Chicago lakefront: Riding a reality check

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I covered the Chicago Triathlon for the Sun-Times on Sunday. For somebody like me, it forced a reality check.

The transition areas and start and finish for the race were concentrated around Monroe Harbor. So I had a lot of running around on the lakefront back and forth between Balbo and Randolph through massive crowds.

That’s an area I fish usually a couple times a year from boat and occassionally from shore. Even in the best of times, there are only a few dozen who shore fish in that area, primarily i think because of the parking issues. (I dropped $24 in the Grant Park South lot, after giving up on finding street parking.)

By contrast, there were 9,000 competitors alone for the triathlon. Factor in families and friends, you can probably triple or quadruple that easily. Throw in the usual crowd on the downtown lakefront on a beautiful, if windy, Sunday, and simply put there were a thousands of people there for a race.

That’s a reality of lakefront use.

And there was spillover from a music event at Grant Park.

When the perch are in good is one of the few times that the lakefront will draw thousands of fishermen. And they are concentrated mainly at Montrose.

And did I mention the hundreds who, despite the triathlon, were trying to do their usual Sunday lakefront bike ride and weaving through the crowds.

Believe me, I looked hard while walking around Sunday morning, and never saw a fishermen. Not even one dabbling around for rock bass or bluegill.

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