Ride Around Lake Michigan Day 12 – final (139 miles)


Shane fixed me breakfast and had me on my way around 7:00. Today was the best weather I had the entire trip. As a result, I was on Chicago’s northside by 12:30. Since I had no place certain to stay I decided to ride on and spend my last night in Indiana. Well, the closer I got the more positive I became that I could finish today with a little extra effort.

I ended up going 139 miles and entering Michigan City a little after 7:00. I hadn’t intended to ride that far, but the idea of getting home a day earlier prompted me on. I had to have Jim come and meet me in Michigan City because I ran out of daylight. It’s odd that I spent part of my ride in the central time zone and part in the eastern but I was never really sure when I crossed from one to the other. It hit me when I got in the car and the clock said 9:15 where I was expecting 8:15.

The extra miles forced me to ride head down most of the day. I didn’t see as many cool things along the way. I guess it was the beginning of coming back to the real world.

So a final check on my stats:

Total Ride: 1037 miles
Calories Burned: 50,000
Travel Time: 98 hours
Crashes: 1 (a tip over)
Flats: 0 (yes!)

I was most physically tired after the sixth day. It wouldn’t have taken much to get me to abandon the trip at that point. After that, it got easier and I awoke each day ready to hit it. My mental valley came earlier, about day three. I never got really low, but I felt like I was having difficulty with simple decisions.

I have some leftover issues that I don’t imagine are permanent. My forearms are definitely burnt. Susie will love it when I start to peel. The middle toes on my left foot are a little bit numb, but nothing like RAIN Storm last year. I have a sore bottom, but the saddle sores never fully materialized. I can sit comfortably on anything but a bike seat. And then there’s my right hand. I’ve lost strength in the index and middle fingers. It didn’t get worse once I noticed it so I’m sticking to the idea that it isn’t permanent.

I would have been much better off to have purchased a frame that had the proper braze-ons for attaching all of my gear. My biggest mechanical problems came from having kludged together ways to attach fenders and racks. I’ll write more about these lessons learned later.

The big question I get is, “Would you do it again?”

That’s something of a trick question. I don’t think I would go around Lake Michigan again simply because I’ve done that now. I would certainly consider another trip of equal distance. I would even consider guiding a small group in a ride around Lake Michigan.

I certainly see why the cross country advice I have been gathering over the years falls into two distinct categories: those who did it once and those who did it more than once. I learned things about preparation and implementation that only the experience could teach me. I’m sure if I did it again, I would confirm some of those lessons and find others to be contrary. My route


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