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Chicago Men Break Record For Riding Entire ‘L’ System

'L' Ride

Ben Downey and his friend, Rob Bielaski, just set a new record riding every Chicago Transit Authority train line as they snapped the pictures. (Credit: Ben Downey)

Mike Krauser Mike Krauser
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Two Chicago guys broke a record Wednesday, sitting on CTA trains for more than nine hours as they snapped a picture of each and every stop.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, Ben Downey and his friend, Rob Bielaski, just set a new record riding every Chicago Transit Authority train line as they snapped the pictures.

“Nine hours, eight minutes, which beats the previous record…. It was 144 stations,” Downey said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports


Downey said he was struck by the disparity between stations in different parts of the city.

“We would see these really densely-populated areas where you know people were just paying through the nose to get any square acreage, and then we’d be in these more impoverished areas where there was just fields of grass and nothing growing there; no one developing the land,” he said.

The people, he says, were great.

“It was so much fun to just meet everyone who lived there, and see the flavor of every different neighborhood and every different outline,” Downey said.

Ben’s wife, Denise, alerted WBBM Newsradio to what she called their “silly achievement.”

“There was no bigger goal in mind… they’re not raising money for anything,” Denise Downey said. “They just did it for fun and to get to know Chicago.”

Adham Fisher, a native of Leicester, England, set a record for riding the ‘L’ last March. He raced around the stations in 9 hours, 36 minutes and 33 seconds, and was written up in Time Out Chicago. He was awarded with an honorary ‘L’ sign with his name on it by CTA President Forrest Claypool.

Earlier this year, John Greenfield of the New City and Grid Chicago – who has gained notoriety of walking the entire length of various city streets and documenting the experience – was joined by recent college grad Danny Resner to break that record, coming in at 9 hours, 30 minutes and 59 seconds.

Downey and Bielaski broke both records. Downey said a Chicagoan should have the record.

“It’s funny – there’s a British guy who does this stuff?” Downey said. “Does Chicago have no pride, like, isn’t the CTA cool enough for Chicagoans?”