Picture a stock scene from The Fast and the Furious: a crowd milling in an open lot; rows and rows of tricked out cars rev their engines and flash neon lights; new entries gracefully skid up, and their drivers gracefully step out; buzz in the air; anticipation. Now take that scene and swap bikes for cars and that's pretty much how Tuesday Night Rides begins.
At TNR the entire biking world converges for a joyous celebration of biking. There are the Lance Armstrong bikes, regular Target mountain bikes, BMX bikes, beach cruisers, and unicycles. There's a bike with two wheels in the back, which makes it look like a chariot; and there are low-rider gangster bikes, with super long handlebars and an extra curvy South-Side frame.
With a couple whoops and shouts, the ride gets going. Even from the inside I knew the sight was something to behold, like watching a flock of Canadian geese embark. You know there's a leader out front, as does everyone else, but as you turn through streets and lanes, striking amazement in drivers and pedestrians, you feel as if you yourself know where you're going, and that the path is intuitive, natural, and right, guided by natural forces like magnetic poles.
Even though we ride as a pack, everyone does their own thing. Some face the road ahead, not saying anything. Others catch up on conversation. Others share cigarettes as they ride.
It's on Tuesday nights that bikers gather to claim back the streets. No longer confined to falling off the edge of the road, we stream through empty parking lots and take up both sides of empty lanes of quiet, dark neighborhoods. Sometimes dogs bark--and when we run through red lights cars honk—but we don't care. For once we don't yield.