Chicago’s November outlook is pretty good. (Fingers crossed.) Highs are mostly in the 50s with a decent amount of sun — definitely outdoor worthy. Sure, you need a coat, but not THE coat, not the puffy space suit you’ll wear daily while trekking the urban tundra. So let your arctic parka hibernate a little longer and take advantage of a temperate fall. Here are a few options for outdoors fitness in Logan Square.
The 606 Trail
Above Bloomingdale Avenue
The summer crowds may have dropped along with the thermostat, but the 2.7-mile, elevated Bloomingdale Trail remains a landscaped oasis over the Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Bucktown and Wicker Park neighborhoods. Well-lit and car-free, it’s a great option for running, walking, biking or pogo-sticking, if you’re so inclined. Access points stretch from Ashland Avenue (1600 west) on the east to Ridgeway Avenue (3750 west) on the west. Hours are from 6 am to 11 pm daily.
Click here to see our past stories on The 606.
2200 N. Kedzie Ave.
I discovered this park soon after moving into my nearby apartment. I may never leave. Palmer Square is a perfectly sized, child and fitness-friendly green space. It consists of a 7-acre park with a Velveteen Rabbit themed playground, surrounded by a half-mile trail. As you do your loops, historic homes peek out from between the trees. There’s even a water fountain on the path right where you need it. There are times when treadmills are indispensible. But unless the sky is falling, so is Palmer Square. Like all Chicago Parks, it’s open from 6 am to 11 pm daily.
Three Run Two
Some runners set goals in miles. Three Run Two runs for a purpose — to drive self-improvement of its members and the community. Their mission doesn’t stop for any weather report either — they run four times a week, rain or shine, all year long.
I recently spoke with Three Run Two Co-founder Nico Bernal about running in the colder seasons. He had motivating words and pretty good advice.
“We haven’t had to alter or change plans on too many days,” Bernal says. (Pretty astounding, I say, given the typical Chicago winter.) The secret, he says, is a good base layer. “Invest in a top and bottom. If money is an issue, choose polyester. If not, merino. And don’t forget the extremities.”
Another unavoidable aspect of fall/winter running is the 4:30 pm sunset. Unless you’re an early bird, you’ll be running at night. He had tips for this too. “Use reflective patches for visibility and run defensively.” Wise words, Bernal. Wise indeed.
Prefer two wheels to two feet? Bike Winter offers tips, events and motivation to keep your wheels turning, not freezing. You can even find other bikers in the area and meet up for a Chicago Snow Ride when the snowfall hits two inches. Which is basically always.
Viking Ski Shop
3422 W. Fullerton Ave.
There’s a group of people who welcome the fall season for the white flakes of glory that follow. I’m talking about powder junkies, and there’s a nationally known, individually owned shop for them right on Fullerton Avenue. If you don’t already know, it’s the Viking Ski Shop and they’ve been outfitting skiers and snowboarders for the last 49 years. They even host ski and rider improvement camps on the slopes. The next two are in Winter Park, Colo. Dec. 6-11 and Chestnut Mountain, Ill. Jan. 20-22. Check out their site or stop by for details.
In our next installment of Fit in the Square, we’ll look into the wide variety of indoor fitness options in our neighborhood.