Many years ago I was riding my bicycle on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail, rolling south past Oak Street Beach, near the Hancock Tower. It was a beautiful summer day and the path was really crowded with people walking, jogging and cycling. I was working as a bike messenger at the time.
As I was riding I saw this guy heading towards me. He was this tall, brawny skinhead on Rollerblades, skating north. He was wearing wraparound sunglasses and a t-shirt that said “WHITE POWER” with a big swastika on it. I myself had a shaved head and I was wearing wraparound shades at the time, but I’m a short, skinny Jew.
I crossed paths with this guy and it took a moment for the significance of his t-shirt to register, but a few seconds afterwards I thought to myself, “I’ve got to say something to him.” So I did a U-turn on the path and rode up alongside him and said something kind of lame to him like, “You know, I really don’t appreciate you wearing that t-shirt on the Lakefront Trail.”
He replied in a deep, monotone, robotic voice, “Thank you. I value your opinion.” That must be his stock phrase for when people confront him, and it was pretty effective. I was actually pretty freaked out and I immediately slammed on the brakes and did another U-turn without looking. The path was really crowded, so I almost got killed doing that. I looked behind me and the skinhead was silently skating off into the distance. It was a very sinister experience.
8 thoughts on “A run-in with a neo-Nazi on the Lakefront Trail”
for some reason, the vision of a neo-nazi on rollerblades is quite amusing.
Yes, it was a strange combo of repugnant ideology and yuppie recreational gear.
i noticed your links to chicago bike laws and lawyer jim freeman. he helped me a couple years ago. he’s the man.
Lawyer Jim is a great asset to the local bike scene. He’s won settlements for many cyclists.
At least you didn’t crash into him – that might have been more awkward, but quite probable on the busy Lakefront Trail.
Was this guy getting looks from other trail users?
I didn’t notice that he was, but when I almost caused a crash it was certainly a “scene.”
I think Elwood’s encounter with Illinois Nazis was more effective.
“I hate Illinois Nazis.”