Liam – May 8, 2017
In an effort to remain exciting and interesting newlyweds, my wife, Kim, and I decided to take up biking. Bicycles, not motorcycles. She tells me I can’t get a motorcycle until our kids are at least 18 and out of the house. We don’t have kids yet so it’ll be a while before you’ll see me cruising Chicagoland streets on a Harley in a leather jacket. In the meantime, you can find me in padded biking shorts dripping with sweat. Kim and I live and work in the city and have always biked as a way to commute during nicer weather. But we became interested in exploring the activity more as a hobby.
While researching road bikes online, I learned that May is National Bike Month, which seemed perfectly appropriate, and I considered it a sign that we had chosen the right hobby at the right time. I also discovered that cycling runs through my Scandinavian blood the way good chain oil runs through the gears of a well-tuned road bike. Did you know that Copenhagen is considered the first official Bike City in the world and that it was voted the best city for cyclists last year? In fact, the first bike path was established on Esplanaden in 1892, only a year after The Danish Home of Chicago was founded. Well, I had no idea. And that sent me back to my charge of learning more about my ancestry.
I began thinking about “Fafa Izzy” (my great-great grandmother) and how she may have felt about cycling. Back when she was working with Mrs. Thorsen and the others to open The Danish Home, they were surrounded by far more untouched prairie-land than we are today. That scenery would have been ideal for pedaling through. Fafa Izzy wouldn’t have had the sort of road bikes Kim and I have now, but she wouldn’t have needed it. Roads were quite different a century and a quarter ago.
With the Home’s 125th anniversary celebration having been kicked off on April 22, Kim and I may just have to attend the events being held at the Home via bike—the Danish way. My only hope is that we’ll be able to wash up and change into suitable clothes when we arrive. I don’t think it will be any fun for anyone at the Tivoli Gardens & Casino Night on June 24 if Kim and I are celebrating in sweaty, smelly biking gear.