biketropolis – pothole tour

It’s been a really, busy summer between giving tours and my office job so I’m a little behind on posting. Back on a very hot day in July, my friend Kristie & I signed up for the Pothole Bike Tour operated by Tom Limon of Biketropolis.

Yes, you read that correctly, it was a bike tour searching for & admiring potholes in the city. Why the heck would you want to do that you ask? Because the potholes are filled with really cool mosaics (inspired by a trip to Pompeii) created by graphic designer turned mosaic artist Jim Bachor. And it’s a great way to explore the city. Actually Jim was on this tour talking about his process and all that goes into making potholes beautiful. Here is a video that features him from CBS Sunday Morning.

If you want to see his work in person, go to the cta Thorndale redline ‘L’ station to see ‘Thrive”. That’s where the tour started and he explained the meaning behind each mosaic. The four lively and picturesque glass mosaics adorning the colonnade incorporates themes of history, recreation and education using iconic images representative of the Edgewater neighborhood. At the base of each column is a water-band symbolizing Lake Michigan. Stalks of wild rice, indigenous to the area and once harvested by Native Americans, represent the natural attributes of the surrounding area. Sprouting from the rice stalks are charming images of Edgewater’s man-made symbols, such as vintage trains, the historic Edgewater Beach Hotel and Senn High School.

For a really hot day we had a pretty big group and after leaving the station we made our way winding through the city checking out the pothole art. Here’s a link for exact locations. Better yet sign up for Tom’s tour.

Kristie & I lasted 4 hours which was about half of the tour. She realized at the lunch stop Heritage Bicycles Cafe (where I seriously had one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten) that she lost her phone at the last pothole mosaic (the flying the W flag near Wrigley Field). After lunch we backtracked to look for it and since it was a game that day it was really crazy. We looked all over near the mosaic and we even asked the vendors in the area but no luck. We rode back to her car then went to my house to relax and figure out a plan. 

While racking our brains, I thought that maybe, possibly, some Cubs fan found the phone while they were on their way to the ballpark. Wrigley should have a lost & found, no? Meanwhile, Kristie called her daughter to have her look where her phone was showing up on the Life360 app and sure enough it was at Wrigley Field. We jumped in the car & headed over there. She ran in to check and came back with her phone! What a relief and a great ending to our adventure!

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I’ve been on a couple of Tom’s tours and he plans a great route with plenty of water stops, bathroom breaks, lunch break (usually the Empanada Bike) and volunteers to keep the group safe by keeping an eye on the traffic and getting us all through the lights together. Tom also has a trailer/repair kit just in case anything happens. And he supports West Town Bikes. They empower youth through hands-on education and business development.

I highly recommend taking a Biketropolis tour.  It’s an interesting take on touring the city in a unique way. I checked my MAP MY RIDE app and we rode about 20 miles. Even though we got sidetracked and only made it for half of the tour it was still pretty great and I would definitely sign up for this tour again.

UPDATE: The mosaic artist Jim Bachor has opened a new gallery of his work in Uptown. Read all about it here. Can’t wait to check it out!

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