Or “I Kissed a Girl at the Iron Ore Wall”

I don’t know why it took me so long to get a bike again. I always rode a bike in middle school and high school. I had one in college for a while but I got drunk and ran into a wall while on it.

My first French kiss came when I was on my bike. I was in junior high. It was in front of my house. It was night, and I just got done riding with my best friend and neighbor “Dutch” Andy. My older sister’s friend Carina was in front of our house smoking a cigarette. She was a junior or senior in high school. Very tall, very pretty, very intimidating. She said she wanted to be my first kiss. So she was.

The best kiss that never was happened on my bike. Her name was Sloane. I was a sophomore, she was a freshman. It was night. In front of her house. She stood there waiting. She even closed her eyes, waiting. I got scared and said goodbye and rode off. The whole way home it was all I thought of. We didn’t kiss. And we never would. I don’t think I rode a bike much after that.

Now that I am again, I’m discovering beautiful people like Sloane on the concrete trails of Chicago.


Iron Ore Wall at Steelworkers Park.

Usually I go as far as, or start, at the South Shore Cultural Center. It’s where the Chicago Lakefront Trail begins/ends on the south side. Once I went a farther south to the site of the old South Works Steel Mill. It’s being converted into parkland. The old iron ore walls remain up, although crumbling in some places.

At this park, called “Steelworkers Park,” I ran into Lizzy, a half Japanese girl I dated awhile back. She was a grad student at the University of Chicago and rode her bike south with some friends. Her once long locks were cut into a pixie, which normally I’m into, but her lips are nice and she wanted to kiss me and I thought it might be cool to kiss someone at the iron ore walls so I did. Lizzy said she was going to a party on a boat near Soldier Field later and I said that’s where I was headed. I told her my band, UK Grief, might be playing on the boat – which may or may not belong to a Croatian mobster. “Oh,” she said. “Well I still may kiss you there.”

I left and headed up north to the boat. Waiting to let me through the black gate to the docked boat was bandmate and Chicago reclusive author Clive Javanski. Sasha and Aidan were already there.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone on the Lakefront Trail lately riding a bike with Doc Martens on,” Sasha said. “That’s usually reserved for Wicker Park.”

Sasha made fun of my cargo shorts. But I told her they were good to store condoms, because “you never know who you might meet on the trail.”

“I like them,” she said. “They fit you. Guys in bike shorts look douchey.”

Clive talked about a trike he had a few years ago. A junk three-wheeler. Although that didn’t stop a homeless gentleman from stealing it in front of Quenchers Saloon, only to get hit by a car on Western Avenue during his getaway.

A few days ago bought a rack for the back so I can haul six packs. Then I stopped at Half Acre and loaded a growler of Space IPA on the rack. Cruising down Lincoln Avenue, I got several requests by gals and guys to stop over at their place. Most just wanted the booze. But then I saw Lizzy on her bike. She said she wanted the beer and the babe (OK, she really said “asshole” but still). So my bike got to see the inside of Lizzy’s apartment. And if it returns there a few more times, that’s fine by me.