Apr 2nd, 2009
Salt Lake has some die-hard cyclists. I met some of them at the SLC Critical Mass meeting/ride last week while conducting research for a Momentum Magazine assignment. The weather conditions that day weren’t particularly brutal, but the participants told me they stayed true to their bike commutes even through the bitterness of the Utah winter. One rider vowed to ride to school every day. And he had, even when the snow-covered ground required a unicycle equipped with a mountain bike tire. Another cyclist recently sold his car and instead tackles snowy paths with a studded bike snow tire.
I don’t envy the chilly weather conditions the SLC Critical Mass folks cycle in for a good part of the year. But I do envy the city they get to navigate. I think I would have a richer appreciation of Salt Lake if I could experience by bike more often. The brightly-lit, snowy Wasatch Mountains were dead ahead of us when we started out. As we passed by an Eastern Orthodox church, a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace” pumped out of the stereo of one rider’s homemade tall bike (like a horse, but with less stability). The stone and stained-glass Cathedral of Madeline was on the right as the mass headed west.
My photographer, McKenzie, was a hardcore as the cyclists she was following. Still, she and her driver, Austin, had trouble keeping up with the speedy pack because Critical Mass doesn’t have a set route. Simultaneously using my mobile and riding urban streets required more coordination than I had in that moment, so I had to pull over to update McKenzie on the riders’ location. Given my difficulties, I was pretty sure McKenzie would have had an even greater struggle managing both handlebars and an SLR. At least in the car she could leave the driving to someone else. Thanks, McKenzie, for your stealthy cameras kills and to Austin for chasing down the pack!
Keep your eye on this blog for more updates on my Momentum article research.