No, seriously, it doesn't get more real than this. Since April 2009, I've been riding one CTA bus a week, end to end, in an attempt to travel every CTA bus route. I finally finished last month--after 139 bus trips.
I started this project when I took over as RedEye's CTA columnist as a way to get to know the transit system. In the end, I got to know Chicago and its residents--some in embarrassingly intimate ways.