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Kids Set to Take Over the Streets During Kidical Mass

By Paul Biasco | May 22, 2015 5:33am
 Young riders cruise the Chicago streets during Kidical Mass.
Young riders cruise the Chicago streets during Kidical Mass.
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LINCOLN PARK — Lincoln Park's young cyclists are back and ready to take over the neighborhood streets for a few dates this summer.

The kid-friendly version of the much larger and wilder monthly Critical Mass ride is set to kick off its third year in Lincoln Park.

Kidical Mass Lincoln Park's first ride will leave from Oz Park May 30 at 9:30 a.m.

The ride is meant to allow children to learn to ride the city streets safely while meeting other bike-friendly families in the neighborhood.

"That’s what these rides are all about, helping people understand where the safe side streets are for kids that are new," said Jerry Quandt, who is taking over the neighborhood ride this year. "It's meant to show them you can still navigate through the neighborhood.”

Kidical Mass rides typically take between 45 minutes to an hour and wind through the neighborhood for 2 to 4 miles.

The Kidical Mass Chicago movement has expanded to rides in seven Chicago neighborhoods as well as Evanston over the years.

Other neighborhoods that host monthly rides include Roscoe Village, Logan Square, South Loop, Lincoln Square, Edison Park and Bronzeville.

The first ride this year will be a tour of the neighborhood parks and will include a stop for refreshments midway at Fire Station Park.

Quandt, a former aldermanic candidate, said he took over as organizer this year after riding along on two Kidical Mass outings last year.

"I was a blocker," he said. "It was just a lot of fun. The kids faces lighting up was fantastic."

Festive dress and decorations are encouraged and kids are expected to bring a parent or guardian along for the ride.

Last year's Lincoln Park rides averaged about 20 participants, and Quandt hopes to increase that this year.

Leaders of the pack will ride ahead and block off intersections to traffic to make way for the group to ride through. There are always adults at both the front and back to ensure safety of the group.

Quandt plans to be at the front with music blasting from his bike.

"Just being able to ride through the neighborhood on the streets teaching kids and families about safe biking and what it means to bike safely in the streets, I think is fantastic," he said. "The more we can spread it the better."

The first ride on May 30 will finish at Lincoln Central Neighborhood Association's Spring Zing event where Performance Bicycles will be conducting bike checks at Lincoln Central Park at Lincoln and Dickens.

A group from Lurie Children's Hospital's bike safety team will also be at the event.

The full schedule of Lincoln Park Kidical Mass rides, which all leave from Oz Park:

May 30 - 9:30 a.m.

June 28 - 4 p.m.

July 28 - 4 p.m.

Aug. 23 - 4 p.m.

Sept. 13 - 4 p.m.

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