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Old 08-13-05, 10:20 PM   #1
killahkosha
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Seattle Critical Mass?

Heya, I'm somewhat new to cycling and I hear of this thing called a critical mass? I kinda get the idea of what it is and what it is all about. My question is...do many "normal" people go to it. I mean from the description to me it sounds like just a bunch of stoned out hippies would go...

-Jason Keller
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Old 08-13-05, 11:08 PM   #2
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In my area, some people go to get noticed by breaking the law, and others go to ride in large numbers legally. It depends on what you believe will best get the message across. YMMV.
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Old 08-14-05, 06:36 AM   #3
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Personal opinion only, I have never gone.

Causing other people inconvenience for a cause is something I can accept, even if I don't believe in the cause.

Causing other people inconvenience only because you can I refuse to accept as legitimate.

My understanding is that CM has no organization, and therefore no agenda, so guess where I fall on the issue?



I can't imagine any way that CM presents cyclists in a positive light, so if it is advocacy, I believe it is ineffective.

If you want to have fun and go, all I have to say is that I am glad it doesn't happen in my town.
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Old 08-17-05, 12:55 PM   #4
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**** Heya, I'm somewhat new to cycling and I hear of this thing called a critical mass? I kinda get the idea of what it is and what it is all about. My question is...do many "normal" people go to it. I mean from the description to me it sounds like just a bunch of stoned out hippies would go... ****

i don't feel like expounding on it.. so...

http://www.scorcher.org/cmhistory/

hippies? yeah.. not so accurate.
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Old 08-17-05, 03:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killahkosha
Heya, I'm somewhat new to cycling and I hear of this thing called a critical mass? I kinda get the idea of what it is and what it is all about. My question is...do many "normal" people go to it. I mean from the description to me it sounds like just a bunch of stoned out hippies would go...

-Jason Keller
This smells of troll but I think it might be good!
Personally,
I think riding slowly to intentionally offend motorists does little long-term good for cycling advocacy. Getting a large group to ride together to show that we are traffic, on the other hand, is great. The problem is that the freaks are what people will remember, not normal people traveling by bicycle. So CM's with lots of freaks will result in cycling being viewed as even more of a fringe activity as a result of their so-called "activism".
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Old 08-17-05, 03:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Sawtooth
This smells of troll but I think it might be good!
Personally,
I think riding slowly to intentionally offend motorists does little long-term good for cycling advocacy. Getting a large group to ride together to show that we are traffic, on the other hand, is great. The problem is that the freaks are what people will remember, not normal people traveling by bicycle. So CM's with lots of freaks will result in cycling being viewed as even more of a fringe activity as a result of their so-called "activism".
I agree that this seems a bit trollish, but who gets to decide what the definition of a freak? An OCP roadie surrounded by a bunch of commuters and messengers looks a bit freakish, but not so on a Sunday group ride. And to me what is freakish is someone needing 6,000lbs of SUV to transport a single person to and from work each day. Why aren't people pointing and laughing at these folks and calling them out for holding up traffic and wasting resources.

I'm sorry, but I'm all for these rides and feel sorry for the folks that get all bent about CM not being mainstream advocacy. As long as people are complaining and the cops are showing up to arrest folks in my opinion than the activists are actually accomplishing something. I know there are different meanings for CM for everyone, but for me the rides point to the hypocrisy of our current transportation and energy policies. The hippy and freak labeling is just an ad-hominim attack to avoid engaging in any real discussion on the issue.
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Old 08-17-05, 04:33 PM   #7
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I really wasn't trying to troll, I was just looking through the pictures from a critical mass a month ago http://www.rideyourbike.com/criticalmass.html

and when I look at that I just see a bunch of stoned out hippies not wearing any helmets or anything while riding on their contraptions. I have nothing at all against the hardcore roadie, but these guys seem far from a hardcore roadie...

-Jason Keller
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Old 08-17-05, 04:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Treespeed
I agree that this seems a bit trollish, but who gets to decide what the definition of a freak? An OCP roadie surrounded by a bunch of commuters and messengers looks a bit freakish, but not so on a Sunday group ride. And to me what is freakish is someone needing 6,000lbs of SUV to transport a single person to and from work each day. Why aren't people pointing and laughing at these folks and calling them out for holding up traffic and wasting resources.

I'm sorry, but I'm all for these rides and feel sorry for the folks that get all bent about CM not being mainstream advocacy. As long as people are complaining and the cops are showing up to arrest folks in my opinion than the activists are actually accomplishing something. I know there are different meanings for CM for everyone, but for me the rides point to the hypocrisy of our current transportation and energy policies. The hippy and freak labeling is just an ad-hominim attack to avoid engaging in any real discussion on the issue.
Good points. I guess I used the word freak when I really meant to refer to those who willfully disobey the laws and even become destructive during CMs just because there is little likelihood of being held accountable. That is what hurts the movement. I was pleased to see that the SF history site included an essay condemming such actions. I would absolutely love to participate in a peacful CM but if I simply would not be comfortable being part of a confrontational group that had intentions of purposefully irritating motorists who had done nothing to provoke them. That is just not in my nature. I do not see motorists as a group who need to be reminded, but would prefer to focus my "education" on that one jerk who just passed me and cut me off to turn right.

Moreover, I do not really feel inhibited by cars in terms of my ability to ride quickly through the city on my bike. I am willing to wait for green at lights even though I legally don't have to in Idaho. That is just good social behavior.
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Old 08-17-05, 05:08 PM   #9
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I'd rather hang with the 'helmetless stoned hippies on their contraptions' than with 'hard core roadies', anyday. Just for starters, they look like they're having a hell of a lot more fun than your average roadie ever does. Second, anyone with the cash can go out and buy an expensive road bike and lycra getup, but it takes some skills to build your own chopper, tall bike or spin cycle, and put a real costume together for a Critical Mass ride.

BTW - they all look a lot too young to be 'hippies'...
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Old 08-17-05, 07:16 PM   #10
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I am a critical mass of one on my daily commute. My critical mass of one probably does more for cycling than the once a month social event.
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Old 08-19-05, 05:02 PM   #11
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Those pictures are mostly of an after-party attended by a core group of crazies that decided to dress up that month. (I'm in the white tyvek jumpsuit and hardhat).

the bulk of the mass was normal people in normal clothes on normal bikes.
Critical mass is a great time. You don't have to break any laws (although most people do roll through some red lights to stay with the group), you don't have to confront anyone. You just have to enjoy bicycling.
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Old 08-19-05, 05:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CB HI
I am a critical mass of one on my daily commute. My critical mass of one probably does more for cycling than the once a month social event.
All it takes is one bicyclist to be CM. http://www.critical-mass.org/
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Old 08-19-05, 05:50 PM   #13
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Looked like fun to me. Lighten up folks.
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