Bicyclists to take over Detroit streets for Critical Massquerade

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Zombies, pirates, black cats and obscure movie characters — as well as people who are simply interested in a bike ride — will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 at the corner of Trumbull and Warren to participate in the Halloween edition of Detroit Critical Mass, a monthly cycling event that was founded in San Francisco in the early ’90s and has since expanded internationally.

On the last Friday of every month, in cities all over the country, riders come together at a designated meeting place and embark on a bike ride that weaves through city streets. Part of this demonstration is intended to raise awareness of bicyclists’ rights — “same road, same rules” — on streets that are dominated by motorists who are usually less than pleased to have a bicyclist in their lane. The other motivation for the ride is pure fun and shared interest — and in this case, with Halloween in the offing, maybe showing up the guy who flawlessly impersonated Elliot from E.T. (complete with alien in basket) last year.

Once again, Detroit will be host to a diverse crowd of Halloween revelers on wheels, ranging from ghosts on training wheels to daredevils balancing atop penny-farthings and unicycles. Some will be elaborately costumed, like the tandem riders who last year constructed a costume of the Internet meme “Alot,” a horned, single-toothed monster representative of poor grammar in online forums and blogs. But no matter what, the order of the costumed ride is originality — even if that means just coming as yourself.

The improvised course of 13 to 20 miles is intended to make it possible for everyone to join in. The speed is leisurely, allowing young and old alike to experience Detroit from a different perspective. Veteran Critical Mass riders “cork,” or physically block, intersections, ensuring a safe passage for the entire group. Riders at the back yell, “Mass up!” when gaps between riders become too wide, so riders at the front know to slow down and maintain the continuity of the group.

Regardless of whether you ride 30 miles a day or you’re not quite sure that your bike is even still in the garage, the Halloween Detroit Critical Mass is a good reason to pump up those flat tires, plan a funky costume, and discover the Motor City on two wheels instead of four.

Join the Detroit Critical Mass group on Facebook for event updates.

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