Critical Mass with Instruments

After hanging at GG Park for an afternoon listening to tunes amplified by cycle-powered generators, the Bicycle Music Festival finally took to the streets.  Obo Martin and his band were joined by Fossil Fool to provide music for the ride.  Each instrument was on a different platform towed by a bicycle, and it sounded pretty good whenever they stayed together!  The drummer kept falling back though, probably owing to the bulkiness of his craft.  Always the drummer.

Check out the crush of cyclists as they approach Divisadero and then swell down Fell past this poor overwhelmed videographer who ends up in the middle of all of it:

Many more photos available at the Bicycle Music Festival website.


Judgement Day Melts Faces at the Bicycle Music Festival

Meet Junior: Bicycle Messenger Warrior of the Mission

Anyone who commutes down Valencia or Market on the regular no doubt has come across this fellow at one time or another.  How could you possibly miss his grey grizzled flowing beard and locks, or his duct-taped battletank of a Schwinn Sapphire that he pedals around so furiously?

This morning I finally decided to say a little more than “what’s up?” and managed to have quite a nice rolling conversation with the guy (I’m sure the fact that I was wearing the exact same jacket helped too), starting on Valencia at around 17th and lasting all the way to the end of Market.  Here’s a paraphrased transcript of our “interview” while in motion:

On how long in the biz:

I’ve been a bike messenger in SF for 35 years.  The last 28 of those years have been on this Schwinn Sapphire, except for about 3 months when it was stolen in the Mission.  Luckily, a friend spotted it about 3 months later at Bay and Gough.  The jerks couldn’t even get the U-lock off (they had cut through a skinny pole to which it had been attached to get it), so they just dumped it!

On Critical Mass:

It all started when a bunch of drunk bike messengers got tired of SF police handing out $20 tickets to cyclists all the time for bullshit minor offenses, like not putting your foot down at a stop sign.  $20 was a big chunk of your take home pay way back then, so they decided to shut down some key intersections around the city and show the cops they couldn’t just fuck with them.  Seems to have gotten their attention.


Critical Mass On Valencia & 18th

Critical Mass riders demonstrate that, yes, their bicycles can come to a complete stop at an intersection… if they want them to.

Apparently, this was part of the 15-year anniversary event. Consider yourselves more aware of cyclists now!

[photo by |\\ |) |=]

Use Your Car As a Weapon, Get Beat Up By a Banana


The Halloween Critical Mass ride is always one of my favorite events of the year because I inevitably get to watch 3 bananas savage some aggro dude in an SUV.


Critical Mass Louisville

When we found out Friday’s Critical Mass was all peaceful, we went off in search of one that wasn’t. Over at milkyboots, our favorite Louisville-based webcomic, Virginia (an avid cyclist) tells us about a pal of hers named Pat who had a bad experience in the aftermath of Friday’s ride. Virginia believes Critical Mass is about fun and community rather than messing with motorists, so:

It goes without saying then that I strongly disagree with the Critical Massers who looked up Pat’s address and then went out and SPRAYPAINTED HIS FUCKING CAR. How are we supposed to get anything accomplished if we repeatedly prove to this city what assholes bike riders are? Yes, I know we are better because we ride all the time. So start acting like it. Don’t let your anger control you. If you want to spraypaint something, spraypaint the fucking slaughterhouse. Or McDonald’s or something. People in cars aren’t the enemy.

They’re just cyclists who don’t know it yet.

But wait, couldn’t the slaughterhouse just be a petting zoo that doesn’t know it yet? And the McDonald’s a Gratitude? Read the whole story (titled “Critical Massholes”) here.