Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Of Snow and Bikes

It's that time in Chicagoland where its well below zero, snowing continuously and you are wrapped up in about four layers of clothing that covers everything but your eyes. You are grunting with the effort of shovelling bucketfuls of snow from your driveway. It occurs to you that maybe, just maybe, this Global Warming phenomenon might be good news. Bring on the climate change you mutter. More thoughts flit in and out of your head: Why would anyone want to live in a place like this? Wait, why am I here? How can I be sweaty and cold at the same time? Why is this a man's lot?

An hour later you let out a sigh of relief. You look back to admire your handiwork. There is another inch of snow on your driveway. You shrug, give up and go inside to brew some chai. At least your kids will have fun.

While at times like this its ridiculous to even think about the outdoors (unless you want to whoop it up on a ski mobile), there are plenty of entertainment options that the area has built up over the years that helps you tide over inclement weather.

Last weekend we were at Cycle World's International Motorcycle Show at Rosemont. There weren't too many kids there, but I thought that was a shame because no one was more excited than my sons and their friends.

First, dozens of motorcycles from dozens of manufacturers, ATVs and scooters dotted the show floor. Apart from a select few machines, the kids could clamber on any of these and pretty much do anything they wanted with the dashboard as long as it wasn't overtly destructive.

A couple of show babes even stopped by and asked the kids if they could take a Polaroid with them. I could see a cluster of Dads nearby wonder why this never happened to them before.

Interestingly enough the booths that scored the most with the kids were the ones run by Harley Davidson and Ducati. Those Harley guys really know how to make big, shiny bikes with really cool seats! And Ducati's floor looked exclusive and showed off their bikes as specialist race machines.

Just for the record, I am neither a fan of snow or motorcycles. But Vespa scooters! Now those I love!

And BTW, the Art Institute of Chicago has free general admission all through February. The boys get to enter and exit through the weapons room, which will tide you over when you have to ask them to be patient walking through the Delaneys and Klimts. As always, don't forget to ask them what they see in each painting - their answers will likely surprise and entertain you.

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