I submitted the following for the May issue of the Derailleur, the un-official publication of Chicago Critical Mass.
For years before finding Critical Mass I aspired to be a cyclist. As a car-owner, however, there was always the auto-pull that I found very difficult to resist without support from others. In 2002, I somehow found out about and turned up at the Car Show Protest ride, which was the first time I'd ever ridden in a group. That ride down Wabash was truly inspiring, with car-related businesses on both sides, but the street belonging to bikes.
That same spring I joined I-Go car-sharing service which helped me
overcome my fear of not having a car of my own. Riding in the Mass every month (starting with the May Day ride to the Hideout) helped me to see that I could do it. My rides for errands got longer and longer and soon I saw myself as car-free. I only used the I-Go car once or twice because the bike and/or public transportation always just made more sense.
Then about a year and a half ago, I found out about the demise of the Edgewood and an effort just begun to start a bikey housing cooperative. After more than a year working with dozens of other cyclists learning about neighborhoods, looking at properties, designing a process for working together and making decisions, I'm now living (as a shareholder) at the Hub Housing Cooperative. We're doing remodeling and maintenance now and when we're finished will have 5 units, 8 people and no cars.
So thanks to Critical Mass I'm not only car-free myself but am living in the kind of community that I've always wanted. Live life as if the world you wanted to live in already exists.