Jenner & Block managing partner Terry Truax takes a rest during his daily commute near the shore of Lake Michigan. Dec. 13, 2016.
Jenner & Block managing partner Terry Truax takes a rest during his daily commute near the shore of Lake Michigan. Dec. 13, 2016. (Courtesy of Terry Truax)

It was seven degrees at 9 p.m. on a recent Thursday evening in Chicago, with a few inches of snow still covering the ground from an earlier storm. Terry Truax swapped his suit and tie for several layers of warmer clothing. He slipped on his all-important windproof booties and a face covering, and started his evening commute.

As he does nearly every day when he’s not traveling, Jenner & Block’s managing partner mounted his bike, which he had loaded with a garment bag containing his suit and dress shoes, a briefcase and a laptop. From Jenner’s office on North Clark Street, he pedaled roughly nine miles in the dark to his home on the north side of Chicago.

“In the winter the rides in the morning are magnificent. It can be breathtaking,” said the 55-year-old Florida native. “The harder rides are 8:30 or 9:00 at night and heading into a north wind. If I’m heading home in a storm it’s a challenge.”

Truax said there are other partners and associates who regularly bike into the office, but most give up once the temperature really starts to drop. “I think I’m the only one in the Below 20 Club at Jenner,” he said.

Truax’s commute along the shore of Lake Michigan typically takes about 40 minutes, but it can go faster or slower depending on the wind. That’s about the same time it would take him to fight the rush-hour traffic into the city or ride public transportation, he said.

His bike is nothing fancy: a basic Specialized brand road vehicle without snow tires. The city keeps the bike paths pretty clear, he said.

This might not sound like everyone’s idea of a good time, but for Truax it’s ideal. “It’s a head clearing exercise at the beginning and end of the day,” he said, adding that he doesn’t distract himself with music or podcasts. “It’s a very, very important thinking time. When I get off schedule and I’m not riding as much, I find I’m not as productive. I’m not as focused for the rest of the day.”

“Biking has absolutely been a plus, health wise,” he said, adding that it’s good for his mental health as much as anything. But he still has to watch what he eats. “Over six years of riding, it is such a routine now that the extras I used to be able to indulge in—that extra dessert, for example—now catch up a lot quicker. I’ll need to come up with a plan to shake it up.”

Truax, who became managing partner in 2014, started commuting by bike when he was an associate but then dropped the habit. “In 2009 we moved into a new building and an associate encouraged me to start again,” Truax recalled, adding that the building has a bike storage room and a gym where he can shower. He resumed bike commuting and has stuck with it since.

He doesn’t consider himself a bike fanatic. His only bicycle is the commuter, and on weekends he puts it away, opting not to join the spandex-sheathed packs prowling the roads. “I log my 18 miles a day and that’s it,” Truax said.

He’s had a few falls, including a skid along a patch of ice near the Drake Hotel that send him flying—and close to tumbling into Lake Michigan. Another time, when he was riding near Wrigley Field, he smashed into the opening door of a cab. Truax was thrown, he dinged his head and the bike was wrecked, but he wasn’t hurt too badly, he said. Mostly, he stays off the roads and sticks to the bike paths around the lake and river.

As part of his routine, Truax takes a few moments each morning on his ride to stop and snap a photograph. “I have about 1,000-plus of them from many days of riding,” he said. “I’m always planning to make a collage of sorts. It’s one of those things I’ll get to someday.”

Contact Susan Beck at sbeck@alm.com. On Twitter: @susanmbeck.

It was seven degrees at 9 p.m. on a recent Thursday evening in Chicago, with a few inches of snow still covering the ground from an earlier storm. Terry Truax swapped his suit and tie for several layers of warmer clothing. He slipped on his all-important windproof booties and a face covering, and started his evening commute.

As he does nearly every day when he’s not traveling, Jenner & Block ‘s managing partner mounted his bike, which he had loaded with a garment bag containing his suit and dress shoes, a briefcase and a laptop. From Jenner’s office on North Clark Street, he pedaled roughly nine miles in the dark to his home on the north side of Chicago.

“In the winter the rides in the morning are magnificent. It can be breathtaking,” said the 55-year-old Florida native. “The harder rides are 8:30 or 9:00 at night and heading into a north wind. If I’m heading home in a storm it’s a challenge.”

Truax said there are other partners and associates who regularly bike into the office, but most give up once the temperature really starts to drop. “I think I’m the only one in the Below 20 Club at Jenner,” he said.

Truax’s commute along the shore of Lake Michigan typically takes about 40 minutes, but it can go faster or slower depending on the wind. That’s about the same time it would take him to fight the rush-hour traffic into the city or ride public transportation, he said.

His bike is nothing fancy: a basic Specialized brand road vehicle without snow tires. The city keeps the bike paths pretty clear, he said.

This might not sound like everyone’s idea of a good time, but for Truax it’s ideal. “It’s a head clearing exercise at the beginning and end of the day,” he said, adding that he doesn’t distract himself with music or podcasts. “It’s a very, very important thinking time. When I get off schedule and I’m not riding as much, I find I’m not as productive. I’m not as focused for the rest of the day.”

“Biking has absolutely been a plus, health wise,” he said, adding that it’s good for his mental health as much as anything. But he still has to watch what he eats. “Over six years of riding, it is such a routine now that the extras I used to be able to indulge in—that extra dessert, for example—now catch up a lot quicker. I’ll need to come up with a plan to shake it up.”

Truax, who became managing partner in 2014, started commuting by bike when he was an associate but then dropped the habit. “In 2009 we moved into a new building and an associate encouraged me to start again,” Truax recalled, adding that the building has a bike storage room and a gym where he can shower. He resumed bike commuting and has stuck with it since.

He doesn’t consider himself a bike fanatic. His only bicycle is the commuter, and on weekends he puts it away, opting not to join the spandex-sheathed packs prowling the roads. “I log my 18 miles a day and that’s it,” Truax said.

He’s had a few falls, including a skid along a patch of ice near the Drake Hotel that send him flying—and close to tumbling into Lake Michigan. Another time, when he was riding near Wrigley Field, he smashed into the opening door of a cab. Truax was thrown, he dinged his head and the bike was wrecked, but he wasn’t hurt too badly, he said. Mostly, he stays off the roads and sticks to the bike paths around the lake and river.

As part of his routine, Truax takes a few moments each morning on his ride to stop and snap a photograph. “I have about 1,000-plus of them from many days of riding,” he said. “I’m always planning to make a collage of sorts. It’s one of those things I’ll get to someday.”

Contact Susan Beck at sbeck@alm.com. On Twitter: @susanmbeck.