Lake Advisory

The denizens of the lakefront path and the clashes between their tribes

The undeniably gorgeous 18-mile bike path along Lake Michigan abounds in people arguing with, and crashing into, other people. I once took out a wandering dude near Fullerton with my bike and got sworn at in a scary language I assumed to be Dutch. Bikers hate joggers, who detest Rollerbladers, who ridicule walkers—and no one likes the lollygaggers. But all these subcultures must share the same narrow slab of concrete while moving at varying speeds and levels of awareness. Here, a sampling of the dangerous characters of the lakefront, and the damage they have wrought. (Note: Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental. Even though you know it’s you.)

MIXED MESSAGE
Edgar Brashear of Rogers Park dislocated his shoulder when he was thrown from his Trek Valencia 8-speed after approaching a pair of joggers at 17 mph and calling out, “On your left!” when he was actually on the right.

THE PRICE OF SUCCESS
After a victory at the chess pavilion near North Avenue, Russell Vaught of Bronzeville triggered a four-bike pileup that led to more than $700 in damages when his elaborate celebratory dance veered into oncoming traffic.

CURVEBALL
While jogging past the softball diamonds at Recreation Drive, Randy Rathbun of Logan Square saw his ex-girlfriend playing third base and reversed directions. He immediately collided with a skateboarder in a Flight of the Conchords T-shirt, splitting the seat of his own shorts.

JUST DESERTS
After walking side-by-side-by-side and showing each other baby pictures on their iPhones, Stephanie Cortner, Megan Wasserman, and Nicole Manley, all of Lincoln Park, were clotheslined by passing Rollerbladers and bikers. On purpose. Several times. And then run over.

BEWARE OF DOG
Cynthia Kish of Lake View, out power-walking with Buster, her six-year-old Alaskan malamute, took out an entire group training for the marathon with one trip-wire dog leash.

EVERY ROSE
While laughing at a cop on a Segway near Bryn Mawr Avenue, Edgewater resident Kelly Deavers careened off the path and crashed her bike into a small shrub. She spent the next 30 minutes in a porta-potty extracting thorns from her butt.

WHAT NOT TO WEAR
Andy Brookes of Pilsen stopped his low-ride adult tricycle near the 31st Street skate park, forcing traffic to detour around him for a good 30, 45 seconds while he pulled out a colossal wedgie from his biker shorts. He did it again at 47th Street.

INSTANT KARMA
While making a big thing out of flipping off Soldier Field, Packers fan Eli Jozwiak of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, jogged into a light post near Museum Campus Drive.

THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE
Helen Greenberg of Hyde Park, who was Rollerblading and listening to Nickelback on her headphones, didn’t notice Ryan McElhinny of Bucktown—also Rollerblading and wearing headphones—until they collided head-on. The pair exchanged numbers and went on a few dates, but never really made a connection.

INSULT TO INJURY
Justin Gonzalez of Uptown, while trying to whistle at a girl in a bikini at the Ohio Street Beach, bit the hell out of his tongue. As he weaved through traffic toward a water fountain, his best friend depantsed him and ran off.

PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE
After darting onto the path by North Avenue Beach to chase a volleyball, Kurt Pinkowski of La Grange toppled a stroller containing a four-month-old. He then suggested to the child’s mother that she “Quit @#$%ing texting and watch where you’re going.”

OFF COURSE
Al and Priscilla Mansell and their kids, Courtney and Jason, all of Mundelein, pedaled one of those massive Flintstone buggies into the lake south of the Oak Street curve. All four survived, though no one aided in their rescue.

 

Illustration: Ian Dingman

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