Holiday Rampage ride 2008

Jolly horde of mischievous Santas storm bustling retail areas spreading holiday bike love.

Annual tradition started with lunch at Twisted Spoke, built to a dozen+, rode roundabout to Binny's (booze), to Navy Pier's closed under construction tip, to Water Tower park, to Macy's (and up to see Santa), to Daley Plaza, about a dozen miles for me total over four+ hours. Blessed by perfect weather, spirits were high and rambunctious. Big ups all!

As a performer, I have an inventory of holiday costuming, including a never used $9.99 Santa suit bought after last year at Target, maybe $4. Packed it up with everything remotely elfin I could find including ear hat, robin hood bits, makeup, stripey socks, even antlers+lighting nose, and FULL BIKE WINTER UNDERGEAR. Checked radar and forecasts as is ardent of my ilk. Grabbed Becky (my bike) and Red Lined in urban trooper mode wearing winter cammo and 30lb pack. Stowed gear and donned mission suit at downtown checkpoint Sierra.

Joined group at Twisted spoke and scolded all for no costumes, only to see them besuit later. Note to self, next year come early for food. Ho-Ho-Ho3ard clearly wore my identical suit, and told a story of Chicago South areas where street numbering to mileage is differently scaled. TC's costume was perfectly wrong, my highest compliments. Bad Santa is a lite Hollywood version in comparison, and there was nearly no moment at which he was not publicly holding booze. Julie and Jody came as perfectly matching elves, a phenomenally rare perfection of character. There was also a Grinch, a north pole administrative services accountant in black, Dreidel Dan and other usual suspects.

First stop booze. We were AMAZINGLY tolerated at Binny's, no doubt spending little compared to most of the crate bearers passing. Some elves even used their water closet. Security scolded us calmly eight+ times (did we later gave him cookies?). Many friendly elderly inquired and joy was shared in a "we're doing it just for fun" answer. Santas strolling liquor aisles is sooooo wrong, but the elves more so were hard-core. Finally outside the Dreidel made a touching commemorative speech to Dr. Dan Kliman, recently deceased out of state, who wore a bright pink Dreidel suit establishing the event years ago. Worth noting, there is discussion about this being a Dreidel or Santa ride. I hereby dub it "costumed holiday ride" henceforth.

Rode to Navy Pier, taking back access. Security greeted, mistaking for performers, and relayed "just some people bike riding for fun" to hq. Upon remerging pack (got a great oncoming video) all ventured boldly out into construction area, literally sloped broken stone and metal, and suddenly it was a marauders ride. AMAZINGLY we loitered at the pier tip being as such a pack will be for half an hour of revelry and drinking (and chilly but appreciated portapotty). I shared tastes seemingly from kerosene to grape punch. Finally left for Michigan in extreme winds.

Rode to Water tower loosely and I found myself corking some. Just a practical matter, a pack can't always wait for every single crossing car to pass before making a turn; one must assert and control stray drivers. Play at Water Tower (park) was among my favorite parts. Much giant Dreidel spinning and getting in tourist photos. We probably made the days of and gave lasting memories and stories to literally hundreds of passer-bys, many foreign. And the presence of bikes was obvious; we were not just holiday characters, but BIKING holiday characters.

Broke out South on Michigan to Macys! Everywhere people honked and shouted happy holiday greetings. We enjoyed great safety; no motorist wants to hit a Santa cyclist. AMAZINGLY Macy's didn't intercept nine costumed rowdies taking four escalator flights up, insisting on audience with Santa, crossing lines, and finally leaving only on the persistent insistence of a lovely employee, who though a known cyclist, was duty-bound to gatekeep in fairness to hundreds of waiting kids. The elevator ride down and seeing the faces of people when the door opened, were once in a lifetime.

Round a few corners we wrapped at ChristKindl market in Daley Plaza where I split and others lingered. Finally a train ride home reflecting and nodding off. Feeling rich for a life so vital, so many parades and cheers, and so many memories of seeing Santas peeing.