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  1. #1
    Old Newbie cllvt's Avatar
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    Critical Mass Rides ... anyone do one?

    I am sure that most of you saw the youTube video of the cop pushing over a guy during a C.M. ride. It got me thinking though. I read a little about them, and it seems that generally they can promote bike awareness, and not be so much a protest thing, but more of a share the road thing.

    I guess they vary a lot from area to area as well. Anyone here have experience with these rides?
    Chris

    "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind" - Dr. Suess

  2. #2
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    No.

    And they're all a bunch of commies.

    There's nothing wrong with that.

  3. #3
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    No -- and wouldn't. Best single (comment) take on Critical Mass I've read is, as it happens, today's (29 July) bsnyc blog post; couldn't have said it better.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sdastroguy's Avatar
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    I haven't and from what I've read I never will. And that is too bad because properly executed events could be a boon for biking. Instead we look like a bunch of hooligans or worse.

  5. #5
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Critical Mass rides are not all the same. A couple of bad CM's give all CM rides a bad reputation. The CM ride in my area is a family friendly event. Riders meet and then break up into several different rides. The parking lot becomes a circle track for kids, Roadies take off and do a 20 mile course through the city, and everyone else does 5 or 10 mile guided routes through the historic sections of the city including two parks.
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  6. #6
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, its way to easy to loose the message in the delivery method. This seems to be among the bits of wisdom that is acquired with age.

  7. #7
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    I got caught by one in DC on my commute home a few years back. Got the heck out of there so as not to be confused with one of them.

  8. #8
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I have discouraged people from starting one in my town. The reputation, deserved or not, would cause some automatic bad reactions, even from people you would expect to support the intent. There is also too much chance that some of the participants would cause trouble in a ride with so little organization. I have worked too hard for too long to create a positive image of cycling in our town for me to support something that could tear it down.

    As an alternative, my club is working on a plan to have monthly rides to call attention to cooperative and law abiding roaway sharing with cyclists. The ride will have leaders and a set route. Riders will be encouraged to follow the rules of the road. We will not run stop signs or traffic lights unless we have police escorts stopping traffic for us. We are going to try and make it a fun ride and maximize the positive message by lots of media coverage. Best of all (imho) is the name we came up with for the ride. BATTY - Bikes Are Traffic Too, Y'all.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  9. #9
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    I do usually one a year in San Francisco. They are really fun, and I've seldom seen anything that got out of hand. Occasionally there is a motorist who tries to budge through and then some riders will pound on his car and intimidate him. There was a period a few years ago when things got pretty nasty because the mayor and the cops got a little too snotty.

    But for the most part it is just a really slow cruise though town on streets that would normally be choked with cars, tourists come rushing out of hotels and restaurants to watch and get their photos taken, there's a lot of hooting and hollering and bike-bell-dinging, some interesting bicycle-type machines of unusual design, the cops pretty much just tolerate it and keep things from getting nasty.

    Too many people are looking for a message, as a whole it isn't a protest against anything, no one is looking for press coverage; there are racers and commuters and messengers and homeless people and everyone is just having a good time celebrating the bicycle and enjoying one evening a month when we're in the majority. And then things split up and everyone goes out for a microbrew.
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  10. #10
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    Not a group I'd care to be associated with.

  11. #11
    Squirrel solveg's Avatar
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    We had one go terribly bad in MN. People dragged off to jail. I never did find out what really happened, but MPLS is a stupid place to do one. They were downtown, where there are dedicated lanes on the downtown streets for bikes. We have the second most biking infrastructure next to Portland, and they're always building more. Sounds like just an excuse to party and misbehave.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    Did several in San Francisco many years ago. It was definately a "we're going to get some changes enacted" type of event. Not my cuppa today.

  13. #13
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    In addition to the incident in NYC, assume you all also saw that during a CM rally in Seattle last week a car driver (allegedly) got angry and hit some bikers; the bikers (allegedly) shattered the car's windows and beat the driver up. (I'm summarizing a complicated situation; plenty of discussion here at BF advocacy and safety forums if you're interested). Local media websites filled with vitriol against bikers.

    So, as a Seattle bike commuter, does this make me feel safer this week?

    No.

  14. #14
    I found a road bike.
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    It's a rolling party!
    Youtube

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    "Skilled city cyclists move through traffic like gazelles through a field of fat cows."
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  15. #15
    Senior Member mds0725's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
    No -- and wouldn't. Best single (comment) take on Critical Mass I've read is, as it happens, today's (29 July) bsnyc blog post; couldn't have said it better.
    So .... for those of us who don't know what the bsnyc blog is, could you please either provide the quote or provide a link to the quote? Thanks!

  16. #16
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mds0725 View Post
    So .... for those of us who don't know what the bsnyc blog is, could you please either provide the quote or provide a link to the quote? Thanks!
    Here you go --

    http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2008...coldcocks.html

    BTW, this is one of the best bike blogs on the planet. I try to read it almost every day.

  17. #17
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    Here you go --

    http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2008...coldcocks.html

    BTW, this is one of the best bike blogs on the planet. I try to read it almost every day.
    Good stuff. I've read his blog before but didn't have it bookmarked. Thanks for the link.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    If they held one in Springfield I would be there. But they have not and thus neither have I.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  19. #19
    Off your Donkey, lets go Burr's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=DiabloScott;

    Too many people are looking for a message, as a whole it isn't a protest against anything, no one is looking for press coverage; there are racers and commuters and messengers and homeless people and everyone is just having a good time celebrating the bicycle and enjoying one evening a month when we're in the majority. And then things split up and everyone goes out for a microbrew.[/QUOTE]

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  20. #20
    Old Newbie cllvt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n4zou View Post
    Critical Mass rides are not all the same. A couple of bad CM's give all CM rides a bad reputation. The CM ride in my area is a family friendly event. Riders meet and then break up into several different rides. The parking lot becomes a circle track for kids, Roadies take off and do a 20 mile course through the city, and everyone else does 5 or 10 mile guided routes through the historic sections of the city including two parks.

    That's what I would like to see around here. Or maybe something like the BATTY rides BluesDawg mentions. I guess something in me wants to increase awareness that bikes are traffic too, and that we all need to share the road ... especially after a truck pulled out in front of me during my commute last week, and I fishtailed to a stop just behind his rear tailgate. When I asked him if he did not see me, or if he just didn't stop for bikes, he said "heah, I saw you coming down the hill ... I stopped for the car in front of you ..." Then he actually seemed to "get" what he had just said.

    On the other hand, I guess not a lot of good is done with a ride gone wild, with arrests, etc. - and a antagonistic relationship established between cyclists and local authority.
    Chris

    "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind" - Dr. Suess

  21. #21
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I enjoy riding solo or in a small, well-behaved group. I generally avoid riding in a large clustered group, and I absolutely avoid critical mass or any similar protest ride. Being in a large mob brings out the worst in some people.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  22. #22
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I think much more can be accomplished through cooperation than by confrontation.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    I think much more can be accomplished through cooperation than by confrontation.
    I generally agree, but sometimes a combination of both increases public awareness and speeds action.

  24. #24
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
    I generally agree, but sometimes a combination of both increases public awareness and speeds action.
    Speed action or halt it? Please give examples of when this has worked.

    You can just as easily increase awareness in a positive way without creating obstacles to overcome.
    Last edited by BluesDawg; 07-30-08 at 11:19 AM.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    Racial protests in the 60s/70s.
    Plight of homeless and awareness marches in many cities.
    Anti-war rallies.

    In the case of CM, I think their are many cities where bike awareness is much higher and to the benefit of the general cyclist, bike commuters more specifically. One CM will not change anything but over time they are effective. Unfortunately there is a far "left" and a far "right" position (on nearly every issue) that get the bulk of the media attention. And there are hot-headed buffoons on each end of the spectrum that will never be happy in any compromise solution.

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