Sunday, February 1, 2009

Critical Mass Hits Black Friday

- Dav Timm

A good 300 people or so turned out in mid-20's weather at Chicago’s Daley Plaza on November 28th for Critical Mass. For those unfamiliar, Critical Mass is a bike ride that takes place on the last Friday of every month in cities all over the world. According to the unofficial Chicago Critical Mass website, “a Critical Mass is created when the group of riders comes together for a few hours to take back the streets of our city.” This was my second Mass – I rode in it last year on Halloween. This year my friends Dave and Josh joined me, and although there weren’t quite 5000 riders like there was last October, we formed quite a bike army and partied through the streets of Chicago.
Because this was the Friday after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), it was the biggest shopping day of the year and folks were out in droves doing their holiday shopping downtown. We rode through downtown, hooting, hollering, and wishing everyone we passed a “HAPPY FRIDAY!” After that we rode north through Wicker Park toward uptown, massing up in six-point intersections along the way. We rallied every time we passed under a bridge or whenever a motorist would get impatient and honk.
Although some people claim that Critical Mass is a movement to promote a certain political agenda, it really has no official stance on bicycling issues. Rather, it is a great way to have fun and meet other cyclists while exercising our right to assemble. We saw a lot of sick bikes and met some cool people, and even when the ride ended, we had a good time riding through the streets by ourselves. We’ll definitely be heading up to Chicago many times in the future to participate in Mass again, so if you’d like to give it a shot, let me know.

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