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the SUV driver with two bikes mounted on a rack

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the SUV driver with two bikes mounted on a rack

Old 09-01-01, 07:53 AM
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ViciousCycle
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the SUV driver with two bikes mounted on a rack

Last night's Chicago Critical Mass had maybe 300 riders. 300 bicyclists riding in a close pack through downtown Chicago and other neighborhoods provokes a range of reactions, from crowds cheering us on, to individuals blaring their horn at us. But, in Lincoln Park, I will not forget the reaction of this one SUV driver with two bicyles mounted on the back of his SUV. He had just gotten in his parked SUV to leave, when 300 bicyclists rolled by his vehicle. The look on his face was sheer abject TERROR.

While Lincoln Park is a perfectly fine neighborhood to bicycle through, it has one of the highest percentages of SUV's of any Chicago neighborhood. People like this SUV driver with the bike rack. Someone who probably thinks to use a bicycle, you drive your SUV to a bike path, bicycle a little bit recreationally, and then drive your SUV back home. Seeing all those cyclists actually using the roads for transportation seemed utterly alien to him...
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Old 09-01-01, 10:34 AM
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I see those guys all the time, but not in Lincoln Park as I am not there very often. I usually see them in Winsconsin though.

Hopefully you wouldn't say that about me, no I don't own a SUV but I do drive up to Wisconsin every 2-3 weeks on the weekend to ride the John Muir Trails and other MTN bike trails up there. We (2-4 in the car) usually spend all day up there and there are a few of us so I don't look at it as a total waste of gasoline. I know a lot of you are pretty adament about not supporting OPEC. Me, while I agree, I also see the usefullness of a car. Yes, I drive it a lot less then I used to, but I still drive it. Suburbia isn't exactly perfectly laid out and I don't like downtown living. Anyhow ... while at the trails I often see these yuppies all showing up in their own giant SUV with one bike on a 3 bike stand. Jump out in all their bright overpriced glory only to ride on loop and be done 45 minutes later and then they leave. They look at us all day folk like we are strange. Why waste all that gas to drive somewhere for 45 minutes only to leave again? No idea ... anyhow ... other then that I don't usually drive my bike to many places. Today actually I am riding to my GF house, 30 miles away in suburbia. Her parents think I am nuts but she understands me.

So what are the latest Critical Mass rides like? Are people still getting nabbed each ride by the cops and thrown in jail overnight? Are they still getting a ton of pushback from police etc?

Have a great weekend everyone and ride safe.
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Old 09-01-01, 12:49 PM
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So what are the latest Critical Mass rides like? Are people still getting nabbed each ride by the cops and thrown in jail overnight?
On Chicago Critical Mass rides, we currently stay out of the 18th police precinct, the precinct that was associated with mass arrests during the early rides. Throughout much of the other areas where we ride in Chicago, the police have come to know us, and are more likely to help us out than try to arrest us. (It's nice to see police helping bicyclists out.)

Although there are parts of Travis Hugh Culley's Immortal Class that I really like, it's somewhat slanted the way that most of the descriptions of Chicago Critical Mass rides tend to end with clashes with the 18th police precinct. The rides that I've been on this year have the character of street theater and playfulness rather than confrontations with the police.
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Old 09-01-01, 05:00 PM
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I read the book and really liked it. I enjoyed his commentary on biking in Chicago as well as his eloquence in describing his life experiences. I have only been to one CM ride, and that was in Ann Arbor Michigan. After talking with people about the Chicago Mass rides I am interested in attending one but after reading the book was a bit hesitant. I am happy that from what you said it is not as drastic as the books leads on, at least not any more. I may be attending the September on ... they are the end of each month right? Last friday? ....
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Old 09-01-01, 05:49 PM
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Yes, the Chicago Critical Mass meets on the last Friday of the month, Daley Plaza, Dearborn & Washington. 5:30pm is the posted time, but it's generally 6:00pm when the ride starts. (The half hour in between is a fun time for conversation, admiring unusual bikes or costumes, voting on which of the map routes to follow, getting party favors, etc.) The next two will be September 28th and October 26th. The October 26th one will probably be the Halloween ride, and a lot of riders tend to show up in costume.

I'm still a car owner myself, and I would not place you in the same category as the SUV owner that I described. Wisconsin is a pretty place to go to. There is no official party line that a person has to follow in order to be a part of Chicago Critical Mass. There are those who are anti-cars, and there are those who use cars quite a bit. (One person I know, for example, drives his car in from Indiana in order to get to Critical Mass.) A love of bicycling as a viable and fun means of transportation is the common link that we share.

The Chicago Critical Mass web site is http://chicagocriticalmass.org/
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