Closing Time

Last Friday, I was ready to stay home and watch season five of Top Chef on dvd. When I heard that Gin and Lisa were heading to the closing party of the 14th Annual Chicago Bike Winter Art Show in Pilsen, I decided to tag along for the ride. I was a gadabout all last week and was looking forward to a date with my couch, but what's better than stupid t.v.? A chilly early Spring ride with the ladies trumps Netflix any time!


A ride from Logan Square to Pilsen is a good distance and we were looking forward to a night on the south side. It was cold and windy, but least the pavement was dry.  Have I mentioned how much I don't like riding lately? Spring should be a time when I'm filled with the joy and promise of a new season. The sun shines. The birds are chirping. Little green nubbins poke from the once bare tree branches. Still--I'm vexed by this season. It's windy. It's damp. It's the kind of damp that makes its way right into my bones and seems to require far too many shots of whiskey to take away that penetrating chill. (I don't really like whiskey, so my intake is limited.)  Nevertheless, we made it there quickly, riding briskly across the Chicago streets while doing our best to avoid all the potholes.


This is the first year the art show was curated and the caliber of the work was remarkable. Steven Lane and Stuart Hall did an amazing job at organizing the show. I didn't have my camera on opening night, but Chicago Urban Art Society captured much of the work and the spirit of the opening night of the show with their flickr set. See that here.


One of my favorite pieces is an interactive piece by Walk Bike Transit called Beyond Bike Lanes: A Design Charrette.  (All those links take you to photos of it.) A design charrette is an exercise that lets many people provide input on a design model. Using the Chicago Bike Map and the Bike 2015 Plan as a springboard, people were invited to map out their ride to work, pinpoint issues that affect safety, and identify ambitious plans for the future. Obviously, this participant is a braver winter cyclist than I:


The closing party was as much about the art and the community and the party itself. We missed the puppet show and my wallet was light so I couldn't shop the local bike related vendors, but we did manage to catch Chicago's new BMX dance troupe, The Racketeers.  My camera is a low-end digital thing, so you'll have to just imagine these terrible pictures as frenetic, fun-filled action shots. Wee!




A fashion show organized by Rapid Transit Cycleshop was next up on the agenda. A few local shops participated in this event. Each shop distinctively represented the style and sensibility of their organization. Expressive and fun, the runway show was more about the bikes themselves than the fashion the riders wore. Our emcee was funny and engaging and got the crowd excited. (Again, apologies for the lame-ass photos.)

Rapid Trans in da house showing their Kona love:

Roscoe Village bikes rolled out on house designed "his and hers" Chicago commuter bikes:

West Town Bikes--they really want a grant, please:


Dutch delights on parade from Copenhagen Cyclery.

Blue City Cycles Night of the Living Zombies:


This print, Chicago Style:1893, is on my wish list. It will be in my kitchen as soon as I find a place to hang it. (Walls are full!)


The PBR fueled bike ride home was super speedy because Alex set the pace on his his zippy little girl's bike. I'm very fortunate to have such nice friends and neighbors in my 'hood. Thanks for riding with me, Alex. 

Cool entertainment, wonderful art, and many new and familiar faces--what a fun way to spend a Friday night! Bike Winter, I like how you roll.