Chicago Toys for Tots
December 2003

I woke up around 7:00 a.m. Sunday Dec 7, 2003 by the noise of a hell of a lot of rumbling. I thought the room I was in was coming down. I looked out and saw one hell of a lot of bikes of all kinds going down Pulaski Rd South. I remembered it was the Toy Drive after being out till 3:00 a.m. (rough if you know what I mean).

Well I went to the Kmart to do some toy buying. At the store you would have thought it was a bike shop or leather store. One hell of a bunch of Bro's and Sister's buying the last minute Toy they forgot.

As I made my tracks to a local Dunkin Donuts shop, the line to get in was so long it took roughly 20-30 min. to get a damn coffee. I finally made it to 83rd and Western to Dan Ryan Woods where the run started, at around 10 a.m. (only 3 miles from where I stayed).

The day was sunny, a little cool but nice, and I knew it would be one hell of a turnout. The park was jammed pack with all kinds of bikes & people. By the time it started, around noon, you couldn't get another bike in there. The park is just over 1/2 mile square each way. There were bikes all down 83rd St, Western Ave, and 87th St. surrounding the park.

I seen a lot of Bro's and Sister's I haven't seen in a while and what a nice place to talk about old times.

Because of the large amount of people, the run had to split into 8 different waves, with approximately 5,000 per wave. They had estimated about 41,000 bikes coming from all over. I seen people from Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, and even met a guy and his old lady from Portland, Oregon, who rode all the way.

I was there on the first run which had less than 25 bikes 25 years ago. Boy, things sure got strong. There was plenty of Pit Stops on the run from break down support to Arctic freeze stops, if you know what I mean.

This run has become the largest in the world, spanning about 15 miles long. It's a nice way to spend the 1st Sunday in December, for a ride and a good cause. I will be there next year too and I hope to see more old, and new friends.

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