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  1. #1
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Critical Mass... what is the story these days?

    Just saw the movie Bike Like U Mean It. Also noticed the comment on the judges ruling in NYC. So is CM alive and in your city?

  2. #2
    Senior Member larue's Avatar
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    CM is alive and growing in my city of Fort Myers Florida. www.fmcriticalmass.cjb.net
    Leave your treadmill power trip behind.

  3. #3
    crooklyn messenger
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    not an expert, went to my first CM last night.

    at union square NYC. judge told police, these guys DON't need a police permit to do their thing. police are there in MASS, why?

    they show up with tons of vans and plastic bands ready to hand cuff. they have a police van with loudspeakers broadcasting to the crowd to basically "be good" and follow the route on sheets of paper cops are handing out. crowd is told that if they deviate from route or break traffic laws they will be arrested. also told if you want to leave the ride you have to get off your bike and WALK away with it.

    my impression of the NYPD was

    1. they made it sound like it was a parade that THEY were sponsoring
    2. they meant to intimidate into submission-NO QUESTION

    the crowd was having fun, but also a little agitated, and talk in the crowd made it clear riders were not going to follow the "suggested" (more like mandated) route.

    riders broke off in smaller groups from the main group of reportedly almost 1,000. 30 something were arrested for traffic violations, etc. a few more were arrested later at a halloween party for i don't know what?

    question number one: since when do you get arrested for running a red light? i run a hundred or so a day as a bike messenger right alongside NYPD bike cops, and in front of tons of police attention. (i know bike messengers piss everyone off, and probably don't promote respect for the bicycling community at large) but i've never been given a ticket, certainly never arrested. if an officer did object to my violating traffic laws, i would be given a citation in the form of a fine. if you've been to NYC you also know that PEDESTRIANS here don't even look at walk signals, they watch traffic and go when they think it's clear. it's how this city works. so the cops can't be that pissed about demonstrators running reds, right?

    question number 2: why were the police there in such force to begin with. i'm not a political guy at ALL. i went to see what it was about, and i love bikes. but after last night the buzz regarding NYC being the testing ground for martial law in the U.S. and a dreadfull preview of the police state we will soon ALL live in seems very plausible. people are going to have to fight back, or submit to a new way of living.

    criticisms/questions for CM:

    why not be a little more coy/flexible about where you take off from? change it at the last minute, have peopla there telling riders where to move to. the police can't reorganize that quickly.

    why not obey traffic laws on the demonstration? the ride moves so slow anyway, don't run red lights and don't give cops that easy excuse. ride where you want as a group, just like cars, but obey the laws. do it IN MASS. slow things down, make your statement. which leads to...

    what exactly is the statement? i thought it was "we ARE traffic" and the need to make people aware that bikes are not going anywhere so quit trying to kill us. but the rides now seem to be about who people want for president. so republicans can't ride? doesn't make sense. the clinging to it not being organized seems to make it weak and diluted. spectators were walking around asking "so what is this about?" with people's responses being.. UUUHHH.

    not trying to pick any fights, these are just my one time observations in what seems to be a "critical" city for this event. maybe i'm missing something regarding the intent of these demonstrations, but regardless even people who hate bikes should be very concerned about how the government is responding to the people they work for, CITIZENS!

  4. #4
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgray
    what exactly is the statement? i thought it was "we ARE traffic" and the need to make people aware that bikes are not going anywhere so quit trying to kill us. but the rides now seem to be about who people want for president. so republicans can't ride? doesn't make sense.
    CM is no longer about cycling, its about protesting. It's been hijacked by the wanna-be revolutionarys. A good thing whose time has come and gone.

  5. #5
    Senior Member larue's Avatar
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    not true, CM might no longer be about cycling as far as NYC goes but there are CM's all around the nation that are still sticking to tradition.
    Leave your treadmill power trip behind.

  6. #6
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber
    CM is no longer about cycling, its about protesting. It's been hijacked by the wanna-be revolutionarys. A good thing whose time has come and gone.
    I can't speak for other places but it's true for NYC cause of so many of these yuppie bike riders that think CM is a good place to spread their political agenda.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgray
    not an expert, went to my first CM last night.
    Cool! I hope you had fun, and I hope you come again in November.
    I am in no way a spokesperson...I ride CM, that's it.

    criticisms/questions for CM:

    why not be a little more coy/flexible about where you take off from? change it at the last minute, have peopla there telling riders where to move to. the police can't reorganize that quickly.
    Why should we avoid police? We're not doing anything wrong, and we shouldn't have to slink around our own hometown to avoid the police.

    why not obey traffic laws on the demonstration? the ride moves so slow anyway, don't run red lights and don't give cops that easy excuse.
    Some cities, like Austin, have done "Courteous Mass." And CMSF, the original CM, did just that when they were under intense scrutiny. The police soon realized the minor violations of traffic law were a lot less inconvenient than having a group of a thousand cyclists obeying the letter of the traffic law.

    ride where you want as a group, just like cars, but obey the laws. do it IN MASS. slow things down, make your statement. which leads to...
    What I think should happen is this: Riders at the front of the mass should obey traffic laws, reds, etc, and the entire trailing group should be treated like one enormous vehicle...if the front half of an 18 wheeler goes through a light turning red, the rest may follow w/o penalty. Same thing for CM.

    what exactly is the statement? i thought it was "we ARE traffic" and the need to make people aware that bikes are not going anywhere so quit trying to kill us. but the rides now seem to be about who people want for president. so republicans can't ride? doesn't make sense. the clinging to it not being organized seems to make it weak and diluted. spectators were walking around asking "so what is this about?" with people's responses being.. UUUHHH.
    Anyone can ride. Andyone can have an opinion and express it on the ride. But these kinds of events seem to attract leftists. Right now, the NYC CM is more generally political than usual because it's been caught in a perfect storm of politics...the RNC and the attendant arrests, the close national election, the politically motivated crackdown...all of these things have gotten in the way of just riding bikes on a friday night, which is what I go for.

    not trying to pick any fights, these are just my one time observations in what seems to be a "critical" city for this event. maybe i'm missing something regarding the intent of these demonstrations, but regardless even people who hate bikes should be very concerned about how the government is responding to the people they work for, CITIZENS!
    For me, these aren't demonstrations. They're not protests, and they're not particularly political. I go to CM mostly because I like riding bikes with my friends. remember when you were twelve and you'd go out to "ride bikes?" That rocked, for me. I ride every day, I commute to work, and I ride weekends. But once a month, at CM, I just go ride bikes.

    But if you want to change CM, ride more, and express your opinion. The ride is the riders, no more, no less.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bhchdh's Avatar
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    33 arrested in NY critical mass ride
    http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wi...-regional-wire

  9. #9
    It's so cold out there... scroz's Avatar
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    pardon my ignorance but what is CM?

  10. #10
    Senior Member bhchdh's Avatar
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    Here's a place to start:
    http://www.critical-mass.org/

  11. #11
    It's so cold out there... scroz's Avatar
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    cheers I am such an idiot

  12. #12
    Videre non videri
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    Funny that they list Antarctica among the continents...

  13. #13
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgray
    question number one: since when do you get arrested for running a red light?
    Yup, that's applying the law equally, eh? What would be the reaction if cops started arresting, and jailing motorists instead of issuing tickets? Then, for good measure, the cops take the motorist's car? There would be a holy uproar, that's what would happen!

    I don't think the cops see it from this perspective, though.

  14. #14
    No, GIR, thatís bad. Konakazi's Avatar
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    I've been to several Critical Mass rides this year in Manhattan and they've all been fairly different. Considering that there a good thousand people in the mass, I don't think that it's fair to blanket people opinions or personalities one way or the other.

    As the year's progressed, I've noticed more people turning out and more press, especially since the Republican National Convention. Whenever you get that many people together, there will always be some people you don't agree with but it doesn't necessarily mean that the people with the loudest voices are the ones that are the more representative.

    When people ask "Where are you going?" or "Why are you riding?", there IS no one answer! And why should there be? I usually say "Wherever we want!" and "Because it's fun! / Why not?"

    As for political agendas, I think that it's just being out in mass and 'parading' around the city that brings it out, because what better medium to spread your message?

    I've been in plenty of rides with war haters, and along side a woman rollerskating carrying a giant American flag. Cats and dogs living together? No, it's just regular people doing something together!

    I agree that it doesn't make sense to run or dodge the cops. The attention will die down by next year. This is all hype that followed the RNC and in anticipation of the presidential election. As for the police escorts, who cares? They've ridden with us in various ways for months without doing much of anything. As long as they're not cutting the ride in half or something, let them cruise along.

    Hell a few months ago we were riding across the FDR with cops on scooters in our midst who didn't bat an eyelash!

  15. #15
    No pain, no gain. PainTrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Just saw the movie Bike Like U Mean It.
    I got a kick out of it; it really points out the cultural difference between 'Austin' and the rest of 'Texas'

  16. #16
    Bent_Rider
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    I went to the SF Critical Mass. What a party!......Wonderfull costumes abounding. Not much political agitating, except routing the ride past the locked out hotel workers pickets, and giving them the shout.
    Two loops through the Broadway tunnel, turning it into a bikes only party zone tunnel for a while. Went up some stiff hills. One naked guy and one naked gal. Good turnout, more than 500, less than 1000.
    I am so glad Critical Mass is here.

  17. #17
    Bookworm on Wheels! lisasimpson's Avatar
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    i was at dinner with my bf the other night and saw the CM passing by. It is so cool to see so many bikers passing by. It was funny because I knew what was going on but for everyone else it was like what is going on. All the waiters just kept looking out the window saying look at em they are still passing. although i have to say that in nyc CM does seem to be a bit more than just a ride.

  18. #18
    switching to guns ch0mb0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Konakazi

    I agree that it doesn't make sense to run or dodge the cops. The attention will die down by next year. This is all hype that followed the RNC and in anticipation of the presidential election. As for the police escorts, who cares? They've ridden with us in various ways for months without doing much of anything. As long as they're not cutting the ride in half or something, let them cruise along.

    It would be calming to see things return to some sort of "normal" state around here, because all the security measures & negative feelings everywhere are kinda making this place not fun to live in some days.

    I dunno though, it seems when the administration takes aim at something around here, they tend to do it to death.
    Fate is the Hunter
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    What are they doing? Why do they come here? Some kind of instinct. Memory, of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives.
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  19. #19
    No, GIR, thatís bad. Konakazi's Avatar
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    I see your point about the man doing things to death but hell, it's just bikes.

    I wish Time's Up was a bit more visible at the CM rides. I find that the marshals are few and far between and really rarely make their prescence known.

    It would be great to have them address the crowd before a ride or just make things a slight more officious. I mean if the cops are organized and announcing to the crowd, why can't the people who organized the ride do the same thing?

    I love the idea of a "Courteous Mass" response. That's a brilliant idea frankly.

    Time's Up should also have it's own forum IMO. For a community based organization they don't have much of a web prescence.
    "Ooooo! You've got CHICKEN LEGS!"

    "Those darn liberal wackos! Why do they always try to get involved in just causes?"

  20. #20
    Retired Member ultra-g's Avatar
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    Is it just me or has Critical Mass been overtaken by a bunch of left-wing radicals? The same way militant lesbians took over the Feminist movement.

    I'm not trying to start a crazy argument but I was going to take part in Critical Mass when I first heard about it, but then I went to the website and it was full of anti-Republican ranting and ravings, and I'm a registered Republican AND a Bicyclist/environmentalist so I decided not to partake.
    I Changed My User Name!

  21. #21
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Well, Critical Mass here, despite the fact it draws a staggering 10 people, has decided to go protest Bush every ride now, so I'm out. I lost interest when it became a political organization. I mean, I thought it was about riding bikes.

  22. #22
    No, GIR, thatís bad. Konakazi's Avatar
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    Well again, considering that in NYC it's about a thousand people, opinions will vary but there are a considerable amount of "liberals". Hell, I'm a liberal.

    So what? If it's about biking, then come for the biking. It's not a roundtable meeting.
    "Ooooo! You've got CHICKEN LEGS!"

    "Those darn liberal wackos! Why do they always try to get involved in just causes?"

  23. #23
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    Well, Critical Mass here, despite the fact it draws a staggering 10 people, has decided to go protest Bush every ride now, so I'm out. I lost interest when it became a political organization. I mean, I thought it was about riding bikes.
    Rofl.

  24. #24
    dam this is fun ! STEEKER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    Well, Critical Mass here, despite the fact it draws a staggering 10 people, has decided to go protest Bush every ride now, so I'm out. I lost interest when it became a political organization. I mean, I thought it was about riding bikes.
    wow only ten peeps lmaooo where do you live the lowest number I ever saw was over 20 in bad weather ......Steeker

  25. #25
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    It's interesting that in a city like Seattle, CM is less of an issue on all fronts. Sure there are CM rides on the last Friday of the month but in general no one makes a big deal of it. There were several incidents shortly following the famed WTO riots of 1999 but in general things have been quiet. I attribute this to the fact that Seattle is simply used to a bunch of cyclists going out for a ride. We do it all the time. Every day has scores of group rides all over the city. And of course there's the huge commuting population. Many of the organised rides are put on by the Cascade Bicycle Club which I believe is the largest single bike club in the nation. Also, in general, riders are out there to ride and not necessarily to protest or parade. Traffic laws are generally obeyed and the CBC does a good job of organising these rides with ride leaders who are properly trained. If all you want to do is go out for a pleasant ride with a group of people, then maybe check out the local bike clubs as opposed to getting caught up in all the baggage that's attached to CM.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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