The Heart Ride

North Side Critical Mass 2013.07.12. Route and art by Andrew Bedno.
I'd been toying with the idea of a heart shaped bike ride route for a few months. Inspired by a similar idea done for a commercial, around Valentine's Day 2013 I started considering practical possibilities in Chicago and seeded a discussion and planning thread. The idea was right up my alley, as one who's enjoyed some practice in bike route as art.

Eventually I roughed out some options for downtown and north side masses and considered various orientations and contours. I finally took some days to developed 8, 14 and 19 miles variations for the north side. The largest would require some major non-bike streets and the smallest is too blocky. The mid-length one is a bit coarse but usually recognized immediately on sight.

So on Friday July 12 2013 the North Side Critical Mass humored my art and dived in with gusto. Maybe 40 riders started, including Pedal to the People, an entire young family with daughters, many regulars and a friendly man with his large parrot! All went very comfortably, but we did add a beer stop that pushed the total time much later than planned. By the glorious James Park at half-way, many were content to stay. After a time about a dozen set off to finish, including the man and parrot. Some miles later on the Skokie sculpture path we paused when the parrot became cranky, and scrounged crackers and popcorn to make him happy. Eventually we finished the route perfectly, passing the family (who had shortcutted for ice cream) and continued on for dinner and drinks at Kopi Cafe where other riders already awaited.

Special thanx to John Woo for both finding my girlfriend's dropped purse (priceless!) and for correcting a wrong turn.

See the actual heart shaped ride plot on

Download the printable 4-up Flyer PDF here.

Current iteration of future downtown heart shaped mass candidate.

The Heart Ride