In the same vein as the global bicycling gathering Critical Mass, Chicago’s branch of Kidical Mass so too operates in the hope of garnering more attention for alternative forms of transportation. But the main goal, organizer Saskia Hofman said, is to get families out into the neighborhood and encourage children to practice bike riding safely.
Similar to Critical Mass, Kidical Mass is a monthly gathering of bicyclists who travel the streets in a large group, raising awareness for their cause.
“The idea is for families, this is a kid-friendly ride,” Hofman said. “The point is to encourage families to ride with their kids, and to learn how to do it safely, and also for kids to learn how to ride safely, including on the street.”
The Lincoln Square Kidical Mass, which started in last March, is one of three such meet-ups in the city each month, with the other two held in Logan Square and Hyde Park.
The Logan Square version of Kidical Mass was instrumental in helping Lincoln Square’s get it’s footing, Hofman said.
“We saw the event happening in Logan Square regularly, and there’s a nice group of bicycle advocates in families down in Logan Square, but it’s a little hard to get down there. There’s not a very nice route to ride with kids on bikes,” Hofman said. “We started a discussion on The Chain Link about [a version of Kidical Mass in Lincoln Square] and the folks down in Logan Square were really supportive…They were very helpful in coming up and helping us lead the first few rides.”
Hofman added that the Lincoln Square Kidical Mass, which typically sees between 30-40 attendees each month, is always scheduled so as not to conflict with the Logan Square version of the ride.
Another byproduct of the four-mile, hour-long ride is a fostering of community, Hofman added, with each monthly ride taking a different route, often incorporating other events that may be going on in the area.
Lincoln Square’s Kidical Mass is held on the third Saturday of each month at 10:30 a.m., with the ride starting in Welles Park gazebo.