|on the last friday of every month in portland, oregon, usa (cascadia, turtle island), citizens gather for a community bike ride. they range far and wide over this fair city, enjoying open streets, two wheels, and each other. it's a tradition that started in san francisco ten years ago and people do it everywhere now. everybody with a bike can go and have the time of their life. the community bike ride is called "critical mass".|
portland is a great place for bikes. it has miles and miles of bike paths all over the city. you can get anywhere on two wheels.
over two hundred people, maybe more, gathered for this month's critical mass, from two different starting points. at about the same time, both groups set out on the bike paths in the glorious golden light of the sinking summer sun. it was a beautiful day.
people laughed and hollered and howled. they rang bells, honked horns, and beat drums. one person had a stereo on their bike and played johnny cash.
we pedaled our bikes slowly up hills and whizzed down the other side so fast it felt like we would fly. i saw lots of my friends and made new ones, too. what a great idea "critical mass" is!
but something wasn't right. for some reason, there were cars on all the bike paths! i didn't understand why. no matter which path we rode on -the burnside path, the nw 23rd path, the broadway path, the morrison bridge path- cars kept getting in our way. it was downright dangerous of them! we took turns stopping our bikes in front of the cars so they wouldn't run us over. some drivers were mean and yelled at us. we told them "you're only stopped 'cause you're in a car." other drivers honked and waved happily. well i tell you, they better be nice when they're clogging up our bike paths! we saw several police officers in cars, and they were driving them on the bike paths too, but they wouldn't do anything about the dangerous cars on our bike paths. hmmph! just goes to show you, i guess.
finally, we got so tired of fending off the cars on our bike paths that we stopped for awhile in the middle of an intersection and danced.
i'm definitely going to ride in the critical mass community bike ride again. it was alot of fun. but i'm hoping that next time the cars will have the good sense to stay off our bike paths. whose bike paths are they anyway?