Bikers of the Night
there they were again in all their bewheeled glory
07/11/2010 12:04 PM
I felt like taking a walk last night about midnight and when I walked out on State Street, there was the annual late night bike ride, just getting started. Who knew the route would take them west on Roosevelt from Grant Park and South on State to Archer? I got to walk to Archer and back alongside them--about a mile and a half all together--and what a view I had! Best one ever!
So many things to notice about the thousands of bikers I walked with: for example, only about half wear helmuts. A lot of the bikers ride recumbents--and they look lazy, if you ask me. Quite a few riders have little cloth-covered trailers hitched on the back of their bikes. Some had little kids inside, some had pets, some had stuff.
A lot of the bikers are rude and speed up, and get off the street and onto the sidewalk, terrorizing the few pedestrians like me. (So what else is new?) So much traffic is stopped and inconvenienced that it made me mad, I have to admit. Although it was pretty exciting to see this mass of bikes take over the street for well over an hour.
On the way to Archer I noticed a cab full of people trying (to no avail, of course) to get out of the driveway at 1530 S. State; on the way back, the cab was still there, but sans the people. Bikers donít seem to think about cabbies trying to make a living late on a Saturday night.
At 16th Street, a fancy car headed east on the west side of State had a driver exit and yell to the cops about taking a possible detour to his house at 13th and Prairie. There was none, of course, even if he abandoned the car and walked. If you were on certain corners as a pedestrian, you were just as stranded as the vehicles, including buses and ambulances.
Which reminds me--a lot of cops were tied up in the middle of the night last night, when a lot of violent crime was happening. Instead of preventing or investigating it, they were out protecting 10,000 bikers from pissed off drivers. What would be wrong with riding all night along the lakefront instead? When all that can be disturbed by the whoops, the hollers, the whirring of bike wheels, the ringing of bicycle bells and the sporadic pop rock tunes is a well-to-do boater?
A lot of bike people donít ride all night, but volunteer to wave to the riders along the way, or to stand with a tripod and red blinking light signaling that there is help at that spot for flat tires or lost pedals.
Itís quite a sight to see all the flashing pale blue lights on the bikes and on some of those wearing helmuts. I did get a thrill walking with them on the way to Archer and against them on the way back home to Roosevelt and State, where the second wave was a bit rowdier than the first and I was glad no one spun out of control and into my wrought iron fence. Many of those bikers taking over the night came close.