Chicago Critical Mass April 2007

The route was several loops within downtown, then southwest to Pilsen via UIC, southeast to US Cellular Field, southeast still to Promontory Point. First Critical Mass that ended anywhere near my house! I was pretty knackered towards the end, still. Barely lingered at the Point before heading home to pacify my growling stomach.

The tourists on Michigan Ave seemed to be a more accommodating crowd than before. Lots of children who were simply delighted to see a change in scenery, including one who noticed my pillow and was verily amused.

I was asked several times if I was involved in the pillow fight. In response to an email to the listhost that demanded “Bring a pillow tonight…or you might regret it!!!!”, I brought my pillow along and strapped it to my front rack as follows:
Chicago Critical Mass April 2007
A couple of people were puzzled by the pillow and asked me what it was for. I did see a few others with pillows around, though:
Chicago Critical Mass April 2007

Near the Sox stadium the traffic police went wild with the Massers cheering for the Sox. The people in the South Side were generally much more excited and positive about seeing a bunch of cyclists clogging up their roads than the people one encounters on the North side and downtown.

I spotted at least three unpleasant confrontations with motorists; which is significantly more than usual. A function, I think, of having a route that spent too much time downtown, where heavy, impatient traffic abounds. One particularly bad one involved a driver who was reversing into cyclists in order to get out from behind another car. Someone opened his right door to confront him, and he got out of his car. Everyone thought he was going to turn violent, but all he did was to shut the door and get back in, while shouting something about how he had to get somewhere for some reason. All the while, a masser had been yelling at the cyclists using themselves as barricades to stop the car from moving to let him out, but no one listened. Because of that hold-up, the mass was split into two. I found myself near the front of the second half of the mass. Now the mass began to thin out dangerously as people at the front sped up to try to catch up with the front of the main mass. The masser who had been yelling at the cyclists to let the driver out pedalled like crazy to get to the front of the delayed part of the mass. Eventually we reached a corked intersection where he managed to persuade the corkers to let the traffic go while we massed up. Shortly after we caught up with the main mass.

The full set of half-decent photos is here.


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