I didn't realize the significance of what I saw last night during the LATE Ride, which came past my house at Roosevelt and State like it always does. Until I woke up this morning. And I realized I didn't take any pictures.
I've written about the LATE Ride--a very popular all night summer bike ride around the city that benefits the Friends of the Parks--a few times in recent years here and here and here. State and Roosevelt is always on the route in one direction or the other. So I thought I'd seen and said it all already. But because it was the middle of the night when I sat on the stoop watching, I didn't have my wits about me--and two interesting points about it emerged that I should have taken some pictures of.
I'll try to make up for that by simply describing the changes. With some morning pictures of what I'm talking about.
Usually the ride--as it comes past my house--lasts hours. And if cars were trapped at the intersection or a cab in a driveway or a vehicle trying to get home on a side street or a bus full of people--not to mention pedestrians trying to cross the street--well that was just tough luck. There was a delay. A delay of hours.
But this year, the riders came in groups. There were a few minutes between groups--large contigents of riders who left from Columbus Drive around Buckingham Fountain, who then traveled south to Roosevelt, west on Roosevelt and south on State to Archer. The groups were made to wait several minutes as they gathered on the northeast corner of Roosevelt and State so that waiting cars and pedestrians could get through. A cop directed the traffic, holding back the bike groups, bunching them up and slowing them way down, until the vehicles and pedestrians cleared the intersection and it was safe to go. While this change inconvenienced drivers, riders and pedestrians much, much less, it detracted from the drama of seeing hordes and hordes of bikes coming and coming and coming for hours on end. At a very swift pace. The schedules of others be damned.
Here is the corner in the upper left that I am talking about where the bikes had to wait.
The other thing that was different this year was that the former cleaners that was across from my house has been replaced with a Bedding Experts. Which keeps its fluorescent lights lit brightly all night long. So instead of a darkened backdrop for me to watch the mass of bikes of all kinds pass my house on State, the mass of bikes competed with a bright backdrop, thereby decreasing the drama even more.
Here's the Bedding Experts I am talking about in the daylight. At night it's all lit up and you can see several beds all made up inside with sheets and spreads and big comfy pillows. Not exactly the kind of stage setting you want to see with thousands of bikers riding past in the dead of night. Dark and quiet is so much better....