Critical Mass Debate: Opposing Viewpoints

In the comments section of an earlier post, we’ve been having a serious talk about Critical Mass. On Monday, reader William wrote:

When I first rode in Critical Mass, it was great to have that feeling of safety, that thrill of being in control of the road. And riding with so many happy people? Awesome!

But in watching what it does to drivers, I’ve come to think that Critical Mass is a giant dick move. I’m sure it was useful once, but that time is long past. And I say that as a guy who hasn’t owned a car in more than a decade, somebody who commutes by bike every day. I’m tired of apologizing to non-bikers for a giant monthly inconvenience, and I wish everybody would give it up.

Yesterday, reader Hugh rebutted:

When I first drove a car in San Francisco, it was great to have that feeling of safety, that thrill of being in control of the road. And driving alone in my car? Awesome!

But in watching what it does to bicyclists, I’ve come to think that owning a car is a giant dick move. I’m sure it was useful once, but that time is long past. And I say that as a guy who likes to drive, somebody who uses a City Car Share pretty regularly. I’m tired of apologizing to bicyclists for a giant daily inconvenience, and I wish everybody would give it up.

Point Hugh!

Read the whole dialogue here.

Photo by davekeane.

56 Responses to “Critical Mass Debate: Opposing Viewpoints”

  1. No, not point Hugh. People in cars are at least trying to get somewhere. They may be using the least efficient way to do so, but they’re going somewhere. Critical Mass exists to take over the streets to the detriment of everyone else who uses our streets.

    • Allan Hough says:

      People on bikes every other day of the month are trying to get somewhere, and every day they have to fight their way through all the cars that have taken over the streets to the detriment of everyone else who uses our streets.

      • Andy says:

        Come on Allan. Cars have not “taken over the streets.” I’m no expert on the history of how our cities were made, but I think most would assume they were based around the auto (for right or wrong, better or worse).

        Eventually we’ll have to make certain decisions regarding car travel in the city. In the meantime, Smart planning would cater separate-but-equal thoroughfares for mainly bike use, and others for mainly car use, as many would argue Valencia is being transformed now. Whereas Guerrero is more of a car-friendly street with medians, allowing one to drive faster.

        I think critical mass is a great way to raise awareness for areas that obviously need bike-friendly accommodation– that’s the whole point to begin with. But blocking the entirety of Guerrero, when you can safely ride down Valencia, one block over, is obstruction, plain and simple.

      • Allan Hough says:

        Nobody ever won me over by saying things like “for better or worse” or “separate-but-equal.”

      • William says:

        People every day are trying to get somewhere. Some take cars, some take transit, some take bikes, some walk. The only organized group of people that regularly tries to get in the way of that is Critical Mass. And Critical Mass isn’t even going anywhere.

        I am an SFBC member, I haven’t owned a car for more than a decade, and I commute every day on a bike. If every car vanished tomorrow, I’d be overjoyed. But until that happens, I’m going to try to maintain some respect for other users of the road. And that includes not fucking up a bunch of people’s Friday nights, no matter how much fun it is to take over the streets.

      • Andy says:

        Whatever dude, you’d keep snakes and mice away from each other……for better or worse.

      • johnny0 says:

        Here’s irony for you — The first “good roads” campaigns were pushed by cyclists in the late 19th century.

        As bicycle outings surged in popularity, riders everywhere shared a common burden — hazardous roads. Soon [Albert] Pope began speaking across the country about the need for good roads. “The high point to be aimed at,” he said back in 1889, “is the recognition of the importance of the whole situation by the national government.”

        Then Henry Ford came along.

        Some historical context on the conditions of roads in the late 1800s is available in old San Francisco municipal reports.

        The city struggled to keep up with the surge in popularity of bicycles. I found this 1894 report amusing.

        http://www.archive.org/stream/sanfranciscomuni45sanfrich#page/n113/mode/2up/search/bicycle

        BICYCLE ROAD EXTENSION

        Your Commissioners have always borne in mind the fact that the public is made up of separate human beings with separate tastes, whose comfort and convenience demand regard. Keeping this in view, the bicycle road was constructed last year exclusively for the use of patrons of the wheel, and a further extension of this road is proposed during the coming year to run parallel with the main drive. The rapid development of the present interest in bicycling among all classes is something astonishing, and as the Park is a favorite haunt of the cyclists, it is incumbent upon your Commissioners to attend to their interests and wants.

      • SFDoggy says:

        Allan you need to do more than just substitute bike for cars in your arguments or vice versa — the result is statements that are not supported by facts or logic. The fact is that the whole point of critical mass is to disrupt vehicle traffic and inconvenience people. It is just rude, disrespectful and selfish.

        Cars and buses are on the road for a purpose. Bikes commuting are there for a purpose also. So everyone needs to share the road and obey the laws. Unfortunately, you and other bicyclists appear to believe that you don’t need to obey the rules.

        Maybe you would be happier if there were no cars on the road and only bikes, but you are part of a very, very, small minority. It doesn’t really matter that you find cars objectionable; that doesn’t justify your breaking the law and deliberately creating havoc people. Either get the rules changed or live with them. But self-serving and self-centered “arguments” are entirely unconvincing.

    • William says:

      Point Hugh? My ass.

      One, how did he respond to my sincere point that although I love my bike and loved Critical Mass I eventually concluded it was a dick move? By being a snarky dick. What does this tell us about Hugh? My take: he enjoys being a dick. And what else to we know about him? He helps “organize” Critical Mass. Coincidence, I’m sure.

      Two, his implied point is bullshit. There are a lot of drivers on the road in this town, and a lot of bikes. 99% of people are perfectly good about sharing the road, and the city is doing a great job in reshaping the streets to fit cyclists. I’m hugely proud of this town in general and the SFBC in particular.

      But once a month, a bunch of cyclists get together and fuck up car traffic for the fun of it. Are they trying to get somewhere? No. Do drivers do this? No. Is it accomplishing anything? Net, I’d say no, not anymore.

      • sf_Jef says:

        That’s right, Mr. William, everyone’s a dick. And they enjoy being dicks.

        Critical Mass is an easy target for people to complain about, even though anyone who’s lived in SF for the last 15+ years knows it’s coming, every month, like clockwork. Still, people on message-boards lose their minds like a 20 minute inconvenience is some crime against humanity. I’ve rode CM many times and the majority of drivers are supportive. Hell, in Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, and Union Square, the tourists come out, take photos and applaud like it’s a sea lion parade!

        Bottom line is, if you don’t want to get caught in CM traffic, you should be able to avoid it (here’s a hint: it’ll happen again in 2 days). In the same way, if you get caught in parade/protest traffic, those won’t cease because you’re mad. Also, there are plenty of places you’d never have to worry about these gatherings in, where people aren’t such dicks. -Like Sacramento, where everyone is really cool.

      • Rod says:

        if you think 99% of people are good about sharing the road then there is no possible way you commute by bicycle in SF every day.

  2. Ferocious Foot Odor says:

    I think critical mass and PETA should merge operations and hunt down people wearing fur while driving. Preferably in Marin only.

  3. PsychoKat says:

    As a bicyclist… I will say… Critical Mass IS a dick move. No point Hugh. No point.

  4. As a pedestrian who has been run over by Critical Mass… yeah, it’s a dick move. I’ve never feared for my safety from cars; yet every time I see a cyclist barreling down the sidewalk, yelling at pedestrians to get out of the way, I get a little bit afraid.

    If cyclists want to be taken seriously as a responsible co-partner in the transit scheme, they need to pick a set of rules and stick with them. As it stands, cyclists are predictably chaotic. That’s dangerous.

    • Rod says:

      “every time I see cyclist barreling down the sidewalk, yelling at pedestrians to get out of the way”

      has anyone else EVER seen this? it sounds like a hilarious scenario but I don’t think it’s ever happened.

  5. Ami L says:

    I get it. I do.. I’m all in favor of mass public transportation, and getting more individual cars off the road. But, see, they don’t even get in the way of JUST the cars… they’re in the way of the pedestrians too. I’m a pedestrian. I don’t have a car here. It shouldn’t take me 45mins to cross an intersection via walking, unless maybe I’m a quadruple amputee.

  6. Eric says:

    Replace cars with bikes in this picture and you’ve got a sideshow:

    http://missionmission.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/critical-mass-san-francisco.jpg

  7. MrEricSir says:

    Is there a point to Critical Mass?

  8. Kyle Madison says:

    Hugh has not point. He just flipped the argument but didn’t respond.

    I hate cars, but I hate bikes more. I have had more incidents with bikes nearly hitting me as a pedestrian. I have seen more bike shooting through red lights than I have seen cars. A red light is like a yield sign to bicyclists. Many of them don’t wear helmets. They are the worse safety hazard on the road to themselves and others.

    And on top of that they use terrorism like Critical Mass to get more bike lanes and more road rights that they bitch everyone ignores. Hey, bicycle terrorists! Obey bike laws and I won’t kick the next bike over that almost hits me while I’m crossing the street.

    • generic says:

      You’re quite wrong.

      He inverted your argument, cleverly, and it highlights an inconsistency, namely that Critical Mass brings to head a thing that car drivers do all the time. Saying he “didn’t respond” doesn’t make his response less valid, is just shows you’re incapable or unwilling to see the implied point.

      I own neither a car nor a bike, so I don’t have a dog in this fight. But the overall thrust of his point was pretty clear. And pretty funny.

      • Kyle Madison says:

        Cars don’t all get into a big cavalcade each month, all breaking common traffic laws and wrecking property. It doesn’t happen. Its just bully cyclists acting like victims when they are the most catered to group in the city. It’s like listening to Christians complain about how put down they are. Allow me to play my tiny violin for you.

      • Allan Hough says:

        Motorists are in a constant cavalcade, day in and day out, breaking laws and wrecking property AND mowing down pedestrians and cyclists and animals all along the way. Play your tiny violin for yourself.

      • Kyle Madison says:

        I wish they hit as many cyclists as you claim. Clean this city up of terrorists.

  9. ben says:

    I used to ride Critical Mass in Atlanta pretty frequently, and that’s not a very bike-friendly town by any stretch of the imagination. It had already been going on for a few months before I heard of it, but it was still only up to around 20-30 people showing up. A few years later, we were counting over 400 people showing up during months with nicer weather.

    It was/is a great tool for building a sense of community, especially in places where it can be hard to link up with other like-minded people. When I moved out here, though, I felt like the “battle” had already been won for the most part. Yes, there’s still quite a bit of improvement to be made here, but there’s no shortage of people cycling. There’s a really strong, active community (SFBC) that’s Getting Things Done politically to make it a better place for cycling.

    I think Critical Mass definitely has its place in building up a sense of community infrastructure, but I feel like it’s the equivalent of a booster rocket. It’s critical for getting off the ground, but once you’ve made a certain amount of progress, it’s counterproductive to your mission.

  10. Andy says:

    Hugh wins hands down. It’s obvious.

    Critical Mass is loads of good, clean fun. Everyone should do it.

    As far as being a “dick move,” it lasts for about three hours on ONE lousy day a month (though i personally would support it being all-day every day). And people can, and do, totally plan around it. It’s really not that big of a deal. The vast majority of motorists smile, wave, and seem to enjoy it. Seriously.

    But regardless, the simply fact is people needed to get the fuck out of their cars like ten fucking years ago and I don’t think someone be inconvenienced on their commute home once a month matters for shit in the big scheme of things. Maybe you noticed that our goddamned consumption of oil is destroying our planet and causing wars that kill millions of people?

    I’m seriously embarrassed for people who whine about Critical Mass.

    • SFDoggy says:

      Sorry Andy: CM is a dick move. Its whole purpose is to inconvenience others. If CM wanted to it could announce its route ahead of time and design it to minimize traffic disruption. But that wouldn’t be as much fun, would it?

      The fact is the people like you need to stop telling people to get out of their cars; the moral superiority of bicyclist is tedious. And your lack of respect for others and their decisions is just evidence of your shallowness.

      It is embarrassing how many self-centered, immature, bicyclists there are out there like you whose biggest thrill in life is creating a traffic jam. Maybe you should grow up and do something productive.

      • Andy says:

        The point of Critical Mass is not to “inconvenience others.” The point is to have fun. That’s why people come back to participate month after month. That’s why it’s remained an SF institution for nearly 18 years and why it’s become a global phenomena.

        CM is hella fun. I suggest you don’t knock it until you try it. And like I said, the vast majority of motorists smile and wave. If CM is only about pissing off drivers, it’s not working very well.

        And yes, part of the fun and a major reason why it is so successful is because no one organizes it. It’s not “unorganized” to cause more inconvenience, it’s unorganized because that’s how people want it — it’s beautiful anarchy and it’s proven to be a rather successful model.

        And Doggy, I’m terribly sorry you find it “tedious” that people who are more enlightened than you, are telling you you need to stop driving. But it’s true — you do need to stop driving. For the sake of the earth and humanity we must transform the way we live.

        How many dead people and dead wildlife is it going to take before you recognize this?

  11. Brian H says:

    It always amuses me to encounter a cyclist who’s willing to yell at me for driving my car through an intersection that I’ve stopped for – yet they have run the stop sign. Of course, “right of way, asshole!” is shouted, and the response of “laws apply to you too, asshole!” are exchanged.

    Sure, nothing changes, I still stop for stop signs in my car, and folks on bikes don’t. But it’s sure fun to complain about right of way and rules of the road when it suits you.

    • nenita says:

      thank you!

      this goes for both bikes and peds….the laws apply to you as well. you cannot blow through signs and lights cause you feel like you can.

      cross against a light and cause an accident and see who’s found at fault.

    • Rod says:

      have you seriously never witnessed a car run a stop sign? the selective finger-pointing is childish and tiresome . . .

  12. Chester says:

    I feel ambivalently about Critical Mass: I believe in its point but think it alienates and infuriates rather than makes its point.

    What I don’t feel ambivalently about is how a lot of people refer to “cyclists” as a monolithic group, exhibiting the same behavior.

    A lot of car drivers complain about how “cyclists do X, Y, and Z dick moves,” when the reality is that *some* cyclists pull those dick moves. To be fair, a lot of cyclists treat car drivers the same way.

    In the end, it’s only some cyclists who cycle like dicks just as it’s only some drivers who drive like dicks.

    (I would stress, however, that drivers driving like dicks around cyclists present a significant threat to life, whereas the cyclist cycling like a dick *generally* presents something more on the order of an inconvenience/annoyance.)

    • nenita says:

      a cyclist blowing through a light or a sign (I see them doing that far more then a cars) cannot be a threat to life? it’s just an annoyance? gtfoh with that bullish.

      as a person that has been forced to slam on brakes and/or swerve to avoid a dick on a bike I can promise you it’s way more then just an annoyance.

      some dick on a bike cycling along in front of me slow as shit is annoyance. someone blowing through a controlled intersection is a threat to my life and theirs.

      • Cat says:

        Just to be clear, if you’ve never clipped into bike pedals or rode a bike in a city you may not be aware that bikers aren’t going through stop signs to be cocky, dangerous, or inconvenience you. It’s because it’s a goddamn effort to un-clip, or stop and downshift, or in the case of a fixie that doesn’t have brakes, well it’s sort of obvious there. But if you have the option of perhaps not stopping, it saves a lot of effort, energy and hassle. So if you can avoid it, you do. If you’ve never biked here, you may not appreciate the effort that goes into shuttling your body across this hilly city.

        Not that I’m saying cyclist shouldn’t stop. I’m just pointing out something you may not be aware of. Cyclists (aka fellow humans that happen to ride bikes) aren’t typically that stoked about dying either, so they aren’t doing it to put your life or theirs in danger.

      • Chester says:

        I get what you’re saying and I put in and stressed “generally” for that reason.

        When a cyclist runs in front of a car with right-of-way, it’s definitely more than an annoyance and can be dangerous. But I, personally, rarely see that happen — either as a cyclist or a driver.

        As a person who drives and cycles, I can promise you I’ve had way more close calls due to bad drivers than cyclists. And the close calls with bad drivers posed much more risk of harm to me and others, whereas close calls with cyclists generally posed much more risk to *them*.

        In the end, bad drivers present *far* more risk to the safety of anyone using any method of transport, when compared to cyclists. Cars that run red lights and stop signs kill people as a common occurrence. If one were to look up statistics on deaths or injuries due to cars running lights vs. bikes running lights, the damage of the former would almost certainly drastically outstrip the latter…even despite cars running lights less frequently.

        But my main point is that there are idiots in every category of transport and it’s wrong to extend one’s resentment of the bad seeds to the rest.

      • Chester says:

        Also, to Cat: I personally don’t like to justify running reds/stops by noting the physical exertion involved in revving back up on a bike…even though, yeah, that’s totally the reason why I do it.

        I think it makes more sense to lead off by noting that it can be done safely and considerately…that cyclists, if they slow down when approaching an intersection, can see if anything is coming across, and continue through if there isn’t. When a cyclist does the “Idaho Stop” conscientiously, it doesn’t hurt anyone.

        Anyway…I’m just trying to say that it seems better to highlight how responsible Idaho Stopping is benign, rather than highlight a cyclist’s personal incentive.

        After all, most drivers aren’t going to give a shit about a cyclist working less hard…particularly if they think they have an axe to grind with cyclists.

    • MrEricSir says:

      Oh dear, Chester, that sounds like a reasonable, considerate, and well-thought out response.

      You must be in the wrong place.

      • Chester says:

        You’re probably right, Eric…sir. I’m going to try to work in a Hitler reference in my next comment.

  13. Jake says:

    I’m sorry, this is a bunk rebuttal of William’s point. Cycling and driving are both valid forms of transportation and both have protections and restrictions under the law. Bad drivers who violate the law are a danger to other drivers, themselves, pedestrians and cyclists– these people should be the focus of any cyclist activism. Addressing bad driving habits and laws that put cyclists in danger are the issues we should pursue. The problem with Critical Mass is that it operates outside the law and puts cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians in danger and serves only to Escalate The Hate. You can’t justify illegal behavior by saying you are perpetrating it on those that have perpetrated it against you, this is not valid. Additionally, you are perpetrating your illegal activity on everyone, not just bad drivers, so it’s not even retribution you can claim. Just straight-up assholery.

    And not only that, it’s just bad strategy. If you want to effect change, don’t undermine your own message of peaceful coexistence with anarchism and violence (you may not plan for it, but we all know that it has/can happen). And if your goal is not peaceful coexistence, but complete eradication of cars from SF, then you’re delusional and no reasonable person is going to pay you (and possibly by extension the entire bike community) any mind. Change comes in pieces. Work on lifting the injunction, work on getting more bike lanes, work on getting better enforcement of traffic laws that protect cyclists, work on raising awareness for cyclists through community outreach, work on the image of the community as a whole first, then we can take further steps towards a bicycle utopia.

    Not that any of this will make a difference to the Critical Mass enthusiasts. I’m pretty sure that political change is just a cloak of validity they throw over themselves to justify having a little reckless fun once a month. I’ve ridden critical mass before and it IS fun. If I didn’t care so much about the cyclist cause, I’d probably look for reasons to justify participating in it myself. But I do care about making SF better for cyclists, so there’s no way I can justify setting the cause back any farther with these selfish shenanigans.

    • Chester says:

      +5, at least.

      I’d love to see Critical Mass morph away from in-your-face civil disobedience and toward a courteous and law-abiding group ride. A friendly ride would do a hell of a lot more toward convincing non-cyclists that cyclists deserve the rights accorded by law.

    • mistersmith says:

      this is without a doubt the most well-reasoned anti critical mass comment on this post. where are hugh, rod, and allan to provide the well-reasoned counter?

  14. Neo Displacer says:

    I was driving my car one sunday a few weeks back. I was slowly following 3 cyclists up 23rd st. My car is geared for the Autobahn so loping along in 1st and having to engage the clutch several times a minute is not the best. But my sun roof was open and the day bright and warm, and the cyclists gave me a warm feeling too. I was very happy to see so many cyclists. I really did laugh a bit as I followed them.

    It wasn’t always this way. 20 years ago cycling was hella dangerous and few folks did it. Really, in the pre-email days, the only cyclists you saw were messengers. The changes in the last few years are profound.

    I think someone smarter then me could get to the actual root causes for the changes in San Francisco. Even so I submit Critical Mass was a fundamental reason for the changes. Changes that include more bikes, reconfigured streets, tree lined streets, car free sunday streets, and parklets. I think Critical Mass forced us to re-examine our city. I think we found it wanting.

    So you could argue that was then and this is now and Critical Mass should stop. I say it shouldn’t. I say it should continue until all of the old remnants of the 1950′s transportation plan of commuting from bedroom communities to the city are erased.

  15. ooeygooey says:

    Critical Mass is great if the route is pre-planned and announced publicly so it can be avoided by those walking and driving, and joined by those wanting to ride in the street. I might even participate myself, if that were the case. But, it’s moment of “protest” is over and it needs to grow up and be civilized in order to continue to spread the message, otherwise it will die, either by act of law or because people don’t want to be “dicks” anymore.

    • ooeygooey says:

      This, by the way, is not meant to imply that you can’t or shouldn’t ride naked. The ride is great, just advance the plot, so to speak.

  16. @Cat:
    If I were driving car in which it were “inconvenient” to stop, it would be _illegal_ for me to drive that thing. As a pedestrian, you’ve just made my case as to why I prefer to share the road with cars than bikes.

    If my “fellow human beings that happen to be on a bike” want to prove to me that they are conscientious co-owners of the road, they’ll _stop at red lights_.

  17. C. says:

    Wow. Lots to consider here.
    My first response to this is that, whether or not this is represented in Critical Mass these days, it is important not to hold onto an “us vs. them” attitude toward automobile drivers, because it is important to promote mutual understanding as well as awareness of and support for bicycle riding.
    I think Critical Mass can be cool and fun, and a good representation of bicycle riding and all its support in the city – and should continue. But it can also qualify as a “dick move” , when riders depart from a ride plan, take over whatever streets they please, and show aggression to drivers and pedestrians (one of my friends was once physically threatened by bike messenger dudes when he tried to ride his bike ACROSS a Critical Mass path). It should just not be regarded as an excuse for aggression.
    That said, I don’t really like the Bike Coalition. I think they’ve done some great advocacy, but they also mix it up with all kinds of extreme political views and lifestyle choices, and are somewhat bent on everybody conforming to their views and choices. They are extremely anti-car, and not just pro-bike. This fosters an “us vs. them” attitude, and is used to justify aggression and rudeness.
    Not everyone can ride a bike to commute, to run errands, etc. Cars are needed by lots of people. This is just true, and an extreme political view doesn’t make it go away.
    There are also initiatives that are more anti-car that really pro-bike, such as the ridiculous construction project on Valencia Street, to widen the sidewalks a few feet. This took forever, and seemed quite expensive, for a few rectangular spots of grass the size of a large coffin. Why don’t we make parks where we can really spread out and enjoy parks? Why don’t we just widen the bike lanes, and add protective bike medians? Why don’t we use some of that now-sidewalked space for bike parking?
    Maybe the Valencia St. project will producing a walking, hanging-out-on-small-rectangular-patches-of-grass, outdoor-bistro-seating-and-wine-sipping revolution, and so prove me wrong, but, dude, really… that was a lot of time, construction guys, big heavy equipment, digging, dirt and concrete; pretty “make work” if you ask me…
    That said, I still think we can do lots and lots more to make this city a bike-friendly, bike-safe, and generally bike-able city, and we ought to focus on that, rather than on making things harder for cars and drivers and having a negative attitude toward them. It doesn’t have to be one vs. the other.

    • TJ says:

      Disagree on the Valencia St. project. I think it is completely worth it, and totally awesome. Come the SF summer month of Septovember it’s going to be fantastic to take advantage of the sidewalk seating at many of our favorite restos and cafes, and the street should get more walk and bike traffic than ever.

  18. The Tens says:

    I’m not reading any of the comments hear, mainly because I’ve had too many Tecates tonight, but as someone who has never owned a car in their life, I am completely against Critical Mass. I have been on a bus numerous, numerous times when elderly and disabled people have had to get off and walk or move their wheelchairs blocks to get to their destination because critical mass has stopped traffic. It’s not comparable to other times when streets are shut down, because those times, people are given time to make other plans for transportation.

    Yes, drivers can be assholes too, and have more of an ability to cause massive injury than bikes obviously, but that doesn’t mean that bike riders should counter by acting like assholes themselves. If I felt that Critical Mass accomplished anything except creating animosity toward bicyclists, I might feel differently.

  19. Cranky Old Mission Guy says:

    I have an idea.

    How about all us pedestrians pick one day per month to meet, link arms, and walk from one place to another — completely blocking the streets AND the sidewalks — while randomly ignoring traffic laws, common sense, and any notion of courtesy to other San Francisco residents (we’ll blame it on “the fringe element”)? I’m sure the bicycle people will be happy to show their solidarity by not trying to cross our lines!

    Oh, wait… we already have something similar: it’s called “Bay-To-Breakers”! Let’s do that more often!

  20. suckerpunch says:

    What I consider a “dick move” is to drive to downtown on the last Friday of the month and then get enraged at a few bicyclists keeping them from going home to their hookers and/or pharmacy drugs.

    • Cranky Old Mission Guy says:

      My point exactly!

      Pedestrians, let’s OWN the streets one day a month, and show the drivers AND the cyclists that they aren’t the only dicks on the street! Who fucking CARES if those loser pedal-pushers can’t make it to the pharmacy for their Motrin and Ace bandages? FUCK ‘EM!!!

  21. [...] Our cranky old commenter Cranky Old Mission Guy might be on to something: [...]

  22. Rod says:

    Critical Mass, like many things, gets demonized on the internet by people who haven’t had any real experiences with it. it’s definitely not terrorism, hell, there are small children and toddlers in trailers riding Critical Mass. it’s not an angry vibe at all from the cyclists. i’ve also never witnessed destruction of property, with the one exception a couple of years ago when a driver was deliberately in the process of running over a biker and someone smashed his windshield.

    the thing about Critical Mass that ruffles feathers is that once the first cyclists goes through an intersection, they don’t stop coming until the last one is through, regardless of a change in signal. This can create traffic jams and delay drivers about 10-15 minutes, and delay pedestrians less than that.

    i’m neither in defense of Critical Mass nor opposed to it, just trying to give the reality of the situation. i’m a cyclist, a driver and a pedestrian and i have mixed feelings. it really depends on where you stand on bicyclists having a party/asserting their presence vs. that 10-15 minute delay for some commuters. in general though, i think most of the people riding are just doing it because it is a fun ride. the reality vs. the way it’s described in most of these comments is night and day.

  23. pb&j says:

    As a handicapped person, telling me that owning a car is a dick move prompts me to say: go fuck yourself. Ever tried to get around this city when you can’t walk? Yeah. I thought not. Take your precious fixie and those stop signs you think don’t apply to you and shove them up your entitled ass.

    • knees not so great, akshully says:

      as someone with zero cartilage in my knee, walking on a cane, and too young for a knee replacement, i super appreciate it when the upstanding, responsible, and “we’re just here to have a great time why can’t we get along” folks of CM refuse to let me hobble across the street because those red lights don’t apply yo them. even better when i actually got hit by multiple bikes trying to make my way to my ortho appointment.

      great impression kids.

  24. Inquell says:

    Oh my god this makes me so mad. Terrorism!?! Spending money on gas is terrorism. Critical mass is a good thing. Its not about FUN its about raising bicycle awareness and unity. Of course in every group there will be assholes who don’t let pedestrians walk or do other jerk things like riding on sidewalks, but that’s not everyone. Everyday as a bicyclist i wonder if i’m going to die. I get cut off by cars, buses, and taxis. The more bicyclists there are on the road the safer it becomes. CM is people standing up and demanding respect. Drivers assume they’re more entitled to the road and get impatient if they have to wait behind a bike to make a right turn (sometimes they don’t wait and fly in front of you). I believe pedestrians and bicyclists are more entitled to the road yet we have to sit and wait for the light to change so these lazy ass drivers can fly past us. The roads are dangerous folks, and CM is an abrasive way of living out our dream of a road dedicated to bikes. I don’t just ride a bike for exercise or because its cheap, i do it because i feel morally conflicted by driving. Fuck cars, I ride CM because its the only time i feel safe on the road. Power in numbers…

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