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automobiles hamper 'critical mass' community bike ride

so what's up with all the cars on portland's bike paths?
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?
Exercise, companionship, zero pollutants 27.Jul.2002 10:23

Pete founder@1Collegeplace.com

Sounds like the folks of Cascadia, Turtle Island are really enjoying increasing their health and well being. It seems that their is a lot more sense of community in those rides then in riding in your own car by yourself for self. Thanks for humorous story.

I know what's right 27.Jul.2002 13:09


Ah ha. Once the Burnside ride (the only true Portland Cmass) found the Wuss ride (all government agents) and forced them to submit to our will everthing was fine. We (I speak for all real CMassers here) must remain vigilunt in surppressing dissent among our ranks and tolerate no variance from doctrun. There are too few of us already, and we must not allow counturrevolutionaries to divide us.

Those who claim that I am simply a disenfranchized newbie, without proper grounding Critical Mass theory are probably cops bent on discrediting my wisdom. Critical Mass is about alienating ourselves from the public, this is the only way we will WIN! Either you are with me or you are against Critical Mass.

The "sissie ride" must end. There is no room for people who find the agressive behavior of to REAL mass counturproductive. They should STAY HOME!

See ya next month.

Ride through FRED MEYER! 27.Jul.2002 13:24

Alex smutstain@yahoo.com

No body mentioned the four brave souls who steered their bicicletas past the angry workers who grabbed at their bikes and were making mean faces. It would have been beautiful if everyone did it too.

Hey Guess What? 27.Jul.2002 13:28


Did EUGENE gather for a Critical Mass?
i was waiting at 5:30pm at 13th and Kincaid?
Waited until 6pm to see the massive group of riders coming to see if anyone was waiting? I saw a guy with a snare drum on his bike ride by at around 5:30.
Tell me i missed it and it really did happen...pleeze. Tell me that the cars will not win in this podunk suck ass fucked up place to be aware. Tell me it went on at 5:00 and i just missed it...pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze
just give me a lobotomy already

we've had our eye on you for a while, Anarcho 27.Jul.2002 20:14

Government Agent

And now that we know you've figured out the Wuss Ride is a bunch of government agents, we're coming to get you! I mean, it really wins over those car lovers when you slow them down and piss them off. Why, I'll bet you've converted THOUSANDS of them over to biking in the past year alone. And that hurts the oil industry, Which, of course, we really can't have, can we now, Mr. Anarcho?

It really is a shame you've foiled the Wuss Ride in its infancy, since they don't slow down traffic--everybody in cars just HATES them and wants to drive MORE and MORE when they see how efficient, healthy, and conscientious it is to ride a bicycle instead. But I digress. It really is a shame that you know the REAL DEAL about how alienating the masses is the only way to win, because we could have used your help. Your intolerance of dissent is another desireable trait of our agents (although I must confess to a bit of confusion--I thought anarchy was about tolerance in an automonomous environment).

You'd better hide, Mr. Anarcho, because when we find you, things won't be pretty. Au Revoir, you've been a formidable opponent.

Critical Mass or Hypocritical Ass? 31.Jul.2002 14:20


Last friday I bore witness to a portion of the Critical Mass ride, I was stopped (yes I sometimes drive but I generally use mass transit or ride my skateboard whenever possible) at the corner of Belmont and 39th at a red light. Ho hum, yet suddenly around the corner comes a huge pack of bicyclists, initially I thought "Cool this must be Critical Mass" yet as soon as they rounded the corner they proceeded to harass the folks - including myself who were waiting at the light. We were yelled at, my car got smacked by someone riding by, and I witnessed other general idiocy including a bike rider getting up in the face of a couple of young girls riding in the back of a truck and making an ass of himself.
unfortunate -
I wholeheartedly encourage more people to ride bicycles, or walk skate whatever so long as they reduce using motor vehicles and polluting unnecessarily. What we need to realize is that we need to learn to share these roads and extend more courtesy to one another. If you want to set a positive example ride your bikes and shut your mouths and keep your hands to yourselves, mob mentalities suck whether they ride bikes or cars.