Many massers don’t realize that the first of the 118 Daley Plaza Critical Masses took place on 5 September 1997 — the FIRST Friday of that month.* After that first Daley Plaza mass, the ride quickly switched to the last Friday so as to coincide with other masses around the world.
To celebrate the actual 10th anniversary of the CCM ride, a group of massers will launch a Wicker Park Critical Mass ride, beginning on 7 September 2007 at 6pm. We’ll meet at the Polish Triangle (Division, Milwaukee, & Ashland), within blocks of where the first Daley Plaza ride ended up ten years ago.
Jim Redd, one of the founders of the Daley Plaza ride and now operator of an inn in Ecuador, has agreed to return to Chicago to help launch the Wicker Park CM and celebrate the actual 10th Anniversary of the Daley Plaza rides.
The Wicker Park mass, like other rides worldwide, will celebrate my neighborhood’s diverse and unique character. Jim will propose a “Taking Art to the Streets” route, with the final destination set for a big celebration at a local art gallery. Other local masses that ride on the first Friday (Evanston & Oak Park) are invited to join us as we bring another Critical Mass ride into the world.
As Sunday’s Sun-Times article asserts, it may never be possible to completely end the big downtown masses. However, just as the Taste of Chicago cannot capture the bonhomie of a simple block party, the elephantine Daley Plaza mass has become more crowd than community. Our increasing size now faces down the law of diminishing returns. Bicyclists citywide deserve better choices.
Over the years, neighborhoods throughout the city have welcomed and embraced Critical Mass — none more than Wicker Park — and I think Chicago’s ready to take this show on the road. Let’s show our own neighbors some Happy Friday love, while reclaiming the streets we know best. Ten years in the making, a renaissance — rebirth — of Chicago Critical Mass will create a citywide network of local, autonomous cycling communities. Humboldt Park residents have already started a local ride, and other neighborhoods will be joining Pilsen/Little Village, Oak Park, Evanston, and Wicker Park by launching their own rides.
This September, let a thousand points of bicycle light brighten the entire city! Join us at the real 10th Anniversary party: Friday, 7 September, at Division, Milwaukee, and Ashland.
Hey, and while you’re waiting, Northwest Siders (and everyone else) can learn how to prepare for the decline and fall of summer (while savoring summer’s glorious fruits) at a free Bike Winter preview class:
Stay the Course: All-Season Cycling Made Simple
Sunday, August 19th, 12noon. FREE!
Logan Square Farmers Market, SE corner of Logan Blvd & Milwaukee Ave
Don’t banish your bike to the basement this fall. During this free workshop, winter cycling veterans will share Chicago’s best kept secret: with the proper equipment and a little determination, all-season cycling is no sweat!
More info at www.BikeWinter.org.