April 2006 Critical Mass

Belated, I know, but since I have it written and saved somewhere else already I might as well post it here.

Since I’ve reached another impasse with the Wittgenstein paper, I might as well write about last night’s Critical Mass. Route was South Loop – Chinatown – Pilsen – Greektown – Little Italy – Wicker Park. Supposed to end in the park at Wicker Park, but when we reached that unmistakable Damen-Milwaukee-North junction, the mass came to a standstill. A band was playing on a corner, adding to the already festive atmosphere. The intersection was quickly corked and people started circling vehicles for fun. I didn’t want to go any further north so got off the road and took the El back to Washington, emerging at the Daley Plaza where we had set out from. Ride back along the lakefront bike path was amazing. I was apprehensive because it would be dark and possibly dangerous. I was apprehensive even before I found out, while waiting at the Columbus traffic lights, that I had brought my headlamp without any batteries. Fuck it, I wasn’t going to head back to State St when I’d already come all the way out here, the illumination from LSD should be enough, and the first part looked well lit anyway. So off I went. Glad I did because it was surprisingly therapeutic cycling by a dark mass of nothingness. Saw 5 or so cyclists the whole route. A few groups of people out fishing too, one of them with a campfire.

Later found out through the Critical Mass listhost that there were unpleasant incidents at the DMN junction. Most people didn’t realise that that was not the intended endpoint, and the mini-party stretched on indefinitely until an SUV driver lost his temper and accelerated through the mass, injuring several cyclists and destroying two bikes. He and some cyclists were arrested. That effectively broke up the mass.

Ed: More photos.

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