Bicycle Diaries: Second thoughts...

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3.7.06

Second thoughts...

The Chicago Critical Mass listserv is fantastic. Even though I missed last Friday's ride, I've been able to post on a couple of issues.

This virtual experience has been very revealing to me. On the one hand, the incredible diversity of Chicago Critical Mass extends to the relatively small sub-groups within it. On the other hand, I'll have to expand my knowledge considerably by sharpening my observations skills if I want to get my head around this diversity.

For example, one sub-group is Chicago Ghost Bikes. It started up back in January with the bike they built for Isai Medina pictured here. To quote their website:
Isai was on his way home from work when he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking his bike along the sidewalk on Western Avenue in Chicago.

He was on his way home from work when he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking his bike along the sidewalk on Western Avenue in Chicago. Ever since, Chicago Ghost Bikes has been memorializing bikers killed by cars.
Ever since, Chicago Ghost Bikes has been memorializing bikers killed by cars. This weekend a masser on the southside sent out an invitation to a Ghost Bike Build for George Chavez who recently died after being hit-and-run on his bike. I had every intention of going especially since they were going to teach folks how to weld. Unfortunately, a last minute visit from some old friends kept me away.

So I came up with these two graphics for the sign. This is based on the European bike warning sign.

And this is based on the US bike lane sign. I've been using it a lot lately.

Another example of masser sub-groups is the freakbikers. The most well-known is the Rat Patrol I mentioned in yesterday's post. But I made a mistake: a masser who read it responded through the Chicago Critical Mass listserv. As a freakbiker, s/he thought my description of Chicago Critical Mass was cool. Nevertheless, s/he gently informed me that the Rat Patrol is not the only freakbike group out there deserving my admiration.


S/he described others like the Scallywags, a group that loves Jesus as well as building and riding bikes. Also mentioned were several unaffiliated freakbikers who either I haven't seen at the mass or have seen but mistakenly assumed were members of the Rat Patrol.

I very much appreciate his comments. They reflect how massers are both tolerant and neighborly to newbies such as myself.

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