In Chicago any random scruffy dude can show up at Critical Mass with a map and cause some particular winding route through the city to be taken over by bikes. You know, a sort of of the cyclists, by the cyclists, and for the cyclists thing. But it takes the alliance of state and corporate power to fill the city's most famous street with bikes. Well, maybe. I don't know if any random dude has tried. I don't know if any random dude has wanted to die that badly.
Bank of America, however, does want to die that badly, so they've sponsored this brilliant event. Very early Sunday morning the police block off Lake Shore Drive and At the crack of dawn cyclists begin to congregate downtown and are funneled through big inflatable starting gates to turn left or right, north or south. They ride 7.5 miles in that direction (the extent of Lake Shore Drive), turn around according to a marked pattern, ride back, and optionally continue on to the other side of the city.
Since I didn't sleep last night and I need to do that now, I'll just mention a few things. First, I have this problem. This problem with going all-out in non-competitive events. Because of my lack of sleep I decided to just do one full loop for 30 miles, and to take it easy. Unfortunately I got caught up with a pack of fast riders and rode really fast. I hurt. Also, I ran into Danielle's bike's husband. It was suitably awkward. And now to sleep through the middle of the day!