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Shore Patrol

While scouring the long stretch from Jackson Park up to Hollywood Beach, we discovered some of the lakefront’s native dwellers. Meet the characters, photographed last year, who make our shore more than just a pretty place

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His and Hers

Bike enthusiasts Lida, 61, and Vasil Truchly, 80, strike out two or three times a week for their regular rides. Vasil, who wears goggles to protect his dry eyes, wants Lida to upgrade her 30-year-old bike, but she won’t cave. The couple, married for 37 years, live directly across the street from the lake and enjoy a fantastic view of Montrose Harbor.
Favorite spot: Any place they can admire the city at night. “I travel a lot, and I have never seen anything so lovely,” Lida says.

 
Ripped Curl

A regular at the Bally Total Fitness beachside gym at North Avenue, where he has earned the nickname “Mr. Incredible,” Todd Rohr, 42, works out for more than three hours a day, seven days a week. He does squats, dead lifts, bench presses, and leg extensions in the free-weight area. Then he runs sprints and football drills in the sand. “I never take the easy route,” Rohr says.
On the great outdoors: “I’d rather play in the dirt than at some nice, clean, hoity-toity gym with air conditioning.”

 
 
Net Gains

Every weekend from April until November, weather permitting, one particular band of bikini-clad women descend on the two most prominent volleyball courts on North Avenue Beach-A1 and A2-to engage in serious, sand-eating competition. They dive, spike, and sweat, while shooing away shutterbugs and talking a lot of trash. “I live for this,” says Susan Schmidt-Donaldson, 39, an advertising creative director, who says she spends more time working on the court than in her office (pictured, above top, behind Tina Yon Ng, 48). “In the summer, I never leave the beach.”
On camaraderie: “We play hard and laugh hard,” says Ayellet Benezra, 29 (pictured above bottom, behind Megan Farrell, 33). “I look at them as family, but it gets very competitive. We’ll play until there’s blood.”

 
Paper Pilot

“I do this for the entertainment of children of all ages-especially myself,” says 73-year-old Mike Illich, who bikes to the lakefront at least five times a week from Oak Park to fly his kites. He has more than 40 in his current collection and rarely pays more than a dollar per kite. Some days, he brings extras to sell to an endless stream of buyers. “There’s a child within us all,” he says.
Secrets to flying: Patience, a little wind, good positioning, and toilet paper tails-which he happily proffers to fellow kitefliers in distress.
Greatest reward: “When I hand the spool of string to someone else. No matter what their age, they smile. People love flying kites.”

Photography by Lisa Predko

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