If there's anything you can say for sure about Chicago Critical Mass it's that it means many things to many people. But whether it's a protest or celebration, spontaneous or planned, confrontational or collaborative, led or followed, the mass is always full of little surprises.
A good example happened last Friday at the Mummer Mass. It involved a bike buddy of mine who posted the following comments to the CCM list. The wonderful photos were taken by Don Sorsa.
[We] stopped at Quencher's and got to catch up with a number folks in whose company I hadn't yet spent much time. Very enjoyable. [When I] left Quencher's to discover (1) I now owned a Kryptonite cable I did not possess when I arrived (did anyone's bike get stolen?); and 2) someone had stolen my taillight (my mistake for not removing it) AND punctured my rear tire. Did others suffer the same fate or am I the only one?
[I then] walked my bike from Fullerton/Western to Irving and the river, when a Korean gentleman passed me riding westbound at midnight. We both waved and I continued on. I shortly heard the work "puncture?" and turned to discover he had turned around and pulled up on the sidewalk.
Without a word, he leaned his bike up against a wall, laid mine on the ground and proceeded to extract every tool known to mankind from a tiny seatpost bag - including cigarette lighter and butter knife. He jimmied the tube out from the tire, found the leak, patched it, replaced the tube within the tire and re-inflated it.
While thanking him profusely, he shook my hand and said, "good." I asked his name and told him mine, only to have him point to himself and say, "Korea" and ride off.
I love this city and hate it simultaneously, but have to start carrying a patch kit so I can give this back!