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Tenth Anniversary PDX Critical Mass!

What: Celebrate Ten Years of Critical Mass in Portland!
When: This Friday, September 26, Meet at 5:30 PM, Ride at 6:00 PM.

Where: North Park Blocks, Between Burnside and Couch, across from Powell's Technical Books.

Why: Because We Love Our Bicycles! Because Bicycles Don't Burn Gasoline! Because Bicycles don't Pollute the Air We Breath or the Water We Drink! Because Bicycles are the most efficient form of urban transportation! Because Bicycles don't Support Fascism in Amerika!

Bike for Peace and Prosperity! Celebrate the Bicycle! Ride in Critical Mass, Help Educate the Motorists!

Bring: costumes, signs, flyers, positive attitude!
aren't we lucky 25.Sep.2003 21:11


Aren't we lucky diligent CM "activists" are busy posting reminders about tomorrow's 10th anaversary ride on IMC. I haven't seen any flyers or stir in the media. One would think that if people actually took CM seriously they'd have been prepping for the event for a few months. This is the reason CM has failed in PDX.; lack of planning. Carlson's dictates that CM be apolitical and leaderless has doomed it to failure because most participants seem to think they have nothing to contribute. There is virtually no xerocracy, no advance promotion, no explanation to the general public and no attempt to mitigate the damage done by the "testosterone brigade". PDX CM deserves to die. Please allow it to die with dignity if you're not willing to keep it alive with your passion and hard work.

to recanter/alex 26.Sep.2003 09:19


You've dropped out of CM, you made your choice, you bailed, you gave up to go home and drink PBR and watch the Simpsons. Why do you keep bashing those who wish to partake? Live and let live, dude.

PBR and Simpsons? 26.Sep.2003 12:25


I'll have you know I usually drink Hamm's and haven't seen the Simpsons in years (but I did like the one where Barney got on the wagon and learned to fly a helicopter, it's amazing the lengths people go to in order to compensate for lack of beer).

I totally agree about the live and let live ethic, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't mock people. Using your logic, Republicans would be beyond reproach because they're just livin' they're lives. If clueless hipsters want to take advantage of CM and not do any of the work to keep it strong and cry like little babies when the popo scare them, I feel it is my right to laugh and identify where they went wrong. Believe me, if CM was huge and looked out for itself and had the popo and city hall dreading every last Friday or staying away entirely in order for the popo cover their own asses (like they used to), I'd be pleased. Until that time, I will continue deriding CM as the pseudo-revolutionary, diversionary, bourgie, hobby that it is.

BTW, if you're so smart, try defending CM instead of telling me to hold my opinions. If you craft a reasonable argument I might change my mind. Until then, however, I'll identifying CM's flaws as I see them.

bourgie? 26.Sep.2003 18:21


i want to know why you consider it "bourgie"? also, what needs to be done to make pdx cm better? have you lived anywhere else that holds cm's? i have and currently do and miss being in pdx where cm is as visible as it is. i work in a bike shop in minneapolis and NEVER hear any talk of it prior to a ride or after a ride. it's a bummer. (i work friday evenings and am unfortunately unable to attend the ride)

ok, bourgie is a bit strong 26.Sep.2003 23:07


First, no I haven't lived anywhere else with a visible CM.

Second, I've been drinking copious quantities of PBR because the store didn't have Hamm's.

Third, "bourgie" refers only to CM's lack of class consciousness. Certainly, not all participants are bourgie, and some are class warriors, but most are at least clueless in issues of class and CM doesn't address class issues. I, therefore, dismiss it as pseudo-revolutionary noise; a large number of people, in the streets, saying nothing. I've heard the argument that, "cars are, like, bad...and stuff" that comes from a lot of riders but that's a long way from a revolutionary solution. It isn't unreasonable for CM to develop class analysis, and bikes certainly would be a major part of any sustainable worker-run society, but CM hasn't taken such an approach. Until it does, I'll continue flipping shit at them.

As for PDX CM's inability to look out for itself and apparent masochistic desire to be humiliated by the popo, that's just my opinion.

soo....alex 27.Sep.2003 02:42

solid gold

ok genius, hows about you offer some suggestions as to what CM "should" be, obviously you seem to have them since you shit on it so much. so tell us wise ex-CM'er, what should we do? are you just pissed because it didn't start a revolution when you were in it? well no shit. these things take time. its real easy to shit on every one else's ideas, as long as you have nothing to posit as an alternative. either give us your ideas or stop whining about how things "should be". if something is pissing you off, change it. but, of course, that entails getting off your ass, and even then, you could fail. i guess its safer to just stay home and bitch without risking anything.

class 27.Sep.2003 13:02


well, i'm still having a hard time working class into cm. do you mean that it needs a larger cross section of cyclists? i recall pdx cm's where you'd have ex? city commisioner (or whatever his title is/was) charlie hales, riding along side crusty kids with dumpstered schwinn's, next to someone riding a colnago next to a handsome, bearded, fixed gear riding barista (me at the time). what the fuck does that mean or prove? nothing i guess. i hate murals that depict kids of all different ethnicities gardening or swinging. puke. um, cm is supposed to show folks that there are reasonable alternatives to the current status quo car culture. that you can get around town without polluting and wasting billions of tax dollars on a system that's dirty, stinks, uglifies (?)and kills. i don't know where i'm going, i just don't equate class with trying to get people out of their cars. (recanter/alex, it's appreciated that you didn't respond to my first post with ranting and name calling, too many people on this site really dumb it down...way too often)

class consciousness - either you get it or you don't 28.Sep.2003 10:01


With the class consciousness, I'd suggest looking up the meaning online. Do some reading on marxism, anarchism, liberation theology, etc...It's one of those things like the "magic eye" posters from the '90s where it looks like a lot of random dots at first but if you look through the surface a larger picture comes into focus.

As for solid gold, maybe you weren't paying attention but I don't think there is a CM solution. CM is built on a weak theoretical foundation and is therefore doomed. Have fun if you like, but don't kid yourself about CM's revolutionary nature...it ain't got one. Perhaps CM should use this to its advantage, advertise in the Mercury. "Hipsters Wanted - for Pseudo-Revolutionary Noise - Feel good about yourself while you feel good about yourself - Get Involved while Addressing Nothing - Tired of Feeling Vaguely Frustrated About, Like, Stuff ...and Stuff?...Ride Critical Mass!"

i get it 28.Sep.2003 15:08


alright. this is becoming annoying because you've made a statement, been asked to expand on the statement, responded vaguely then when told that you're still not making a clear cut case you get snotty and act like you what you're saying is super fucking obvious and tell people to look shit up online. i'm fully fucking aware of "class consciousness". anyways, you still have made no efforts to state what could be done to change this psuedo-revolutionary bullshit. drop out whatever. who cares.

you want me to prove a negative? 28.Sep.2003 15:51


Every worthwhile social movement has been based in class struggle. I don't see this foundation in CM. I've begged for months for someone to explain CM's class foundation and no one has taken me up on it. If you'd like to, give it a try.

And another thing; use your fucking name when you address me. All these noms de cowardice get tiring (yawn).

Here's another challenge. Define civil disobedience and direct action and explain which category CM falls into.

Lazy thinking is NOT revolutionary.

no class 28.Sep.2003 19:14

exploderwhale or ben or the joys of cyberspace anonymity

"Every worthwhile social movement has been based in class struggle. I don't see this foundation in CM. I've begged for months for someone to explain CM's class foundation and no one has taken me up on it. If you'd like to, give it a try."

i didn't call cm "bourgie". you brought up class. i want motherfuckers out of their cars. i want safer streets. my motivation to participate in cm when i can is relatively base level i guess. does this make it less worthwhile? should i give up on bikes all together?

"And another thing; use your fucking name when you address me. All these noms de cowardice get tiring (yawn)."

Aye, aye sir!

i asked you really nice earlier to offer advice on how to make pdx cm, or cm in general, more worth people's time. make it more effective. all you've done is bash the shit out of it while contributing nothing positive. way to go.

Alternative to Critical Mass 01.Oct.2003 17:38

jackie2french jackie2french@earthlink.net

I stumbled onto this site thru an indie media link. I'm so glad to see that others are questioning the motives of CM riders. Three years ago I joined in a critical mass ride and had a lot of fun. I'd broken free of my auto habit, and had been using my bike as transportation for 6 months, and I thought CM was a great way to get other people to think about using a bike to commute. But in the following months, I witnessed behavior during each ride that I found discouraging. For many of the riders, the point wasn't to encourage people to ride bikes, but rather to frustrate, taunt, and vent anger at the gas guzzling public.
I share your anger and frustration-- witnessing ALL of the thoughtless and selfish behavior that's ruining our world. And I think shaming people in public is something we all should do a bit more of. Maybe CM has taken on protest and demonstration as its purpose now.

However, MY agenda is to decrease auto use, and to make the city more hospitable to bicycle and pedestrian transportation.
I've been blabbering to friends for two years that I want to start an alternative monthly, or even weekly, ride. A ride that would demonstrate how much more fun, how much more efficient, bike transportation can be. Since I've found an audience... DOES ANYONE ELSE WANT TO DO THIS?

A few ideas...
~ All traffic laws would be obeyed during the ride. This is essential. I'm totally into filling all of the lanes with bicycles, as long as we aren't doing anything that a bike can't legally do. It is UNNECESSARY AUTO TRAFFIC that clogs streets. You all know how much easier it is to get thru rush hr traffic on a bike. We need to show that at least for inner city dwellers, riding is EASIER than driving.
~ We would look more like the people we are trying to sway, than less like them. Ideally a broadly represented public would be riding together. I want to see people in work clothes (business suits included) riding with us.
~ We would carry signs that communicate the positive aspects of bike riding-- free and available parking! Lose weight, Look sexy! -as well as pointed remarksó Why do so many children have asthma? Why is everyone getting so fat? Why are you in such a bad mood when you get home?
I have to admit, my agenda is a bit anti-suburbanite. People who live in Beaverton and commute to work downtown aren't going to be easily convinced to hop on a bike to get there. I know I wouldn't! But it would prick at my consciousness. Something might change. And as many have pointed out, there are lots of people who are dependent on auto transportation. There are good and bad reasons for that, but the point is, this isn't about you! I want to help push all of those people who COULD and WOULD make the transition to bicycles to just do it. A critical mass can change the status quo. A critical mass usually happens slowly over time.