By Touie Li
It was an afternoon in early July. A group of “alleycats” were on their bicycles cruising through the streets of downtown Shanghai. They were riding without a fixed route. To an outside observer it might have looked like a competition, but for those participating, it didn’t have that competitive vibe at all. It was more like a friends reunion. After all, all these ’cats’ had been locked in their houses for almost 2 months. They came from all over the place, talking to each other with different accents, got different bikes and styles, but they got along with each other just by simply riding their bikes together. It was a lovely weekend day for people to hang out, and behind all the laughter and hug it even had a greater meaning and goal – to help raise money for Ukraine.
An Alleycat is a non-profit event. The rules for an Alleycat are simple. Every rider is given a list of locations. The rider must then map out the fastest and most efficient route between the checkpoints, ride to all locations, collect all the stamps (given at each checkpoint), and cross the finish line in one piece. For this event, riders had 30 minutes before race time to map their routes. The top three finishers received prizes, but ALL participants enjoyed drinks, food, and products from the sponsors.
Chris Rees was the organizer behind this event. Chris is a fixed-gear bike rider, skateboarder, and film photographer. For this event, he invited his friends in Shanghai to help. He had a Shanghai local tattoo artist create a theme graphic for the event (see picture below), and he printed some shirts for all donators of the event.
Chris Rees是这次Alellycat骑行募捐活动的组织者，同时也是一位自行车爱好者，滑手以及胶片摄影师。他邀请了在上海的滑手和朋友们前来做志愿者，同时还联络到了纹身艺术家50为活动设计主题版画。参与活动捐款的骑行爱好者Chris 也向大家免费赠送了Alleycat活动T恤。
Lil black rider cat, v cute, innit? 背着书包的小黑猫，就问你喜不喜欢？
The early birds got there to register early.
Edan MC’ed the event. He’s the brand manager of Team Healthy, one of the event’s sponsors. The whole event couldn’t have gone down successfully without him and his girlfriend Nana’s help. Mad respect!
The Volunteer Duo —— Daddy Len and and his awesome daughter Ahna.
父女志愿者组合 Len & Ahna。
Before the start of the event, cats chatted about what their life had been like since being set free.
In alleycats, routes are not defined. It’s up to the rider to plan the fastest route!
Chris knew y’all couldn’t wait to start, so he purposefully had you guys wait longer that you should have… Um just kidding!
When it was time to set off, riders were ready to go fast!
He said to himself, “I got this!”
Look at this mountain bike dude doing wheelies on the street with zero effort.
En route! Street riding never gets old!
Chris prepared some nice pizzas for hungry riders after their 20 kilometer mission was done.
After stuffing their tummies, our host Edan proudly announced the champions. Peter Dixie was crowned the winner. Goodies in the pocket!
A group photo was a must! This was such a rare weekend cycling ended. I hope everyone had fun and the high spirits and donations can be sent to the trenches in Ukraine with love and hope!
This Alleycat event connected everyone together. The organizer Chris shed some light on how this event came to be:
“The whole idea of putting together an alleycat was a way to remind me of back home in New York. I participated in alleycats, sprints, and group rides since I got my first job working at a bike shop fixing flat tires. Like many people, I haven’t been home since the beginning of covid, so I wanted to bring some of those moments here.
Turning the event into a fundraiser came to me with all the chaos in the world going on. Our covid situation sucks, but it’s better than all the bullshit going on everywhere else. We can come together and do our part no matter how big or small our contribution is.
At first it was meant to be small – a small fundraiser with a handful of friends. Soon after the idea got out, more and more friends began to offer their help, whether it was by volunteering, sponsoring, or just helping to spread the word. The fundraiser was more than I, or anyone helping, had hoped for. We raised just over 8,000rmb and had over 60 different donators. All in all, it was a huge success, and I’m already excited for the next one.”
Huge shoutout to Chris Rees for organizing this event. His nickname in Chinese is “铁柱” (Metal Pillar).
Photographer: Dong Ziyan
Editor: Touie Li
Supervisor: Emmanuel Lemire