Last Friday night was the final Critical Mass bicycle ride of the year. Since it was Halloween weekend, and just a couple of days before the scariest night of the year, the ride was nicknamed Critical Masquerade. It was windy, cold and dark, but that didn’t seem to stop 300 or so bicyclists from taking a two-wheel ride through the streets of Detroit.
So who showed up on this blustery evening in late October? Well, there were clowns and skeletons, caped riders and devils. There were flesh-eating zombies straight from the Night of the Living Dead! ET wrapped in his white shawl was there, sitting comfortably in his milk-crate basket as Elliott pedaled along. An 1890s High Wheel replica was part of the group, as was Mrs. Clause, a Panda Bear and many other characters, some without costumes.
But the “best-dressed bike” had to be the big brown, furry monster that made its appearance about four blocks into the ride. Much to my surprise and others riding near me, it magically appeared from a side street, and joined the ride as cheering cyclists waved it on. The large brown monster, built on a tandem bicycle, had a nasty looking tooth and a menacing under-bite that appeared to open and close as it zoomed along the streets of Detroit. I still chuckle thinking about that unusually decorated bicycle!
The night’s ride took us down Woodward Ave. to Campus Martius Park and over to the Renaissance Center. Unfortunately, the ramp leading up to the Ren Cen was the High Wheel’s demise. Nearing the top, it slowly toppled, ending the rider’s couple mile ride to that point. Not too bad of a run for a bike of that type.
From the Ren Cen, we rode along Atwater Street, jumped on the River Walk and rode along the Detroit River to Mt. Elliott. The wind blowing off the river was bone chilling, to say the least. At Mt Elliott we headed up Jefferson, crossed over and pedaled our way through Historic Indian Village before returning to the bright lights of downtown.
On the return trip, we passed cheering football fans at Martin Luther King High School, then entered the Dequindre Cut, a former below-street rail line that has been converted to a greenway for walkers and bicyclists. Exiting the cut, we rode through Eastern Market as we worked our way back to West Warren and Trumbull. The Detroit Police helped us out by blocking a few streets as we passed through busy intersections. A big thanks goes out to them.