Skip to Content
Streetsblog Chicago home
Streetsblog Chicago home
Log In
Bicycling

Nice work Chicago! Thankfully Critical Mass didn’t happen Friday, but #CoronaMass did.

Before you yell at videographer Mark Creasy for going on a group ride during the pandemic, note that he was the only participant. Image: Mark Creasy

Critical Mass is an awesome bicycle parade-protest that helps push for more bike-friendly cities, and celebrates the joy of cycling, and life in general. But doing a big group ride during a global pandemic would have created a dangerous risk of viral transmission. As such, we pleaded with Chicago cyclists not to show up for the monthly ride on Friday. Instead, we asked people to do their own #CoronaMass by taking a solo spin, or riding with household members or a friend or two, maintaining 6'+ "social distance" to avoid exposure to respiratory droplets.

I'm pleased to report that almost all Chicagoans did the right thing by not showing up for Critical Mass on Friday night. (The fact that it was raining probably helped.) Longtime Masser Juan Dominguez passed by Daley Plaza during the usual gathering time on his way to visit his storage space, where he saw a lone cyclist who had missed the memo. "He didn't understand it was cancelled," so Dominguez set him straight.

Juan Dominguez, taking no chances with COVID-19 exposure, and the lone Masser at Daley Plaza.
Juan Dominguez, taking no chances with COVID-19 exposure, and the lone Masser at Daley Plaza.
Juan Dominguez, taking no chances with COVID-19 exposure, and the lone Masser at Daley Plaza.

Despite our warning, videographer Mark Creasy insisted on going on a group ride on the Lincoln Park nature walk Friday evening. But fortunately he did it alone. Don't worry, he said, "We made sure to stay six feet apart."

https://twitter.com/mark_creasy/status/1243685535446679553?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

After wrapping up my editorial duties, I made my way downtown in the rain to get a few miles in and check out the scene. It is definitely eerie to see the usually-bustling Loop almost completely depopulated during the pandemic.

IMG_1157
What State Street would look like if Chicago was hit by a neutron bomb. Photo: John Greenfield
What State Street would look like if Chicago was hit by a neutron bomb. Photo: John Greenfield

When I got to Daley Plaza, I was pleased to see that the giant Picasso sculpture had a message for local cyclists. (OK, I put it there, but still.)

Photo: John Greenfield
Photo: John Greenfield
Photo: John Greenfield

So good job not showing up, Chicago cyclists. While I'd normally be bummed if the local Critical Mass ride, which has taken place every single month since October 1997, didn't happen, in this case I'm very pleased that it didn't occur. After all, our city needs every bike advocate we can get, so we can't afford to lose any of them to COVID-19.

Here are some tips on preventing the spread of the coronavirus, and advice for Chicagoans on what to do if you think you may have been exposed to the virus. 

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Chicago

We are all in an underperforming Chicagoland transit network. But some of us are looking at the Star:Line.

According to Star:Line Chicago, "The 2034sight Plan is an ambitious — and achievable — ten-year framework to lay the groundwork to modernize Chicagoland’s existing local passenger rail system."

July 19, 2024

A semi driver fatally struck a person walking on Lower Wacker Drive. Did a locked gate contribute to the crash?

The victim may have been walking in the street because a gate limiting pedestrian access on the south side of Wacker was locked at the time.

July 19, 2024

This is Grand! CDOT cuts ribbon on new protected bike lanes on a key West Side diagonal street

The project also has lots of other nifty Complete Streets features, like raised crosswalks, bus islands, and the conversion of a dangerous slip lane to a new plaza.

July 18, 2024
See all posts