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Peace All,

Red Bike & Green + The Pioneers Bicycle Club present...

The Southside Ride for Chicago Critical Mass

This Critical Mass route proposal is a 14-mile tour of some of Chicago's African-American cultural & historical landmarks. Highlights along the route will include the site of the Chess Records studios, the Bronzeville Victory Monument, Ida B. Wells' home, the Harold Washington Cultural Center, the DuSable Museum, the Obamas' house and much more. The ride will end at the new 31st Street marina and beach.

Check out the map at:
http://chicagocriticalmass.org/
Scroll down on the home page and click on the flyer for the full size image.

A special thanks to the lovely Eboni Senai, a true gem in our city. Her work as the Founder of Red Bike & Green - Chicago is energizing bicycling culture in the African American community of Chicago. Also want to share a huge thanks with John Greenfield, Willow Naeco, and Steven Lane for their early, active, and consistent support of this effort.

We will meet up at 5:30pm on Friday, August 31st at the Picasso statue at Daley Plaza. Please join us for a beautiful ride through parts of the Southside of Chicago!

...how about a post-ride afterparty?
Peoples DJs Collective 3YR Anniversary BBQ
2236 S. Marshall Blvd., Chicago
(block west of California & Cermak)
http://www.facebook.com/events/273511979429664/

Rock on,

Oboi
The Pioneers Bicycle Club
@theycallmeOboi

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It was surprising to witness the muted police presence on this ride.   I saw very few marked cars shadowing us and even the number of bikebacons in the mass itself seemed to be quite low.

I didn't even notice any extra security or cops when we passed the Obama Residence.  I was wondering how they would feel about a mass of people riding by and all the security implications that implies for the detachment that is tasked with protecting the property.  Don't taze me bro!  I wasn't looking forward to a heavy-handed over-reaction by the establishment on our passing but my fears were thankfully unfounded.

By and by a pretty good ride.  

One thing I might suggest is that ride leaders need to be aware that when they pass from a nice wide open street or boulevard and then down a very narrow choke-point that they NEED to slow down afterwards to allow the mass of bikes behind them, still within the choke-point to catch up.  

There were a number of times when the mass got REALLY skinny and sparse in the middle sections and we had a number of incidents of motor vehiciles encroaching into the mass because of this -much more than usual.   There were times when the bikes around me were traveling at excess for 15-16MPH to keep up and close the distance between us and the folks in the lead.  Gaps opened up of 200 feet at times.   15 is  WAY too fast for the average rider who comes to CCM.    These faster sprints happened on multiple occasions and I witnessed many dangerous gaps opening up in the mass.    This is a typical mistake many CCM leaders make.  Things were so much better the last couple of months with regards to this so a bit of slippage is all the more noticeable. 

But all in all it was a nice mass and I don't mean to be overly down on the way it was run.   I've seen it much worse over the years -just a few observations and opportunities to learn for next time.

peace James - i appreciate your note and thank you for sharing it. your points are valid. consider this a post-ride debrief, a learning experience for me. btw, i take full responsibility for the things we need to improve on for next time. thanks again and if you have more evaluative insights, please do share!

James BlackHeron said:

It was surprising to witness the muted police presence on this ride.   I saw very few marked cars shadowing us and even the number of bikebacons in the mass itself seemed to be quite low.

I didn't even notice any extra security or cops when we passed the Obama Residence.  I was wondering how they would feel about a mass of people riding by and all the security implications that implies for the detachment that is tasked with protecting the property.  Don't taze me bro!  I wasn't looking forward to a heavy-handed over-reaction by the establishment on our passing but my fears were thankfully unfounded.

By and by a pretty good ride.  

One thing I might suggest is that ride leaders need to be aware that when they pass from a nice wide open street or boulevard and then down a very narrow choke-point that they NEED to slow down afterwards to allow the mass of bikes behind them, still within the choke-point to catch up.  

There were a number of times when the mass got REALLY skinny and sparse in the middle sections and we had a number of incidents of motor vehiciles encroaching into the mass because of this -much more than usual.   There were times when the bikes around me were traveling at excess for 15-16MPH to keep up and close the distance between us and the folks in the lead.  Gaps opened up of 200 feet at times.   15 is  WAY too fast for the average rider who comes to CCM.    These faster sprints happened on multiple occasions and I witnessed many dangerous gaps opening up in the mass.    This is a typical mistake many CCM leaders make.  Things were so much better the last couple of months with regards to this so a bit of slippage is all the more noticeable. 

But all in all it was a nice mass and I don't mean to be overly down on the way it was run.   I've seen it much worse over the years -just a few observations and opportunities to learn for next time.

Thank you so much to everyone who organized this- I had so much fun and so did the first time CM-er I brought with me! Loved the route, loved biking through areas where I don't normally bike, loved all the smiling kids and great architecture we passed by! Another highlight was biking home on the LFT with so many bikers all around and a gorgeous moon going in and out of the clouds. Really appreciate all the work that went into planning this route.

hi Anne B. - you are dearly welcome! thank you so much for your very kind words, deeply appreciate you. it was a labor of love and i enjoyed every single moment!

Anne B. said:

Thank you so much to everyone who organized this- I had so much fun and so did the first time CM-er I brought with me! Loved the route, loved biking through areas where I don't normally bike, loved all the smiling kids and great architecture we passed by! Another highlight was biking home on the LFT with so many bikers all around and a gorgeous moon going in and out of the clouds. Really appreciate all the work that went into planning this route.

thank you kindly Barbara Mann! so glad you made it out also and considered it one of yur faves. and i agree with you, indeed the southside does rock!

Barbra Mann said:

This was one of my fave masses ever, for the route, the significance of the map points and for the ending spot, and for the outpour of families from doorsteps, coming out to cheer us on!  I think the Southside rocks!  I absolutely loved it thanks so much for this mass!  So glad I made it!

appreciate you Gene! by any chance are you on Facebook? if so, plz find me at "olatunji oboi reed".

Gene Tenner said:

Of course you may. Thanks for asking. Thanks for your help in all this.

Click on a photo. When it opens up, right click on the photo. Select the size. Then click on download above the photo.

Olatunji Oboi Reed said:

wow Gene, love your photos! would you mind if i post a few on FB? with proper attribution of course. thank for the pics and thanks for riding!

hey Adam - my pleasure friend! your note is my payoff. genuine diversity does not happen without work, tough work, challenging work, and sometimes even pain. it requires all of us to be willing to expose ourselves and be uncomfortable at times. not always pleasant, yet very worth it and so valuable an experience. last night, we all grew, a little bit...

Adam Herstein said:

Thanks, Oboi, for a great route choice! I really enjoyed riding though the historic neighborhoods of Bronzeville, Washington Park, Hyde Park, and Kenwood! Thanks again for helping me get out of my comfort zone and ride though the South Side. Not once did I feel like we were in bad areas, and the people there were all very friendly and welcoming. I would definitely do this again!

Oboi,

great job man! We came with about 10 ppl, and everyone had a great time. We all saw some neighborhoods we don't often see. Some great places, and sights. Thanks for your efforts!

Everyone,

RE: being spread out: I think the mass, and especially the three summer masses, need to avoid 1 and 2 lane roads. Getting 1000+ cyclists to mass up is very hard. It's cat herding at it's hardest. It can be done, and has, but it's not the easiest path. Having the mass funnel down to a single lane one way street, or even a two lane two way street, is always going to back it up at the spot where it narrows. At the other end where it widens,  and we get back on a four lane, people will inevitably spread out. It seems so much easier to just avoid small roads then to try and get people to mass up. An example is when we went from State to Michigan. We went 4 lane, one lane, 4 lane. That had the mass spread out for miles after that. This happens every time we go down Milwaukee, etc too.

hey Jason - it was my pleasure and glad you and your crew enjoyed the ride. i appreciate you reaching out and sharing your kind words. this was my first time (well, kinda the second time) proposing a route for CCM. and i appreciate all the feedback. the day-of experience and the comments are definitely an opportunity for me to learn, grow and create an even better ride next time! thanks again, peace...


Jason said:

Oboi,

great job man! We came with about 10 ppl, and everyone had a great time. We all saw some neighborhoods we don't often see. Some great places, and sights. Thanks for your efforts!

Everyone,

RE: being spread out: I think the mass, and especially the three summer masses, need to avoid 1 and 2 lane roads. Getting 1000+ cyclists to mass up is very hard. It's cat herding at it's hardest. It can be done, and has, but it's not the easiest path. Having the mass funnel down to a single lane one way street, or even a two lane two way street, is always going to back it up at the spot where it narrows. At the other end where it widens,  and we get back on a four lane, people will inevitably spread out. It seems so much easier to just avoid small roads then to try and get people to mass up. An example is when we went from State to Michigan. We went 4 lane, one lane, 4 lane. That had the mass spread out for miles after that. This happens every time we go down Milwaukee, etc too.

Oboi, Eboni and John,

My first CM.  For you "old-timers" I wonder if you know how incredible it is to see the wide age range, the broad socio-economic representation, what seemed to be almost every type of bike available?  Besides the ride itself, those things truly brought a smile to my face.  Along with meeting people I only knew through this forum!

Don't know how often I will do CM in the future, but for sure would go south again!  I knew there were really cool neighborhoods to see, but I was amazed by the size of Washington Park and at how excited people in the neighborhoods were.  It might be inspiration to do a little ride without the crowds so I could really see the things we passed.

Hi Lisa - thanks much for the note and your kind words. i am glad you enjoyed our southside ride and your first CCM ride. congrats and may we ride together again soon! 

Lisa Curcio said:

Oboi, Eboni and John,

My first CM.  For you "old-timers" I wonder if you know how incredible it is to see the wide age range, the broad socio-economic representation, what seemed to be almost every type of bike available?  Besides the ride itself, those things truly brought a smile to my face.  Along with meeting people I only knew through this forum!

Don't know how often I will do CM in the future, but for sure would go south again!  I knew there were really cool neighborhoods to see, but I was amazed by the size of Washington Park and at how excited people in the neighborhoods were.  It might be inspiration to do a little ride without the crowds so I could really see the things we passed.

I agree, I was at the middle-to-back the whole ride with a friend on skates and it was hard for her to keep up. And she's not a newbie to skating, she's pretty fast.  And the gaps were sometimes harrowing. I just wish all the people who hang out at the front trying to speed it up, or resisting mass-ups would just ride back to front then front to back again instead of riding the wave.  It's hard at the front, leading, to not cave in to pressure to keep moving.  

James BlackHeron said:

It was surprising to witness the muted police presence on this ride.   I saw very few marked cars shadowing us and even the number of bikebacons in the mass itself seemed to be quite low.

I didn't even notice any extra security or cops when we passed the Obama Residence.  I was wondering how they would feel about a mass of people riding by and all the security implications that implies for the detachment that is tasked with protecting the property.  Don't taze me bro!  I wasn't looking forward to a heavy-handed over-reaction by the establishment on our passing but my fears were thankfully unfounded.

By and by a pretty good ride.  

One thing I might suggest is that ride leaders need to be aware that when they pass from a nice wide open street or boulevard and then down a very narrow choke-point that they NEED to slow down afterwards to allow the mass of bikes behind them, still within the choke-point to catch up.  

There were a number of times when the mass got REALLY skinny and sparse in the middle sections and we had a number of incidents of motor vehiciles encroaching into the mass because of this -much more than usual.   There were times when the bikes around me were traveling at excess for 15-16MPH to keep up and close the distance between us and the folks in the lead.  Gaps opened up of 200 feet at times.   15 is  WAY too fast for the average rider who comes to CCM.    These faster sprints happened on multiple occasions and I witnessed many dangerous gaps opening up in the mass.    This is a typical mistake many CCM leaders make.  Things were so much better the last couple of months with regards to this so a bit of slippage is all the more noticeable. 

But all in all it was a nice mass and I don't mean to be overly down on the way it was run.   I've seen it much worse over the years -just a few observations and opportunities to learn for next time.

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