My 190 Mile Bike Ride to Chipotle


I woke up at 6am getting ready to depart for Chicago at 8am in the morning. My starting location, a south suburb of Milwaukee Wisconsin. Setting my global positioning system (GPS) to the north beach of Chicago Illinois. I was expected to get there around 5pm and just relax on the beach. I bought a random bike from Walmart for $180 and gave away my rusty old bike.

The old bike was a mountain bike that has seen better days. The front break would get stuck from the rust and the gears didn’t work. The only gear it had: slow with a lot of friction. I decided to get another bike. A week later I set off biking to Chicago. The ride was nothing exciting just a straight path changing from gravel, to sand, to road. The sun was out the entire time.

I had downloaded many podcasts to listen to along the way. For about 70% of the ride I wasn’t listening to anything just the sounds of nature and singing out loud, or talking to the trees and bugs I would pass-by. Hello tree how are you, move out of the way bug, It was peaceful. The grasshoppers liked to play a game of see if we can jump in front of the tire. Some were successful..

*Some grasshoppers were hurt in the making of this post, I apologize.

Throughout the ride I had to keep shifting position because my shoulders would hurt from leaning forward, and my butt hurt from the tiny seat. It was a road bike with the curved handles for different hand positions. Although you can adjust the handlebar for better posture I didn’t. I didn’t put much effort into preparing for a comfortable ride I just wanted to bike to Chicago. A lesson learned: preparation is important.

I arrived to Chicago about an hour and a half after anticipated. It was getting dark and the beach was not of interest anymore. Hunger was striking, I took a picture holding my bike over my head with the Chicago skyscrapers behind me. Mimicking my friends Instagram profile picture. Shout out to Tia (@IowaGirlAdventures).

I road over to Navy Pier in search of food with a phone about to die. Having traveled to Chicago many times before there was a Bubba Gump’s at the Pier. Needing to charge my phone and not wanting to spend a lot of money added a little anxiety.

When my friend and I were talking about hostels before the trip he mentioned, “I usually don’t book a hostel I just show up and there’s room.” I took his advice. Up to this point I didn’t book a place to stay. I decided to delay the hunger and figure out where to spend the night first. I weighed options between riding back or finding a bed. Riding more into the city to find a hostel. It was dark at this point and the hostel was fully booked.

My phone was at 5% and I needed an outlet to charge. A quick search on Google Maps and I found a Chipotle about a couple blocks over.

Zig zagging through the city street rush hour traffic. I locked up my bike, and walked through the doors of Chipotle with feelings of relief, exhaustion, and hunger.

I bought a burrito, and some chips and quac. After working at Qdoba it pains me to pay for burritos. It was dark, but my phone was charging. Time to find a place to rest.

While eating I searched AirBnB for a place to stay. Scrolling through options of price and location. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but wanted to feel safe. Also, I didn’t want to ride in the opposite direction of home because that would create more distance between me and the place I needed to go.

A result appeared that was about an hour and a half in the direction I came from. Scarfed down the last couple bites of my burrito. Packed up my stuff and started riding to the AirBnB. In front of what I thought was the apartment I gave the host a call. There was a difference of three blocks of my location relative to the apartment. I arrived to a run down apartment above a shop with a man welcoming me in. Bike on the shoulder we walked up the narrow steep stairwell to his apartment. The marijuana smoke rolled through the hallways on my way to the room. there was a single bed and lamp in the room. Sleep came quickly once my phone was charging and my head hit the pillow.

Waking up five hours later and back on the road home.

I arrived home quicker because the route was familiar. Bystanders cheered as they saw Lance Armstrong peddling past.

All-in-all, it took me 16 hours and 190 miles total to ride to Chipotle and back.

Would I do it again, probably.

Keep Moving Forward

Robbie Knecht

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