First Suburban Critical Mass a Success!

The Critical Mass ride that Melissa organized was a huge success! Fifty people showed up for the first Critical Mass ride in Aurora, a town about an hour from Chicago. There was a mixed group, including families with children, city employees, young hip guys, lycra racers, older riders, chic cyclists and even a tall bike.

The ride was definitely a Critical Mass in all the best ways.  We had lots of cheery balloons, smiles, waves and “Thank You” signs. The reaction from drivers, pedestrians and other on-lookers was overwhelmingly positive.  Motor vehicle traffic was very minimally obstructed, as most of the route had two lanes going in each direction, making it easy for cars to go around the group.  (I did not witness any negativity at all, but if some drivers were upset by the ride, that is their problem. No progress is ever made without upsetting some people who prefer the status quo.)

Check out these pictures, which describe the ride much better than my words can.

…and there was the press.

Resulting in the third positive article about bicycling in one week in the local paper, “Fifty turn out for Sunday (Critical) Mass.” The next ride will be October 31.

Go Aurora!

Anyone out there living in other a smaller town or the suburbs should consider starting their own movement. All it takes is some people, bikes and passion.

  • Melissa S.

    Lovely article and great pictures. It was a lot of fun with not many issues. I’m already thinking about the next “mass.”
    Thanks for coming out, Dottie! Love you!

  • http://lovelybike.blogspot.com Lovely Bicycle!

    That is a very cute Critical Mass : )
    And I think the “Thank You” is a great tactic.

  • http://bicyclingsd.blogspot.com Beany

    Awww! So fantastic that it all turned out so well. Congratulations, Melissa!

  • tina

    what a success! i hope Aurora can stand the next critical mass!

    • Justin

      It definitely helps that Chicago has such a following for their Critical Mass, this probably allows those who may venture into the city regularly or periodically, from having to go so far.

      I work Friday nights so I haven’t been able to join Critical Mass in Charlotte, but it’s (yes I’ll say it) always a poor showing unless times have changed. Unfortunate is the description, Charlotte has a large cycling community for pleasure, but little support in terms of purpose. It’s unusual for one to ride their bike to work, to the store, to the park!

  • http://www.greenbikelove.blogspot.com Spencer

    Happy to hear it went so well! Seeing a diverse crowd is encouraging and families with kids are the best to see riding!
    keep it up!

  • Steph

    Thanks for posting so many great photos! We had so much fun– Can’t wait to do it again next month!

  • http://www.bikeskirt.com Elisa Munoz

    yay!
    On a totally fashion note: Do Greg’s socks have bikes on them? Love it. And your dress-ADORABLE!!

  • http://www.simplybike.wordpress.com Simply Bike

    This looks awesome! I was hoping there would be a follow-up report with pictures on your blog today and I wasn’t disappointed – the photos are great. I am surprised by how many people decorated bikes and had balloons and how festive it all looks – is that generally the case for a Critical Mass ride? I’ve never been part of one.

    I would love to hear more about how Melissa organized this. How did she announce it? How did so many people know about it? I know the paper covered it, but if there wasn’t a paper feature on it before the event, how would one best make it known to the public?

    I’d love to read more about how to get something like this together. Wonderful work, Melissa!

    • Melissa S.

      I organized it with the help of a good friend that works for the paper. She gave me all the contacts for the press release. But I think you can do a good job besides the extra help.
      First, I created a Facebook group, More Bike Lanes in Aurora, IL. Then I started the critical mass event and promoted the heck out of it.
      The articles really helped. I think you can just cold call the newspapers in your area and ask how you can promote it. I know our papers have calendars for you to add your event. Also, I contacted a few bike clubs in the area to tell them about it. Lastly, I put flyers up at the local bike shops.
      You live at a college campus (I love your blog!) so you should be able to get good turnout with a lot of funkiness.
      The girl in the tutu (Stephanie) has been in a critical mass before so they knew to bring the silliness. But you can also post photos or videos of critcal mass in the area so people know what to expect.
      Let me know if you have any questions!

  • http://missionmission.org Allan

    Aurora had a Critical Mass YEARS AGO. Here’s some video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT_NEcUFmf8

    • Melissa S.

      Very funny, Allan! Maybe next CM, we’ll ride by the White Castle. I’m told that’s the last remaining piece from the movie.

      • http://mollymonochrome.com MollyM

        What unfortunate is about 5 years ago they tore down the building and put up a new one. Its still a White Castle on the same spot, but doesn’t look anything like the movie :(

  • http://zweiradler.blogspot.com/ Zweiradler

    I’m impressed. Well done, Melissa!

    Nico

  • http://www.fullhandsx3.blogspot.com sara

    Yay. Nice to see such positive photos after the previous post’s spirited discussion.

    Ride Bikes. Be Fabulous. Indeed.

  • http://spacetosimplify.wordpress.com Lauren M.F.

    This makes me grin! I am originally from Naperville (or Napervegas, as NancyB calls it, though I’ve never heard that particular nickname) and though I have since relocated to the beloved bike city of Minneapolis, it is great to know that cities back home are getting their bike on in exciting way. Go Aurora!

  • jeannie

    Great event! Great people! Great city! (Aurora’s not a suburb – by any stretch.)

  • NancyB

    You beat me to punch, Jeannie. Aurora is a great city and not a suburb. (like Napervegas) A little trivia, Aurora was one of the first cities in US to adopt all electric street lights. Aurora Pride!NAB