How to Drive Chicago: Jumping the Line at a Stoplight

45.  Drive.  Jumping the line at a stoplight. If you live in the city you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout. I’m not going to go into why one would pull this maneuver, but it comes in handy from time to time (or at every traffic light you come to if you’re S.R.)

Here’s the best technique: 

1. Hang back a few yards out of peripheral vision from the first car in line as you pull adjacent to it on it’s right so as to not raise his “not going to let you in front of me” antenna. 

2. Monitor the electronic countdown for the cross traffic crosswalk. When it hits 0 you know cross traffic is about to get their yellow.

3. Begin advancing during the cross traffic yellow. Your light is about to go green. You have already left yourself some extra runway. 

It’s near impossible for the lead car on your left to accelerate from a dead stop faster than you with your rolling start to keep you from merging in front of him. You’ll get so far out in front so quickly that it will eliminate their attempt to race you and keep you out. 

First car at the light….. let the jumper go. It doesn’t affect you. 

How to Drive Chicago: Speeding Tickets 

44. Drive. If you’ve got a lead foot like me it’s good to know who has jurisdiction to pull you over on the roads surrounding your city. Chicago cops cannot stop you on the expressway. That’s Illinois State Trooper territory. The exception is Chicago Transit Police. Their cars look just like Chicago Police cars, but have “Transit Police” labeled on the side. They monitor the “El” stops down the expressways. If you’re zipping along and you see one rolling ahead of you, let up a bit. They can pull you over and ticket you on the expressway. 

Lake Shore Drive – Chicago Police (they sit and radar often). Keep it under 60 mph and your usually fine. 

Chicago Skyway – Chicago police. 

If you have the Waze app, keep it open and most times it will alert you when “police are reported ahead.”  It’s a modern day fuzz buster. 

How to Chicago: Shows. Stand Your Ground

42. Stand your ground at intimate, crowded venues. Those shows where it’s so stuffed everyone’s shoulders are touching. People are moving all around you encroaching on your personal space. Stepping on your feet. Claustrophobia inspiring. The guy in front of you keeps swaying back putting his hairy melon in your face.

Standing your ground is quite effective. Simply increase your base of support by spreading your feet a bit. Put your shoe directly up against the hippie’s shoe whose bothering you the most. And don’t move it! I mean, not even a little. That subtle, tactile hint will repel your foe. In a moment or three they’ll move their hoof away from yours giving you more space.  I’ve never had a foot stepped on. You can do it in any direction. Of course, if you yourself like to sway and get lost in the tune have at it. I’m just getting old and crotchety.

How to Chicago: Good Radio

41. Drive and Thrive. I still find terrestrial radio to be what I desire most when zipping around town. You can dial in several of your city’s local, college, radio stations while on the road. They are the best. The DJs are green as hell. Lots of “um”s and dead air, but I’ll take that over the slick voices of commercial radio any day. The tunes are eclectic and stimulating and it’s commercial free. If you get into it for a considerable time send ’em a donation. You will find them all left of the dial.

88.7 WLUW

88.3 WZRD

90.9 WDCB for the jazzbos

How to Chicago: Running. 

40.  It’s marathon week in Chi-town (or the week of chafe if you prefer). If you’ve given into the peer pressure, well then, enjoy your Gu. I personally think marathons are bad for you, but I am but a lowly physical therapist. 

Thrive. For non marathon exercise, it’s fun to run through the city. It’s a lovely visual tour of an architecturally epic city. There’s excellent people watching. It’s easy to mark your distance. Eight blocks to a mile. One suggestion for big city jogging. Don’t do it down Michigan Avenue. Don’t do it down State Street. They are teeming with humans that you must constantly dodge. They get annoyed. You get annoyed. One must brake every block for a stoplight. Instead select some nice, long, lesser touristy side streets where you don’t need to interupt your stride.

Side note: Listening to people talk about marathon training ranks right up there with listening to people tell you about the tattoos that they are going to get one day. Or listening to people talk about their  fantasy football team. Or listening to people talk about their golf game. (This post has gotten longer than I wanted.)

Go ahead and marathon if you feel like you need to prove something to someone. I wish you luck and I’ll see you in the clinic on Monday. I’m a physical therapist. 

2nd side note: Half marathons are perfectly acceptable because my wife do them. 

How to Drive Chicago: Speed in the Express Lanes. 

39. Drive. Speed when you’re driving in the express lanes. They are the best thing about the Kennedy and the Dan Ryan. 

Especially the Kennedy (I 90). If traffic is light and you have the option of the locals or the express, you best speed if you choose the latter.  What’s the point if you’re not going to speed. There’s only 1 spot in that 8 mile stretch where a county mounty can sit and ticket you, but they can be seen from a literal mile away. 

Speed if you opt for the express lanes. Otherwise you’re just in the way.  You wouldn’t stand in the center of an escalator blocking people that want to walk past you on the left. Who would do that.?

Same thing on the highway. If you’re just going to la de da it down the road then stay in the locals and out of my way. I’ve got shit to do. 

How to Chicago: Sporting Events

38. Thrive: We are nearing that time of year. The sports equinox occurs when the MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA are all underway. Watching pro sports in person is invariably better with more details. Nowadays all teams have an app where you can listen to the radio feed real time on your mobile. Grab a $10 beer then pop in an ear bud and listen to the radio guys explain every detail of the game as you watch it live. You can still socialize with your home boys, but now when something odd happens during the game, say all the umpires meet at the pitchers mound for a 10 minute discussion, you’ll know it was because they found cork in Sammy Sosa’s bat. Everyone around your seat will turn to you for the info. You’ll feel powerful.  It almost makes paying $50 to park worth it. 

P. S.  My wife goes to more pro sporting events than me by a hundredfold. 

I just needed to get that off my chest.