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  1. #1
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    Critical Mass: Houston

    So, I just discovered this this afternoon because I stumbled across it on the Houston subreddit, and then found this video on youtube



    Holy balls.

    Anyone here take part? I've never even heard of it, and having just moved here I think it'd be a great way to meet people (hopefully - we're in our early 30s and don't know anyone here yet). But man, that's a ton of people.

    Is it worth it? Or has it just become a giant cluster****?

  2. #2
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    I went on it a year ago and took some pictures. I live in Austin, so I don't make it to Houston too often.

    From what I've heard, the size has at least doubled since then.

    It was a big clusterf back then, but then again, that's what Critical Mass is. As for if it's worth it, if you live in the area, I'd say make it and make your own decision. You can always leave and head home if you find it to be not to your liking.

    There *are* a lot of people who almost never ride (once a month) and so don't really know what they're doing, drunks, brakeless fixie riders with various levels of skill, hipsters, etc. But even if you don't relate to those folk, you'll find folk you can relate to. It's certainly quite interesting.

  3. #3
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    The one or two times I went to CM here in Dallas, it involved standing around and talking for an hour, then riding a bike for 8 miles, then standing around and talking some more. So yeah, maybe a great way to meet people, not so great for cranking out the miles.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  4. #4
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    From a rider I know:

    I stayed at the front, best strategy. When we stopped at Randalls, the parking lot was full to capacity! The store overwhelmed. But, in all honesty...the vibe was incredible! Other than hitting a few uphills where the slower riders failed to stay right, i found myself enjoying the whole thing. As expected, staying in the front is optimal, allows greater speed and maneuverability than being in the pack.

    Loved it, plan on repeating next month.

    They had over 2,000 riders on the last one.

    8,600 members

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/62074084734/
    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 09-29-13 at 10:35 PM.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  5. #5
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    They rode 25 miles.

    hcmmap.jpg

    hcm.jpg
    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 09-29-13 at 10:45 PM.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  6. #6
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    Yeah I joined the FB group earlier today.
    Seems like there were over 1,000 people this pas weekend. That's crazy!

    I haven't been properly downtown yet - just stuck to our west where our apartment is. We would obviously have to drive in for the ride, but man finding parking for that many people must be ridiculously hard.
    Also, it said on the website the route does not always take you back to where you started - which would be a problem for me since I don't know my way around downtown.

  7. #7
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    2000 riders....Do it next time for the fun.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  8. #8
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
    I haven't been properly downtown yet - just stuck to our west where our apartment is. We would obviously have to drive in for the ride, but man finding parking for that many people must be ridiculously hard.
    Not really. When I went there parking was easy to find -- remember, it's downtown, with lots of available on-street parking (as it's later and so people have gone home.) And you have a bike, so parking a quarter mile away if you have to is no big deal (but I was just a few blocks away.)

    And a lot of the riders probably rode in or took the bus rather than driving in.

    Also, it said on the website the route does not always take you back to where you started - which would be a problem for me since I don't know my way around downtown.
    Neither did I, but it was no big deal. If you have a smart phone or GPS, just save a waypoint of where your car is and have it take you back when you're ready. Or pick up a map if you want to do it old school, or just ask somebody for directions (but do remember where you parked!)
    Last edited by dougmc; 09-29-13 at 11:26 PM.

  9. #9
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    It looks like a massive excuse to be a jerk on the road.

  10. #10
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by memebag View Post
    It looks like a massive excuse to be a jerk on the road.
    Nope...here is good video

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=67yVXcT2Q7A
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    I can't tell from that video if they ignore red lights like they are in the first video. Are you saying the first video is a fluke, and they aren't usually jerks?

  12. #12
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by memebag View Post
    I can't tell from that video if they ignore red lights like they are in the first video. Are you saying the first video is a fluke, and they aren't usually jerks?
    That group Stopped at lights.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  13. #13
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by memebag View Post
    I can't tell from that video if they ignore red lights like they are in the first video. Are you saying the first video is a fluke, and they aren't usually jerks?
    As far as I can tell...You and I are the only jerks in Houston.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    I'm a singular jerk. I don't get together with a thousand of my jerk friends and block intersections for 20 minutes at a time.

  15. #15
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by memebag View Post
    I'm a singular jerk. I don't get together with a thousand of my jerk friends and block intersections for 20 minutes at a time.
    I do. Twice a day, five times a week in my car. Me and millions of other jerks.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    I do. Twice a day, five times a week in my car. Me and millions of other jerks.
    You block intersections for 20 minutes at a time in your car? Why?

  17. #17
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by memebag View Post
    You block intersections for 20 minutes at a time in your car? Why?
    Because the roads between my house and work are bike-hostile. I'd ride much of the time if it were less so.

    I don't block the intersections personally if I can avoid it, but all together we snarl traffic nicely for dozens of hours a week, every week.

  18. #18
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    CM in Fort Worth is definitely lower key. In fact, the crowds aren't really bigger than we get for our weekly pub crawl rides.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  19. #19
    tcs
    tcs is offline
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    Snaps to the guy in the video @1:23 on the B-Cycle.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  20. #20
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    anyone a subscriber to the chronicle?
    i'd like to read this article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life...4857481.php#/0

  21. #21
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    Snaps to the guy in the video @1:23 on the B-Cycle.
    BCycle is getting pretty popular here for sure.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    Because the roads between my house and work are bike-hostile. I'd ride much of the time if it were less so.

    I don't block the intersections personally if I can avoid it, but all together we snarl traffic nicely for dozens of hours a week, every week.
    But you don't send corkers into an intersection and take it over for 20 minutes, stopping all crossing traffic from using it. That's what Critical Mass Houston has been doing. Imagine trying to get somewhere on a Friday night (in a car, on a bike, whatever) and being stuck at a light for 20 minutes while an organized group occupies the intersection. That's just childish behavior, and I don't want to be around it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by memebag View Post
    Imagine trying to get somewhere on a Friday night (in a car, on a bike, whatever) and being stuck at a light for 20 minutes while an organized group occupies the intersection.
    Yeah, I'm not fond of corking.

    Though, again, what you've described -- "being stuck at a light for 20 minutes" -- happens many, many times during rush hour throughout the world. Now, it's not due to an organized group (not that Critical Mass is organized, mind you, but it is a group), it's just due to heavy traffic. Rush hour, like Happy hour, lasts many hours.

    It's 2,000 vehicles, all taking the same route, They're going to snarl traffic no matter what they do. If they stopped for red lights, they'd take three times as long to get through intersections and therefore block traffic going the same direction as them more, but at least cross traffic would be better able to flow (as long as nobody was turning.) That said, I'd prefer they stop for red lights, if only just to reduce the criticism.

    Also, where did the 20 minute figure come from? If they're corking, they ought to be able to move faster than that. Watching the video that was posted shows them going through the intersection at about four bicycles per second (and this seems to be the tail end, so presumably the front was even more densely packed), so at that rate 2000 bicycles should take about eight minutes. Still a long time to wait, but not twenty minutes.

    In Austin, the police arrest corkers (when they catch them) for "Obstruction of a Highway or other passageway", a class B misdemeanor that's normally reserved for DWI plea bargains and sit-in protesters -- but totally describes corking.

    That's just childish behavior, and I don't want to be around it
    Then by all means, don't go.

    With a big ride like that, it's actually pretty easy to not run red lights personally. Just keep right, and pull off to the side when you encounter a red light even though everybody else is going, then go again when they're green. Some riders do that just to make a point.

    edit: ahh, the 20 minute figure came from the Houston Chronicle article. Seems suspect, but I wasn't there so I'll leave it be.
    Last edited by dougmc; 10-01-13 at 12:09 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
    anyone a subscriber to the chronicle?
    i'd like to read this article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life...4857481.php#/0
    Copy the link to the page, search for it on google, click the link google returns, and you are in.

  25. #25
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

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