - is a bike mechanic). So yesterday evening I rode north to Igor's basement bike studio. He adjusted my derailleur and cleaned the sand out of my hubs while telling me about himself. He came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan seven months ago to go to school,
and started a bike repair business in his basement. He was on a cycling team in Uzbekistan and he now regularly takes impressively high-mileage bike trips (600 miles in four days, for example). He told me that during one trip through the Indiana countryside he was caught at sundown with no place to sleep. No campgrounds, just corn, corn, more corn. So Igor knocked on the door of a farmhouse and asked the farmer if he could pay him to set up his tent in the yard. The farmer fed him dinner, let him use the shower, gave him a bed in the house, and wouldn't take a cent from Igor. He told Igor that he just had to promise to do another cyclist a good turn. Fast-forward to my free bike tune-up...

Today: more painting in Chicago (the weather is supposed to cooperate!)

Tomorrow: bike to Indiana Dunes State Park.

Below: a very backlit photo of Igor with my bike.


  1. That story totally made my day! Yay Igor! Yay Jen! :)

  2. jen! i don't know if you remember me or not, but we worked together at the madtown rei. someone forwarded me the link to your awesome b*#g (i can't stomach the sound of that word) and i wanted to let you know that you are now the topic of today's entry on my own page.


    good luck. you are doing an amazing thing and i will devoutly follow you every pedalstroke of the way!

  3. That is so awesome! <3 I love to here these stories! Gives you hope!