Friday, September 26, 2008

Going to Mass

We asked on our blog about the best ride to experience a little taste of urban Chicago riding. Th Critical Mass was suggested and we just had to check it out. It's been going on for 11 years and is one (if not THE biggest of it's kind in the world). It happens here once a month and it's pretty damn awesome.

I've experienced one in Austin, many years ago, that was just so-so. This was a whole different type of experience. The concept of Critical Mass is about Power to the Pedal. It typically takes place on Friday around rush hour (as this one did). Bikes peacefully take over the streets and cars have to stop. Bikes roll the stop lights, make lots of noise, and generally have a grand ol time just being alternative transportation. We were a bit nervous about it since sometimes Critical Mass can be unruly and really upset drivers. But this one was really cool - with the large majority of folks laughing, happily waving, and generally enjoying the spectacle. So - here's some photo and video of the experience.
This is Alex, THE MAN, at West Town Bikes. He hooked up Hans and Jackie with some nice loaner bikes. Then he escorted us down to Mass with his LOUD Speaker Bike. Thanks Alex!

Hans - chumming with some locals before the ride.
We all gathered at Daley Plaza. Probably a couple 1000 bikes.
Jackie was super psyched to be riding in the big city. She lived in NYC for many years and she misses big city life. This craziness brought it all home for her.
We hit the streets. It takes about 1000 bikes to take over the streets of Chicago. we had twice that at least.
There were all sorts of bikes: pink and purple bikes...
old school bikes...
short short bikes...and tall bikes.
We rode to the North Avenue Bridge (a $25MM bridge with no bike lane) and took it over.

They were passing out a 'zine called The Derailleur. It featured Ezra Caldwell, a very nice fellow that we met in Austin last year. He's a modern dancer/bike/bike fabricator in NYC. He recently caught the cancer bug. While he's in the process of kicking it, he made himself an assless bike so he can still ride w/o affecting his nether regions (which were hit by the cancer). He's a cool guy and he makes cool stuff. Check him out.

And finally, a cab was swarmed by the bikes where a circle formed around the car in the intersection. There was no escaping the Critical Mass.

Ok - time for bed time. Tomorrow...Murphy's Bleachers...12 - 3...ChiTown PPU...see you there!

One more's another video with BMX riding. The chick's got a cool name too ;)

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