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'Kidical Mass' Features Young Cyclists Taking Back Streets in Lincoln Park

By Paul Biasco | July 11, 2013 8:08am
 A group of parents and children ride during a Kidical Mass ride in Logan Square in May.
A group of parents and children ride during a Kidical Mass ride in Logan Square in May.
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LINCOLN PARK — Drivers beware: Lincoln Park's young cyclists are planning to take over the neighborhood's streets this weekend.

Lincoln Park's first "Kidical Mass" bike ride planned for Sunday might not be as rowdy as its older brother, Critical Mass, but parents and their children hope their presence will lead to safer roads.

Lincoln Park parents behind the ride say neighborhood children rarely ride in the streets because of the dangers of traffic.

"I think opportunities are improving, but when I think about letting my son out to ride on his own, it's still a really frightening thought," said Lacey Cordero, a parent involved in Kidical Mass Lincoln Park. "I'm glad there will be things like this to help him develop his cycling skills."

They hope the group ride, which will last about 45 minutes, will take over a single lane of traffic and cruise down mainly residential streets.

The children riding in the group will be in the middle of the pack surrounded by adults to ensure their safety, according to the leaders.

Like Critical Mass, the adults will block off intersections to let the group roll through.

"Rather than going on sidewalks, the good thing about this is we have the volume to ride safely in the street," Cordero said.

The first Kidical Mass launched in Logan Square in May 2010 and has taken place on the second Saturday of each month since, rain or shine.

Groups in Hyde Park and Lincoln Square have since started their own monthly rides.

Michelle Stenzel, who co-chairs the organization Bike Walk Lincoln Park, said the push to start a ride in Lincoln Park was needed because of the difficulty of safely riding with children to the other neighborhoods.

"It's hard to justify bringing little kids on these major streets to get there," Stenzel said. "That's why we want to start a local one."

Stenzel said the goal was to feel safe enough to let an 8-year-old ride his or her own bike along with a mom or dad to the store, or even alone on the way to school.

Sunday's ride will take off from the Oz Park playground, 2021 N. Burling St., at 10 a.m. Parents and children can meet at the park starting at 9:30 a.m.

"Wouldn't this be awesome if we had a couple of different changes to the streets so I could feel safe with my kids not just a big group?" Stenzel said.

Critical Mass still takes off every last Friday of the month at 5:30 p.m. from Daley Plaza.