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I’m happy to report that I rang out 2011 on two wheels!

My friend Dottie from LGRAB and I began our bike adventure with a ride down Chicago’s Lakefront path. The weather here in Chicago has been so mild (no complaints!) that I just knew I had to get out to enjoy the sunshine we had on New Year’s Eve. How joyous to have Dottie join me; she even took video of our ride down the lakefront path and posted it on LGRAB.

And of course we just had to pause for some lakeside photos!

Dottie and her camera at the Chess Pavilion

And me in my Santa hat for the holidays

Our first destination was the Art Institute to see the wreathed lions; 2011 represented the 20th anniversary of this Chicago tradition. Of course, we had to battle throngs of pedestrians and Segway tourists to get our photo op.

Segway riders tour the Art Institute's Wreathed Lions - view of the south lion

As noted on the Art Institute’s website, the lions have quite a history in Chicago.

What are the names of the lions?
The two bronze lions that flank the Michigan Avenue entrance were made for the Art Institute’s opening at its current location in 1893. They were a gift from Mrs. Henry Field. They have unofficial “names,” which were given by their sculptor Edward Kemeys that are more like designations. You’ll notice that the lions are not identical, and thus are named for their poses: The south lion “stands in an attitude of defiance,” while the north lion is “on the prowl.”

We then began our journey back north to the Streeterville neighborhood. Before any more photos, though, we had to warm up our fingers and toes… so we ducked into Fox & Obel’s for coffee and hot cocoa! Mmm…

Warming Up!

Once warmed from the inside out, I had one more stop on my list — to see the 26-foot Marilyn Monroe sculpture set for all to see over on Michigan Avenue. Chicagoans have definitely had mixed responses (some saying it’s hideous) to this larger than life statue. Needless to say, I just had to photograph it for posterity while it remains on display.

Marilyn towers over Michigan Avenue across from the Wrigley Building

We concluded our bike ride at the locally owned Unabridged Bookstore in the Lakeview neighborhood.

Our final stop - the local bookstore

I don’t get out for leisurely rides like this often… and it’s even rarer during the winter months. But, Chicago’s been known to have it’s share of winter warm-ups like the 50-degree weather I posted about last February.
The best part of the day – sharing the ride adventure with a friend.

Sharing the ride with a friend

How are you getting out to enjoy this winter’s riding conditions?