This time of year I wish my bike was still in storage, but unfortunately my cross-country skis have barely seen the outdoors. Lately, winters in Chicago have been bleak for cross-country skiers. The last two Januarys I spent more time on my bike than on my skis.

The Wheeling Wheelmen Bicycle Club's St. Patrick's Day Ride is one of Chicagoland's earliest invitational rides. Last year my daughter Amy said that she would join me on the ride if the weather was not too cold.

The St. Patrick's Day Ride starts in Wauconda, a small town of 13,000 about 40 miles northwest of Chicago. Wauconda is adjacent to Bang's Lake and was a top vote getter in a suburban newspaper's "Best Places to Live" contest. I can't attest to whether or not some Chicago-style ballot box stuffing was involved.

Read the entirety of Mark Ollinger's account of the St. Patrick's Day Ride in the March 2013 print edition of Silent Sports magazine. To order a copy or subscribe, call 715/369-3331.