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Critical Mass...?

Old 04-24-04, 06:19 PM
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Critical Mass...?

Do any of you guys ride Critical Mass each month? I try to ride it each month in Pittsburgh. I plan to try Critical Mass back in my hometown Charleston, SC this summer.
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Old 04-24-04, 06:42 PM
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Not yet... I'm deep in emotional stress about it... It sounds EXCITING! At the same time (from the reports I've read) it makes automobile drivers hate cyclists even more... Have to wonder what would happen if one of those drivers got ticked off and decided to mow down everyone out road rage.
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Old 04-24-04, 07:09 PM
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I think it might be fun to do it, but I think it is counterproductive to try and take over the roads for bikes, the way motor traffic seems to try and exclude bikes. Just ride with the motor traffic and be assertive. I find motorists are no more bad mannered when I am on my bike than when I am driving my car.
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Old 04-24-04, 07:26 PM
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I don't have much use for it, but then, I don't much like group rides at all, being a solitary cranky old fart. The one in Richmond does not impress me at all-- simply a batch of cyclists blocking traffic, near as I can tell. The "advocacy" CM supposedly represents is unlikely to inspire anyone to get out of their car and start riding; it's more advocacy for the already committed. Preaching to the chior, so to say. Fairly useless, though I confess I probably should ride in one one time before solidifying my cranky old fart opinion.

My cycling advocacy is limited to finding old bikes for people in the neighborhood and friends, fixing them up, and giving them away, often for free. I've had CM riders belittle these actions on this board as impractical; but I'm putting fannies in saddles at minimal costs.
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Old 04-24-04, 08:19 PM
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I think they should be done sparingly, For a specific reason. I think doing one a month "just because" does more to aleinate the cagers.
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Old 04-24-04, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Poguemahone
The "advocacy" CM supposedly represents is unlikely to inspire anyone to get out of their car and start riding; it's more advocacy for the already committed. Preaching to the chior, so to say.
I agree. If it's going to be done it needs to be rethought. I saw a suggestion on the bike-qld list years ago that involved using smaller groups of cyclists rather than one big mass. From what I recall, the idea was to take over more streets and, being in a smaller group, show the full advantage that a bicycle has over a car in gridlock by sliding through the traffic unobtrusively. That could work, but critical mass in it's current form seems to be pretty ineffective.
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Old 04-25-04, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottyDocile
Do any of you guys ride Critical Mass each month? I try to ride it each month in Pittsburgh. I plan to try Critical Mass back in my hometown Charleston, SC this summer.
No, I don't want to participate nor be seen in one of those rides.
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Old 04-25-04, 10:36 AM
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[QUOTE=Poguemahone]My cycling advocacy is limited to finding old bikes for people in the neighborhood and friends, fixing them up, and giving them away, often for free. QUOTE]

That's awesome. I fixed up a few and gave them away when I was in Indy. Some people would actually use bikes, if they could afford them.
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Old 04-25-04, 11:02 AM
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I try to make it every month (weather permitting). Everyone has there own agenda for showing up. For those that show up for political reasons, than I have to somewhat agree that the event is counterproductive. I however just go to have a good time (nothing wrong with that), and have yet to be let down.
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Old 04-25-04, 01:15 PM
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i do what i can to get the the cleveland mass. It's pretty mellow. I'm looking forward to this month's ride, as food not bombs is hosting its rustbelt gathering and a number of out of towners will be riding. we may have 100 folks, which is quite large for cleveburg.
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Old 04-26-04, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by lobo
Not yet... I'm deep in emotional stress about it... It sounds EXCITING! At the same time (from the reports I've read) it makes automobile drivers hate cyclists even more... Have to wonder what would happen if one of those drivers got ticked off and decided to mow down everyone out road rage.
oh, it's happened before

http://bicycleaustin.info/cm/


i, too, now try to completely disassociate myself with the people of critical mass

i went on an austin critical mass, once, thinking that it was a friday afternoon group ride.. (naive, i admit).. it was as expected, until we got to the nice Congress Street bridge which was 3 (maybe 4?) lanes wide, 45mph, and the peanut gallery decided to occupy all lanes going at 10mph. this was rush-hour traffic, and it wasn't fugging cool. they did this for another few blocks or so, all the while discussing what new congested road to block. i dropped the hammer and jetted the fugg outta there.

critical mass gives me a bad name
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Old 04-26-04, 11:00 AM
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I go in Boston usually... however, I detest when they plow through red lights or stop signs... if the mass enters the intersection and it turns red during - I'm fine with going. However, when they hit the red and keep going - I take issue - and no one ever seems to take notice of me stopping and waiting. I maintain that even if cars were severely limited and bikes were the norm - traffic control would still be necessary.. therefore we should stop and obey these control systems at intersections.
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Old 04-26-04, 02:02 PM
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We get Critical Mass rides here in Portland and frankly, I hate them, as do most people. The uniniated (most people) have no idea what the point is. Drivers just see a bunch of inconsiderate people on bicycles slowing down their evening commute for no apparent reason. I have yet to see aproven record of CM being effective at making cycling more accepted or well thought of among the unwashed masses. A local advocacy group, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, has done far more to promote cycling and build bicycle infrastructure in Portland than CM ever will.
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Old 04-26-04, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by nuovorecord
We get Critical Mass rides here in Portland and frankly, I hate them, as do most people. The uniniated (most people) have no idea what the point is. Drivers just see a bunch of inconsiderate people on bicycles slowing down their evening commute for no apparent reason. I have yet to see aproven record of CM being effective at making cycling more accepted or well thought of among the unwashed masses. A local advocacy group, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, has done far more to promote cycling and build bicycle infrastructure in Portland than CM ever will.
Simply one cyclist from Portland's opinion....

How do you know most people 'hate critical mass' or that CM wouldn't be more accepted if the police worked to facilitate the rides and maintain public safety instead of treating the participating cyclists like criminals, breaking out their ticket books, pepper spray, tasers and handcuffs the first time a cyclist strays from the bike lane or fails to make a COMPLETE ZERO MPH stop at a stop sign? The BTA is great, but there's plenty of room for other kinds of advocacy, too. The only thing wrong with CM in Portland is that the local paramilitarized police and the politicians and businesspeople giving them orders don't give a rat's ass about bicyclists or the cyclists' civil rights...or maybe it's just that they're so afraid of the power in the simple message of CM that they feel the need to suppress CM because it's too threatening to them and the automobile-based suburban dystopia they represent.
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Old 04-26-04, 04:07 PM
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There have been studies done on "advocacy" groups. The findings are almost always the same. Most of the people there don't know what the real adjenda is. The group is usually doing damage to their real cause. The whole purpose of an advocacy group is to bring the general public over to their point of view. Pissing people off is not the way to do that. However, pissing people off appears to be exactly what CM is all about.

If I am in traffic at 40mph and get slowed down to 10mph by cyclists, how in the world is that supposed to convince me that riding is a better form of transportation?

How do you know most people 'hate critical mass' or that CM wouldn't be more accepted if the police worked to facilitate the rides and maintain public safety instead of treating the participating cyclists like criminals, breaking out their ticket books, pepper spray, tasers and handcuffs the first time a cyclist strays from the bike lane or fails to make a COMPLETE ZERO MPH stop at a stop sign? The BTA is great, but there's plenty of room for other kinds of advocacy, too. The only thing wrong with CM in Portland is that the local paramilitarized police and the politicians and businesspeople giving them orders don't give a rat's ass about bicyclists or the cyclists' civil rights..
The right to run stop signs?? The right to run red light?? The right to impede traffic?? The right to violate other peoples rights because they are driving a car?? Exactly what civil rights would you be talking about???
Since when does a group breaking the law make it legal.....or right????

Count me out. Another typical radical group.
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Old 04-26-04, 04:58 PM
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I'm sure there are plenty of people here on this forum ready and willing to argue both sides of Critical Mass. When the last CM thread here closed late last summer, it was over 17 pages long. No one is forcing you to go on Critical Mass rides. If it's not your thing, you don't have to participate. There are plenty of road races I don't know about, or care about. Road racers impede motorists, and blow stop signs, too, but I don't spend my time complaining on this forum about the damn law-breaking traffic-impeding road racing cyclists. You can type 'til your fingers hurt, but you're not going to convince cyclists who do participate in CM that that it's somehow wrong to do so.
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Old 04-26-04, 05:05 PM
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They are ridiculous. Here in Chicago, they ran around the bike show (let's not forget they paid for a booth to be there) passing out flyers in protest of Subaru because Subaru had their car there as you walk in. Now, since the original sponsors abandoned the bike show, and we almost lost our bike show here in Chicago, Subaru stepped in and decided to sponsor the show. So if they want to put their car there when you first walk in, so what? Besides, if they hadn't of come in with the money, there wouldn't be a bike show for them to protest at. I pointed this out to the girl, who floated away with a rather vacant look after a futile attempt to argue with me.

They also have been advocating that the city depave Lake Shore Drive. When I heard that, I knew these people were nuts.

All I can think is that these people are adults who need real jobs and real lives- advocating civil disobedience to promote your agenda is not the way to go about getting your point across. You'll just p!ss off the people you're trying to make the point to. One day, these people will really grow up and realize that there are better ways of going about getting support for your cause- riling people up is not the way. Luckily, we all here know that.

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Old 04-26-04, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris L
I agree. If it's going to be done it needs to be rethought. I saw a suggestion on the bike-qld list years ago that involved using smaller groups of cyclists rather than one big mass. From what I recall, the idea was to take over more streets and, being in a smaller group, show the full advantage that a bicycle has over a car in gridlock by sliding through the traffic unobtrusively. That could work, but critical mass in it's current form seems to be pretty ineffective.
Heh! I think that was me that made that suggestion - I certainly made one very much like it. As I recall, it didn't get a lot of support.

edit: found it. http://staff.dstc.edu.au/woody/bikeq...ld-3/0299.html

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Old 04-26-04, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
let's not forget they paid for a booth to be there
Critical Mass is a bike ride, not an advocacy group. I find it hard to believe that they actually had a booth at the show.


Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
They also have been advocating that the city depave Lake Shore Drive. When I heard that, I knew these people were nuts.
Again, Critical Mass is a bike ride, not an advocacy group. Portland depaved the west bank of the Willamette River - removed a limited access highway running right past downtown - 'way back in the 70's when Critical Mass wasn't even a gleam in someone's eye. It worked great for Portland, and would probably work great for Chicago, too.

Sounds to me like you're too vested in the automobile-dependent surburban dystopia to tell the forest from the trees, or however that cliche goes.


Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
All I can think is that these people are adults who need real jobs and real lives- advocating civil disobedience to promote your agenda is not the way to go about getting your point across. You'll just p!ss off the people you're trying to make the point to. One day, these people will really grow up and realize that there are better ways of going about getting support for your cause- riling people up is not the way.
This is pretty presumptuous stereotyping on your part which reveals that you know absolutely nothing about the actual people that participate in Critical Mass. Once again, just because it isn't the way you'd go about it, it doesn't mean that other people can't or shouldn't persue this manner of activism. You'd be better off saying nothing if all you can do is disrespect someone else's activism.


Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
Luckily, we all here know that.
Speak for yourself.
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Old 04-26-04, 06:16 PM
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There are plenty of road races I don't know about, or care about. Road racers impede motorists, and blow stop signs, too, but I don't spend my time complaining on this forum about the damn law-breaking traffic-impeding road racing cyclists.
Sanctioned road races are mostly on closed or controlled courses. Maybe it is group rides you are talking about? Yes, riders do roll stop signs. I ride in a very large (100+ riders) group that does that. We are, and we understand that we are, BREAKING THE LAW! We have no CIVIL RIGHT to do so, and occcasionally the group, or parts of, gets ticketed. They take their lumps, and don't feel that their "rights" have been violated. We DO NOT intentionally impede traffic, set out to piss anyone off, or badger a driver or event sponsor. Nor are any races or group rides that I have ever heard of held in a metropolitan area during rush hour.

don't give a rat's ass about bicyclists or the cyclists' civil rights...
So, I pose the question again. The right to run stop signs?? The right to run red lights?? The right to impede traffic?? The right to violate other peoples rights because they are driving a car?? The right to harass event sponsors (a new addition to the list)?? Exactly what civil rights would you be talking about???
Since when does a group breaking the law make it legal.....or right????
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Old 04-26-04, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Avalanche325
The right to run stop signs?? The right to run red lights?? The right to impede traffic?? The right to violate other peoples rights because they are driving a car?? The right to harass event sponsors (a new addition to the list)?? Exactly what civil rights would you be talking about??? Since when does a group breaking the law make it legal.....or right????
Please reread my previous post. I never said CM cyclists had any legal right to run lights or stop signs. If you go on a Critical Mass ride and knowingly violate traffic laws, you are committing civil disobedience, not exericising any specific legally retained right. However, if you knowingly or unknowingly roll a stop sign or run a traffic signal, which are traffic violations, not felonies, you do have certain legal rights as a citizen. If the police pepper spray, taser and or arrest and hold you for running said light or stop sign, they are violating your civil rights as a citizen. When do you think the last time an average motorist who was stopped by the police for speeding, or rolling a stop sign or running a light got dragged from their car, pepper-sprayed, tasered, handcuffed and taken to the station house? Answer - first of all, they almost never get caught, but when they do, almost never.* They are issued a ticket and allowed to proceed. If the cops scrutinized in minute detail the average motorist's driving behavior the way they scrutinize CM cyclists', and then got all medieval on that motorist for minor traffic infractions, I would say that the motorist's rights had been violated, too.

*Oh yeah, I forgot - this is Portland Oregon, where the police have lately taken to murdering motorists during routine traffic stops simply for the heineous crime of Driving While Black.
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Old 04-26-04, 07:46 PM
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Various quotes:

"The BTA is great, but there's plenty of room for other kinds of advocacy, too."

Which implies CM is advocacy. But:

"Again, Critical Mass is a bike ride, not an advocacy group."

Okay, but you can ride your bike without blocking traffic or running lights.

"Road racers impede motorists, and blow stop signs, too,"

Don't like this behaviour from anyone. Also, to point out another group is acting poorly does not excuse the actions of a different group.

"Sounds to me like you're too vested in the automobile-dependent surburban dystopia to tell the forest from the trees, or however that cliche goes."

I doubt Koffee (Koffee can speak for themselves on this), or myself, are particularly invested in whatever the heck that is. I use cycles as transport exclusively; they are not exersize machines or anything else to me. I like the fact they do not pollute, are cheap, don't funnel my dollars to repressive governments, and are much prettier than the average car.

Cm is not "radical". If it were, it would offer solutions. I am sure individual massers do, but not by participating in this ride. If this ride offers no advocacy, it's simply a party, and one that gets it's kick by irritating other folks. Bleah, I've better things to do.
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Old 04-26-04, 10:23 PM
  #23  
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I don't pretend to speak for CM everywhere, nor is the CM experience the same everywhere. Perhaps I've already done more to turn people off from attending CM with stories of police brutality at CM in Portland than all the self-righteous anti-CM cyclists could have with their tired and predictable arguments.

To anyone who is the least bit curious, I recommend attending the local CM ride in the capacity of an casual observer and participant with no expectations; don't break the law or do anything illegal if it doesn't feel right to you. The experience may resonate with you or it may not; learn and grow from the experience. You may find that you have no interest or you may find your self coming back the next month. It's that simple. Cyclists from all backgrounds and walks of life participate. You may meet people on the ride that you want to see again or do other things with. Critical Mass is not the boogie man the police and media in some cities want you to think it is, it's simply another kind of bike ride and another aspect of bicycle culture.

Web Resources:
http://criticalmassrides.info/
http://www.critical-mass.org/
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Old 04-27-04, 01:08 AM
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If gay, Irish, and every other special interest group can block downtown traffic for hours for a few floats I think a few bikes won't hurt anything.
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Old 04-27-04, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Allister
Heh! I think that was me that made that suggestion - I certainly made one very much like it. As I recall, it didn't get a lot of support.
So it was. The fact that it didn't get a lot of support makes me wonder just what it is that CM is trying to achieve. I don't recall it receiving any negative comments either, so perhaps CM is aimed more at the "protest" side than the advocacy side, otherwise they might be more willing to look at alternative ways of getting their message across.
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