The weather was perfect for a bike ride. I'd lived in Evanston four years and had never ridden the Evanston Critical Mass Ride, so I headed down to Fountain Square around 6:40 PM. I had read that folks gather at 6:30 and usually ride out at 7:00. I got to the square to find all the fountains dyed a deep Northwestern University purple. I perched on the edge of one of the fountains and waited expectantly.
And waited. No other bicyclists showed up. Several bikes rode by or through the square, including one recumbent I was sure had arrived for the Mass. But no. No one else stopped. It got to be 7:00, so I decided to be the Evanston Critical Mass, composed of exactly one bike.
Now on the one hand, massing up with myself was very easy, as I absolutely couldn't physically separate myself to let any cars through, so the Mass was near perfection. On the other hand, with only one bike in the Mass, the force in numbers was somewhat lacking, so this was the most courteous and defensively ridden Critical Mass in history. This Mass stopped at each and every red light or stop sign. I'm expecting no cranky complaints from motorists tomorrow morning, no flame wars from pedestrians who were delayed by this Evanston Critical Mass ride. There were some perplexed looks from passersby as I jauntily shouted "Happy Friday!" Oh, well, they just don't get it.
The Mass headed north to Church Street, then east to the lakefront path. This Mass, being somewhat smaller than usual, decided to zoom around the Northwestern University Campus for a while, as no map for the ride was in evidence and keeping away from heavy car traffic seemed prudent for the evening. The Mass glided and swept from path to road and back again, almost as one bike--ok, literally as one bike.
The Mass paused to listen to a group of band students playing drums out on the lawn, likely in preparation for the coming season's football games.
The Mass searched for the old brown cabin with screen windows, which served as the original Amazingrace music club on campus, back when the Mass himself was in college. Many a pleasant evening was spent in that little club listening to blues or folk greats from around the world, though Brian Bowers and his autoharp were usually the warm up act for everybody, for no apparent reason. Maybe he worked cheap.
The Mass then watched an enormous relay race of some sort with seven or eight teams denoted by different colored shirts. The Mass has no idea what that was all about, unless it's some sort of freshman get-to-know-each-other event.
The Mass made the obligatory dip of the toe in Lake Michigan, but didn't stop for a swim.
Next, the Mass headed northwest, toward Wilmette, via Lincoln and Green Bay Road. The Mass then stopped at Wilmette's legendary ice cream parlor, Homer's, and thoroughly enjoyed a hot fudge sundae. Disappointingly, the Mass could find no bike racks or parking meters near Homer's, but did spot a nice bike rack a few doors down in front of a yoga studio, which sufficed.
It was getting quite dark as the Mass finished its ice cream, so it headed home for the night, along darkened tree-shaded brick lanes that made the Mass's bike bounce and its teeth rattle.
OMG, How old are you ? I saw Bryan Bowers at the little on-campus Amazingrace back in 1973 ! Couldn't get into the first show, but, people lined up outside the windows for a sing along. His second show was delayed because he had to restring his harps, which had snapped strings like crazy during the first set. He blamed it on the heat and humidity that night.
57. Just consider me an Elder Statesman of cycling. Or just decrepit, with one foot in the grave.
Yeah, I remember standing outside Amazingrace, listening through the screened windows, either when the "quonset hut" was too crowded to enter or if I didn't have the few bucks for admission.
OMG, How old are you ? I saw Bryan Bowers at the little on-campus Amazingrace back in 1973 !
I hit 61 this year.
I hit 61 this year.