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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 09-23-05, 09:24 PM   #1
econobot
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Impressions on my first Critical Mass -- DC

Since I was riding a friend's Kona Unit (singlespeed), I think this forum is appropriate.

I'm not going to romanticize Critical Mass (CM). Essentially it's a group of cyclists taking over a street. From my experience, we pissed off a lot of drivers.

However, I have never felt so safe on the road as I did during CM. At one point I looked behind me and there was about a block and a half of cyclists. Incredible. I'm sure there have been previous CM's where there were more, but this was significant to me at least.

I have to say, it was nice to feel like a car.
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Old 10-01-05, 11:43 AM   #2
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this was one of the largest DC has seen, typically DC CM is around two dozen or so.
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Old 10-01-05, 02:02 PM   #3
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The 10th anniversary mass in San Fran had roughly 10,000 participants. NYC has seen around 5k I think. I rode in one with 2,500. Chicago's mass this month had between 1000 and 1500.
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Old 10-01-05, 02:05 PM   #4
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dc is small.
messengers don't come to dc cm. few students come. we're lucky if we can get 50, and it's been that way for the 3-4 years since the last mass-arrest.

sad, i know. but not worth moving over.
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Old 10-01-05, 02:11 PM   #5
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Detroit had between 15 and 20 last night. We're small, but we still have fun.
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Old 10-01-05, 02:11 PM   #6
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Did you hear that Budapest got around 24,000 to 30,000 this month. If that is true, holy crap.

edit: NYC had about 200 this month with about 30 arrests, been bad here for a long time now.
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Old 10-01-05, 02:16 PM   #7
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Gorn - I am from Detroit and the small size of the mass actually discouraged me from ever attending. I like the mass to be massive. You're getting a better turnout than you did even 1 year ago though!

badassbiker - The NYC one I attended was May or June 2004. Like I said there was about 2500 people and it was great.
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Old 10-01-05, 02:17 PM   #8
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Here is an article about this months Budapest CM - http://www.indymedia.org/or/2005/09/825163.shtml
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Old 10-01-05, 02:25 PM   #9
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sorry, we're not budapest. we're not ny, chicago, or sf either. we are dc, though. and some of us really like it here.
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Old 10-01-05, 02:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chimblysweep
sorry, we're not budapest. we're not ny, chicago, or sf either. we are dc, though. and some of us really like it here.
And I really liked it there. That ride was so much fun for us.
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Old 10-01-05, 02:28 PM   #11
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No one is dissing your mass, dude.
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Old 10-01-05, 02:29 PM   #12
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Since we are on the subject of numbers, there were around 60-90 peope at the last CM in Santa Monica (California) , keep in mind that it was a holiday weekend. The next CM here is October 7th.
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Old 10-01-05, 02:35 PM   #13
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Hell, even Milwaukee has been able to get about 65+ the past couple rides without any messangers.
I would have expected bigger from DC.
No offense.
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Old 10-01-05, 04:27 PM   #14
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48x16: Were you on the september 2004 Detroit mass? That was my first Detroit mass, and indeed it wasn't very large. In some ways I like the small size, you get to know people better. Chicago's mass I've met a lot of people at that, I either never see again, or happen to run into them again on another (smaller) ride, and really get to know them then. But I also love how massive Chicago's mass is, one is truely able to lose themselves in a sea of bicycles. Detroit's mass is growing though, one day we'll be able to compete in numbers with Chicago .
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Old 10-01-05, 07:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chimblysweep
sorry, we're not budapest. we're not ny, chicago, or sf either. we are dc, though. and some of us really like it here.
Man, the budapest guys are nowhere near that defensive.
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Old 10-01-05, 07:51 PM   #16
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Strange that DC has so few participate in CM. I saw so many cyclists when I was there over the summer. Many had no regard for traffic rules. I guess its all of the municipal and federal police and professional non-commited bikers.

Pittsburgh had between 160-200. No police this time, last month there was a police escort who provided "corking" duties and arrested no one. Next month should be fun, I am sure there'll be an impromptu masquerade.
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Old 10-01-05, 08:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slagjumper
Strange that DC has so few participate in CM. I saw so many cyclists when I was there over the summer. Many had no regard for traffic rules. I guess its all of the municipal and federal police and professional non-commited bikers.

Pittsburgh had between 160-200. No police this time, last month there was a police escort who provided "corking" duties and arrested no one. Next month should be fun, I am sure there'll be an impromptu masquerade.
1. Traffic rules: for bikes?
2. Professional non-commited biker: Who are these people you are referring to? People who ride bikes to work? People who bike as work? People who ride bikes but don't feel the need to be political about it? Does everyone who ride or for that mater, a daily bike commuter need to be a "commited biker"?
3. Please post some pix of the costumes!
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Old 10-01-05, 10:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poopncow
1. Traffic rules: for bikes?
Yeah that's what it was like, --what rules? I ate at an Ethiopian restaurant in Adams Morgan, then went to Starbucks, on the corner. In the half an hour I was there, I saw cyclists going every which way, like there were no cars around, no streets, only wide paved areas, of course there was traffic everywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by poopncow
2. Professional non-commited biker: Who are these people you are referring to? People who ride bikes to work? People who bike as work? People who ride bikes but don't feel the need to be political about it?
I meant people who ride, but are to busy or a'scared because of thier status. But then in the 'burgh they don't bust so, I don't know if I would participate in a CM with a high likleyhood of being busted. I probably would participate but play it cool and not be one of the "young heros" looking to make a conflict.
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Does everyone who rides or for that mater, a daily bike commuter need to be a "commited biker"?
No. Not Necessary. I said non-commited, and meant something like the difference between being the chicken or the egg. The chicken is more commited to the meal, because its existance is on the line. As might be the case with the DC CM. By this definition all DC bikers could be said to be commited. . Really if you want to go and sit in on the city bike planners meetings that is cool too. I do both.

The world is made up of all kinds and I am thankful for that. It just is surprising that in DC, (Population rank 19th) there are fewer CMers than in PGH, (pop rank 48).

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3. Please post some pix of the costumes!
I will!
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Old 10-02-05, 03:41 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slagjumper
Yeah that's what it was like, --what rules? I ate at an Ethiopian restaurant in Adams Morgan, then went to Starbucks, on the corner. In the half an hour I was there, I saw cyclists going every which way, like there were no cars around, no streets, only wide paved areas, of course there was traffic everywhere.
Adams Morgan is a bad traffic area. Fri/Sat nights it turns into a real zoo. And I mean all traffic;car,bike,ped,etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by slagjumper
I meant people who ride, but are to busy or a'scared because of thier status.
Look at the area;lots of military and govt workers. And the local media loves to hammer them. Some senator's page gets popped by the cops,it'd be all over the news with pundents from the other party making hay of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slagjumper
The world is made up of all kinds and I am thankful for that. It just is surprising that in DC, (Population rank 19th) there are fewer CMers than in PGH, (pop rank 48).
Again,look at the area makeup. Also note that most folks in DC aren't really locals;they're military on assignment,politicos following their candidate,or kids going to school. In the 8 1/2 total years I've been in the area,I've only met a couple people actually born-and-raised in DC. The town is very transient.

Finally,driving around here is an experience(we created the term 'aggressive driver'). Most people pretty much do as they please. If they got into an advocacy program,then at some point they'd have to follow some rules.
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Old 10-02-05, 06:42 AM   #20
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tru dat dynarider, tru dat.

yeah the transient thing is one of the biggest problems, most people come here for their careers and have little time and even less interest in making a bicycle statement. I would guess of the people who come to DC for their jobs/careers, the few that do have bicycles are total weekend riders on the W&OD/Custis/Mt Vernon/Capitol Crescent/etc trails. There are indeed some cyclists who commute to work in DC and it seems thats about all they want to do on their bikes. Laziness (though i am sure its justified as having more important things to do) is the main reason these people don't come out and ride in CM.

In a lot of ways the people here like to keep to themselves, sure in normal social situations they'll open up and talk about work or the weather, but just on the street they dont even l ike to make eye contact. we've gotten a few cyclists to join us during CM rides, but most of them do not know what CM is and are probably afraid of possibly being arrested if they joined.
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Old 10-02-05, 09:22 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynaryder
Adams Morgan is a bad traffic area. Fri/Sat nights it turns into a real zoo. And I mean all traffic;car,bike,ped,etc.
Finally,driving around here is an experience(we created the term 'aggressive driver'). Most people pretty much do as they please. If they got into an advocacy program,then at some point they'd have to follow some rules.
Adams Morgan is best to be avoided, but it is a nice little climb. While in AM, it is survival of the most wary, i.e. look 10 cars and more ahead, on coming traffic, people turning their head and raising their arms, stupid bikes

Advocacy programs are a double edge sword. A stick on your shoulder isn't the best advocate (but dog knows I do it too often)

IHMO, if everyone behaves predictably with cars and peds everyday, we'll all soon get used to each other.

btw; re, Chicken and Egg.... another spin is Chicken and Pig at breakfast. Chicken is engaged, but pig is committed

Cow
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Old 10-02-05, 11:57 AM   #22
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Good to see some responses. DC is a small town but it was great to see a sizeable number turn out. Nowhere near Budapest though! Man, that's a lot of cyclists.
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Old 10-03-05, 06:19 AM   #23
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yeah budapest, ****, thats off the hook, how many km long do you think that mass was?
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Old 10-03-05, 06:51 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poopncow
Adams Morgan is best to be avoided, but it is a nice little climb. While in AM, it is survival of the most wary, i.e. look 10 cars and more ahead, on coming traffic, people turning their head and raising their arms, stupid bikes
eh-hem... avoided? survivalism?
some of us live there, you know.
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Old 10-03-05, 11:26 AM   #25
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Quote:
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eh-hem... avoided? survivalism?
some of us live there, you know.
Nobody lives in Adams Morgan...except hipsters.
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