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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know that it was 100% paved roads and trails, but it was a lot of fun and more than half of the ~9000ish participants were on mountain bikes, including me of course.

I'd never done a ride like this and I had a blast. It was 25 miles, 2/3 of which were on the streets in Chicago while the rest was on the lakefront path. We started right downtown in Grant Park at Buckingham fountain (think Married With Children) at 1:30 AM. For the first two miles, the streets were closed to cars, but during the rest of the ride it was cars + bikes. In reality though, there were only a few miles where there really were any significant amount of cars to deal with, and that was when we were pretty close to downtown and a lot of people were leaving the bars in taxis. We pretty much overwhelmed them, and surprisingly only two or three drivers were upset. Most were sort of surprised and even pleased to see us. I got a lot of high-fives as I passed cars that were hopelessly stuck in a sea of bikes. Some asked what we were riding for (fun mainly, but the event is for the benefit of the parks in Chicago and the proceeds are going to build two new parks in underpriveledged neighborhoods in Chicago) and some asked how many people there were. Both answers were met with smiles and thumbs up. Additionally, even the Chicago Police were in better spirits than normal. They were all very helpful and the only yelling I heard was directed at cars that didn't seem to be paying attention. At many intersections they stopped cars just so we could ignore the traffic lights. My buddy and I finished around 4:30 AM. The average speed seemed low, but there were rest stops, stop lights, and we did stop to help when the woman in front of us crashed and cracked her head open (alcohol + no helmet = BAD IDEA). At the end of the ride, we sat on the steps by Buckingham fountain, ate the breakfast we were given, and watched the sun rise over Lake Michigan.

We've both decided to do it again next year and are telling everyone we know that they should do it next year as well. It was that fun!

I brought my camera along, but it does not do well in low light, so almost nothing came out. Here is a poor photo of the crowd before the ride started:
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