A Day by the Lake

This morning we rode north on the Lakeshore Path, past the famous Chicago skyline.


Then we headed west to the Avon neighborhood, where we visited a 4th grade class at Chicago International Charter School, Irving Park. The teacher, Deena Heller, runs a tight ship but keeps things fun.

Jeffrey explained to the kids that Human Rights First finds and trains volunteer lawyers to help refugees get their day in court. The students already know what refugees are. They also know why our route has been flatter in the Midwest than in Pennsylvania (glaciers scraped away the hills; that is something many if not most adults don’t know) and posed insightful questions about refugees, the BikeE, kangaroos, and the practical problems of riding a bicycle long distances. We spent a full hour with the students, ending with a chance for them to examine me and the BikeE up close, demonstrating how we ride the BikeE, and giving each student a signed souvenir picture postcard of the Statue of Liberty.

Here’s a photo of the school exterior — it’s a public school in a former parochial school building, hence the incongruous statue of Mary at the entrance — and a snapshot of Jeffrey in front of the students. I’m there too, silhouetted in front of a window.



It’s a cliche, but these kids are our future. They are smart, knowledgeable for fourth graders, and it seems they haven’t been corrupted by the loud mean talk that we all hear about foreigners. It lets us think that maybe there’s hope for common sense to prevail on immigration issues . . . someday.

Then we rode to the home of Jeffrey and Julie Olian. Here you see Jeffrey O watching a basketball game.


Jeffrey O was Jeffrey H’s roommate at Duke University. He treated Jeffrey H to a fine lunch of a truffle oil grilled cheese sandwich and a lemon ice.

The sandwich shop proprietor found out about the Ride and gave us a free bottle of water to help us along the way.


When they hear what we’re doing, some people are indifferent, many many are helpful, and everyone has been kind. True, yesterday an old gentleman in Hyde Park examined our windshield sign and said, “I don’t believe in human rights,” but it’s his human right to believe or disbelieve, and anyway I think it was the sort of deadpan humor one expects to encounter in the University’s environs.  He did wish us a pleasant trip to Iowa.