The Chainlink

Now here's a really interesting idea. We should do this citywide. Instead of riots in the streets, we can have bike riders roaming our streets in the midnight hours. That alone is a big deterrent against malicious activity. I've already discussed this with my alderman's office (48th ward) and they're excited about the idea. 

My big dream is to ultimately link up Edgewater bikers with Englewood bikers in a real show of solidarity. Chicago, like many big cities is very diverse, yet we are one of the most segregated big cities in America. 

In the wintertime we can coordinate our rides with the Department of Streets and Sanitation to get side streets cleared off. Who knows, some riders might even volunteer to shovel out cars buried on those streets. Those people might even be willing to make donations to our movement in exchange for that service. There are a lot of things we can do. 

No reason we need special days to do this either. Inclement weather aside, with the social media tools we have available today, this can be an ongoing thing, year round. I'd much rather get some fresh air then be confined to my indoor Peloton. We can reduce street crime to rock bottom. 

I'm a firm believer that in these times, in this city, biking is a political statement.

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The streets belong to the people rioting just as much as they do the people biking on them; there is nothing to take back because they were never 'ours.'

Sorry Doug, but the streets don't belong to rioters.

I remember attending a community meeting with the Chicago Police commander of the Uptown area when we had a spike in gang/drug/crime activity there, some years ago. I still remember she said, "whoever walks the streets, owns the streets." We can take that idea much further with a bunch of us riding around our 'hoods on bikes.

She mentioned dog walkers in particular. I never thought about it before but she had a really good point.

I live in this city and I'm assessed an awful lot of money in real estate taxes, twice a year, to secure and maintain our streets. As a law abiding, tax paying resident of Chicago, I lay claim to these streets. 

Now we can light a candle or we can curse the darkness. We can sit back and do nothing or we can take action. 

We can take back the streets.

Are rioters somehow not citizens of Chicago? 

Are they not people with the same rights we have?

There is nothing to take back, the streets belong to everyone even those who are expressing violent displeasure with the status quo.

Fall Guy, you are conflating protestors and rioters. 

Meanwhile, 51 citizens were shot this past weekend (again), with 9 dead. Among the wounded were two 14 year-olds walking down the 0-99 block of E. 123rd Street in West Pullman at 3:45pm Sunday afternoon. Was THIS an expression of "violent displeasure with the status-quo"?  For what it's worth, I am not just cherry-picking this particular incident nor is it just an abstraction or a sensationalistic headline. I am quite familiar with this stretch of Stewart Ridge as I ride through it regularly. In fact, I rolled through just the day before this "violent displeasure." 

However, I don't begin to see how cyclists "roaming the streets in the midnight hours" will "take back our streets." It reads like some kind of romantic, adolescent fantasy. Can we don capes while we do this?!      

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