I had no peripheral vision with my cat mask on. NOT a good idea when you’re riding a bike, balancing your camera for the perfect motion shot and surrounded by hundreds of people.
For some, the idea of thousands of cyclists dressed like skeletons riding together through the narrow streets of Mexico City’s centro historico sounds not only horrifying but dangerous, but to me there was a certain quiet exhilaration to it. Here was the perfect picture of what this mega-metropolis would be like if it were bikes only — quieter and cleaner but with just as many traffic jams and idiot drivers.
No visions of Norwegian tranquility here — this city is a mass of humanity with or without vehicles.
Thousands of bikers, skateboarders and runners must have come for the Dia de
los Muertos night bike ride last Saturday. Some of them didn’t quite get the point — they ran or biked in fancy Backcountry apparel, silent and focused as if it were the Boston marathon. Most of these “serious” participants faded away before we hit the grit and crumble of the historic center, but the core revelers braved the darkness and chaos of downtown only to re-merge, no worse for the wear, back on Reforma Avenue with their more cautious cousins.
If my vision was obstructed I’d hate to think about the guy wearing the paper mâché skull on his head or another wearing a Roman helmet, but overall there were fewer people dressed up than I expected.
Maybe it was the event’s website’s threatening tone — that if you didn’t plan on wearing a Day of the Dead-themed costume you should really just forget about it. But I saw none of the organizers pulling the six-year-old devil or the eight-year-old clown off their bikes for inappropriate outfits.
The kids definitely made the night and in a country with a spotty trick-or-treat tradition the paseo was a great opportunity for them to show off those Halloween costumes that they begged their parents for.
When I heard two teenagers earlier talking about having “a Halloween” Thursday and another on Friday I realized there is some real holiday confusion going on in Mexico. The ride, appropriately was the perfect storm of calaveras, superheros and just plain weirdos.
I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Only next time I’m painting my face so I can see when a zombie is about to crash into my bike.