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Old 03-25-08, 09:13 PM   #1
BrooklynRider
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NYC Critical Mass. Never seen one.

I was thinking of checking it out.

From what I have read, it's supposed to be a civil and lawful, unorganized advocacy ride. On the other hand, the reputation for rabble rousing is there as well. How can an unorganized ride be certain of lawfulness by participants? I guess the organizers can only hope.

Anyway, I think I want to see one for myself before forming an unmovable opinion. I commute and can pass by Union Square around 7 on Friday, anyway. Might be interesting to see citizens adamant about enjoying lawful assembly. And if the assembly is just a mob of unlawful rabble, I'll know it when I see it, and ride away. If the authorities are heavy-handed jack-boots, then I'll ride away faster!

Has anyone ridden in one of these?

I know there are a lot of opinions from cyclists that never rode in a CM event, but I'd rather hear opinions from people, positive and negative, who actually rode in a one or witness from a motor vehicle or as a pedestrian.

Thanks. Happy Spring!

Last edited by BrooklynRider; 03-25-08 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 03-25-08, 09:48 PM   #2
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Anyway, I think I want to see one for myself before forming an unmovable opinion.
Good idea. Let's talk about it more then.
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Old 03-26-08, 04:32 AM   #3
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i did at least once in sf and it was great. one of the best things i've ever been a part of in my life.
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Old 03-26-08, 04:52 AM   #4
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i did at least once in sf and it was great. one of the best things i've ever been a part of in my life.
Opinions of Critical Mass aside, you're either very young or you need to get out more.
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Old 03-26-08, 05:58 AM   #5
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Wonderful concept, but like anything that involves humans it's as good as the people involved. When you get stupid people doing stupid things then it's looked at in just that way.
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Old 03-26-08, 12:09 PM   #6
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Opinions of Critical Mass aside, you're either very young or you need to get out more.
not young, unfortunately! need to get out more? don't we all?

but seriously - it was really great.
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Old 03-26-08, 02:48 PM   #7
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Seattle CM is huge (200+ turnout even in the dark of winter, more like 500 in summer), and well worth it.

there have been a few "incidents," but the main one that i saw was caused by a cop, not by CM. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...rrests04m.html

just like any protest, you may have "miscreants" that wanna break sh1t, but 99% of riders are out to have fun and that's it.

give it a shot!
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Old 03-26-08, 07:09 PM   #8
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Schedule permtting, I'll be doing my first CM ride this Friday in Costa Mesa CA. Let y'all know how it turns out.
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Old 03-26-08, 07:30 PM   #9
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Last Sept 2007 CM caused/created (?) a ruckus in Minneapolis. While I think it's a good idea, there's always bound to be a few bad apples in every group (except here of course).

http://kstp.com/article/stories/S182257.shtml?cat=1
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Old 03-28-08, 09:43 PM   #10
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Well I rode tonights Critical Mass in NYC.

Folks were expecting the worst like last year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tp9GILT_4A

This ride was pleasant and nice. A bunch of cars were inconvenienced briefly, lots of horn honkers and one road rage woman who ran a red light just to menace us screaming crap out the window of her Mercedes SUV...

Otherwise, it was a very tame civil-disobedience rally. A very positive experience overall. I saw no vandalism. Far from. Peds cheered the group. The group chanted "Less Cars! More Bikes!" "Who's Streets? Our Streets!" Etc.

The threat of getting harassed or arrested for nothing by the police was a bummer. Nothing happened this time. I think the cops realize that such heavy handedness against a small civil disobedience is just stupid. Looks bad and makes people feels bad. This Critical Mass was pretty tame, and overall, positive.

A Tibet rally was on the other side of the Union Square Park. That was a deeply solemn affair.

Maybe the authorities have gained a little perspective, that trying to bust a bunch of law students for doing a constitutionally lawful assembly was a dumb idea to begin with. Well, at least I hope such is the case.
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Old 03-29-08, 08:00 AM   #11
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I fail to see where civil-disobedience is necessary at all. If you want to ride on the street to go from point A to point B you have that right under the VTL of the State of NY (aka State of Confusion). Obey the traffic laws. I think that's what tweaks most cagers. When people get in their vehicles many feel the world should revolve around them. "Don't get in my space" is the first step toward road rage. Until people get used to bicycles you are going to have that. This country as a whole is partially responsible. We tend to look at bicycles as recreation only for the most part. That view needs to be widened a bit. Congrads on the successful ride. It's rides like that I believe make a better impression on non riders than dummies that are out to make a statement at all cost.
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Old 03-29-08, 09:58 AM   #12
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Opinions of Critical Mass aside, you're either very young or you need to get out more.
And you unprovoked, off-topically insulting someone you dont know
has contributed to this thread, how ??



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Old 03-29-08, 07:44 PM   #13
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I fail to see where civil-disobedience is necessary at all.
You've never felt naked as a solo cyclist in vehicular traffic? Maybe not naked, but invisible. The civil-disobedience, per se, is directed towards drivers, not the authorities.

I agree with the rest of your post whole-heartedly, except on the roads, as a commuter on a bike, the VHT laws don't protect me very much in reality/practicality. I wish it were different. I don't run lights commuting, and very much need to be extra-aware of cars who simply never realize or even think cyclists are on the road at all and deserve consideration.

Aside for road-raging motorists, who can't be saved but for the Lord, Friday night city traffic should learn a little patience for non-cars-and-trucks.

I always feel for the utility cyclists who deal with vehicles who never see them. In NYC, delivery cyclists bare the brunt. I wish those folks were more visible in general riding to deliver General Chou's or Sal's Pizza, squeeking chain and all.

Honestly, I really think it is FAR to easy to get a drivers license. The privilege should be more difficult to attain and maintain. Flash recovery. Spacial estimation. Etc.

All the best.
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Old 03-30-08, 07:34 AM   #14
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Living in NY, not NYC, and having worked in law enforcement for more than 20 yrs I have some experience with cagers. I believe in Germany the cost of a drivers lic. is in excess of $1000. Actually it is most likely more given the value of the dollar these days. Individual driver training prior to licensing is mandatory. Riding with 2 or 3 other kids in a drivers ed class to me just does not make it. A more extensive written test is also given. There are many other things I can think of however the point is I agree with you. I also agree with your take on how the civil disobedience should be directed. The object of making friends and not enemies in creating a better bicycle friendly enviroment is sometimes overlooked by some. I always told my guys, If you wish to be treated as a professional you must look and BE professional in your actions.
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Old 04-17-08, 11:03 PM   #15
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I love Critical Mass. I agree that the young, angry rabble rousing crowd may be bad for our cause. That's why reasonable and peaceful people like us need to be there as well, to help keep things calm.

Next weekend on April 25th I will be at Chicago Critical Mass. Meet at 5 pm to 6 pm at Daley Plaza in the Loop. You can't miss it. It just happens. I will be riding my bike with loaded panniers (full of stuffed newspapers), red Ortlieb panniers. So if you see me, with my fully loaded titanium touring bike, say hi. Be there.

I have been at Critical Mass in other cities too. I would love to ride in New York, but I've never been there on a nice weather day at the right time of month. When I travel this summer (by bicycle) in Europe, I will try to be at Critical Mass cities on the days of rides. It is a world wide movement.

Mass up!

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Old 04-18-08, 11:33 PM   #16
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At least the NYPD isn't arresting everyone this year for riding, before they even start riding.
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