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Giong to Mass With the Mayor

Mayor Tom Potter Rides With Critical Mass!
ONE LESS CAR!
ONE LESS CAR!
I was running a little late, as I had to fix my light. Normally, I wouldn't be late for such a small detail, but at this Critical Mass, riders were asked to be VERY LEGAL, as the MAYOR was riding with us.
That's right, I said the mayor; at Critical Mass. I've never heard of such a thing before, so I just HAD to be there!
When I got to the North Park Blocks, the Mass was still waiting for stragglers like myself, so I was in luck. I spotted Mayor Potter right away, and he wasn't busy, so I approached him, shook his hand, and thanked him for riding with us. He was very cordial, although he seemed rather nervous. I would be too, if I were a public figure, taking such a big risk.
Now, I grew up here in P-town, and I remember Police Chief Potter (and Mayor Bud Clark) very fondly. I have much respect for our recumbent-riding mayor, and I was truly thrilled that a candidate I had voted for had come willingly to a demonstration. Days like this reaffirm any faith in democracy I might have left.
Some people were greeting riders, handing out lights to those who didn't have one, and handing out maps of a pre-planned route, along with information sheets. The sheets explained:
"A few of us have been working hard to communicate with new city councilors Commissioner Sam Adams and Mayor Tom Potter regarding Critical Mass...
... We think the city needs to take a new look at police enforcement policies and practices on the ride, given the last two years of heavy-handed and unfair police treatment of Critical Mass. We are hoping that the police presence in the future can be limited to a smaller contingent of bicycle officers with positive attitude that will primarily act as a deterrent to rude behavior by overly-aggressive motorists and cyclists alike."
It went on to list a few rule-like items, about being polite, and safe, and having a good attitude.
As the final riders assembled, I had time to circle the park and count heads. Now, I am pretty good at this, as I teach Sunday school, and volunteer in the public schools, and children are much harder to count than adults, as they rarely stay put (they also need frequent counting, as they tend to run off unexpectedly). I counted a whopping 187! Later, I heard that someone counted the riders as we left the park, and got 190. That makes sense to me, as I didn't count the 3 riders in police uniforms, who rode inside the Mass, as a participant would.

Well, it turns out that riding VERY LEGALLY is actually pretty dangerous. Ideally (for the riders), if the Mass hits a red light, or the light changes as the Mass passes it, someone will volunteer to "cork" the intersection, in other words, hold up traffic, until all the riders go by. This keeps everyone together, and the Mass moving at an even speed.
Obviously, corking and running red lights is not legal. The argument for riding legally is that it should be safer. Here's the rub: When cyclists stop, motorists think the Mass has all passed, and they will turn right into the middle of it, and then they're REALLY stuck! Now, this is great, if your goal as a Mass rider is to snarl up traffic. This particular ride was a traffic nightmare. It didn't feel safe, though, with all those cars and bikes tangled up together.
Another drawback of stopping for every light was that it was easy to get rear-ended by the crush of cyclists piling up behind you. I saw a guy get literally wedged between the guy in front and the guy behind. This made me worry for less experienced cyclists, and those with poor brakes (I started to worry about the fixed-gear riders, but it's useless to worry about those maniacs, they're just going to hot-dog around, and no one can stop them, anyway).
Because of the stoplights, the Mass became divided into many small groups, so the folks in front started pulling over to wait ,every once in awhile. Smart thinking. This kept most of us more-or-less together, which is always safer on bikes.
After we crossed the Burnside Bridge, we hit that tricky spot where you have to turn right onto Grand, before you can double back, down Ankeny, onto MLK. Because we were being VERY LEGAL, each of the cyclists used their hand signals in unison as we turned right, then left. It was beautiful, with all the flashing red lights and ringing bells, like a ballet on wheels.
Now, up to this point (over an hour and a half into the ride), the police presence had been minimal. This changed radically, as we turned onto MLK. Downtown, we had been joined by a handful of bike cops, who were friendly, and did very little to limit us (one cop, whose name I didn't catch, so I called him "Officer Get In The Right Lane," was copiously keeping the left lane open to cars. That was the only friction I saw.).
On the east side of the river, the story was different. Five motorcycle cops herded the Mass into the right lane, and controlled the riders very strictly. Police cars, marked and unmarked, "corked" several intersections along MLK, corralling the ride along its pre-planned route with military precision. I wasn't wild about the situation, as it's kind of scary to have a motorcycle riding so close to you, and I started sneezing from the fumes. Even though it was a little nerve-wracking, the police were very well behaved, and the whole ride was generally a happy one: no arrests, no threats of arrest, just good, clean fun, really.
I hope Mayor Potter had as much fun as I did. I also hope that he and the police noticed that stopping the ride for lights creates a safety hazard.
Finally, I hope to see him again sometime, and I pray that this is the beginning of a new era of co-operation between the city government, who tries to keep us safe, and political demonstrators, who strive to keep us free.

add a comment on this article

need a hemi 28.Jan.2005 23:26

TheDirtRoadWarrior

It was tough to keep up with the pack on my big wheel.

It should be difficult to stay together 29.Jan.2005 03:01

JP

Sorry, 50 bicycles don't constitute "a continuous parade", nor does the guy on the St Johns bridge on his bike. What you folks fail to realize is the fact that we try to give you your rights on the road, but there is your attitude that we have to not only give you the right of way, but completely give you the road.

I continualy laugh at how lousy you folks are at obeying traffic laws.......and yet we are supposed to just sit in the traffic mess and watch you create it because you feel that there are none for you.

Critical of the Mass 29.Jan.2005 06:10

Critically Pissed

I just wanted to thank all the joyful Critical Mass riders I ran into along MLK & Burnside about two years ago. I had just adopted a puppy from the Humane Society and was driving her home. I normally ride my bike to get around and use FlexCar if I need a car these days but at the time I drove a Jeep Cherokee. Yes, I know the Jeep wasn't the friendliest beast to drive but at the time I was transporting precious cargo (my puppy). My thanks goes to the riders who decided to ride up next to my Jeep, start pounding on my hood (scaring the crap out of me and the dog) and then ultimately kicking my front headlights in until they were completely smashed. If I wouldn't have been trying to keep my new doggie calm the Critical in your Mass would have been CRITICAL. I know there are good riders out there like myself, unfortunately, the one or two foul riders who roll with your mASS ruin biking for everyone. Thanks for joining in Tom. Are you going to kick my headlamp in next on my FlexCar?

who's road is it? 29.Jan.2005 08:50

ecozeek

JP - Think. About. This. I repeat what you say to critical mass to you, with your rights to drive a two ton steel wheeled car around. What you (car driving) folks fail to realize is the fact that we (bike riders and pedestrians) try to give you your rights on the road, but there is your attitude that we have to not only give you the right of way, but completely give you the road. Eh?

I continualy laugh at how lousy you (car driving) folks are at obeying traffic laws.......and yet we are supposed to just sit in the traffic mess and watch you create it because you feel that (the public road belongs to you, and often) there are none for you.

Eh?

And - critically pissed puppy person - That some of the people in the mass took exception to the carbon monoxide producing SUV you borrowed is too bad. Stay in the flex car perhaps? Puppy too big for the flex car? But to criticize the rest of the riders and the new mayor for taking on an ecologically rightous political risk of riding with the mass and not controlling a couple of idiots who ride with the mass is just insolent on your part.

I have not riden in the mass for a while, because I'm often tired from riding to work all week on friday evenings, but these two criticisms alone have me thinking I'll be there next time. CRITICAL MASS is probably one of the most spectacular political demontrations of our time. Here we are in this much hotter than usual January, which is yet more evidence of global warming trends, with more and more Iraqi civilians killed for the oil we use to run our cars and economy here in Oregon and the US empire, and that 190 or so get out to risk getting arrested to show that public roads belong to bikes as well as cars is AmAZINg!!!! CRITICAL MASS rules.

Way to go Tom 29.Jan.2005 09:13

ecozeek

Oh. And it's great that you went on the ride Tom. Now I'm even more glad that I voted for you. There's so much wrong with our goverment and it's good to see some leaders who are leading by listening.

Share the road 29.Jan.2005 09:38

Nishiki rider

Critical Mass does nothing to promote bicycles as an alternative mode of
transportation. The Mass-holes clog traffic, become a safety hazard to themselves
and others, and infringe on the rights of automobile drivers who just want a safe
commute home.

What Critical Mass does is undo the good work of groups like the Bicycle
Transportation Alliance who understand that "share the road" means everybody,
cars and bikes. If you don't want to be part of the solution then it's best you stay off
the road.

Response 29.Jan.2005 09:42

Bikeptuer

Puppy guy, I'm sorry that you had that unfortunate experience, that is not what Critical Mass is all about. I have never seen anything of that sort happen on Critical Mass rides in the past year. It's changed and we kept it very positive last night. Motorists are people to reach out to and are not our enemy. We kept lanes free and let vehicles pass, and found many motorists to be supportive of us. To those of you of the right-wing persuasion: us bikers are patriots. By reducing America's dependence on Middle East oil we help to not fund the repressive regimes which sponsor and inspire terrorism. Indeed, the bicycle is a powerful weapon in the "War on Terror"!

to critically pissed 29.Jan.2005 09:50

kurtkabang

stop lying. having a bunch of bicyclists around you can be frightening (just imagine what it is like for a bike rider to have a bunch of cars around them EVERY SINGLE DAY). but stop lying about getting your lights smashed in. i've ridden on sooo many critical masses and i've seen a couple of incidents of bikers yelling at cars or, when seriously provoked by a car that threatens them or is driving like a madman, banging the car. these incidents have been few and far between. i have never, never seen anyone in mass just attack a car unprovoked. and yet i've talked to literally dozens of car drivers that insist that this happened to them or to their friend! it is nothing more than an urban legend, i believe created by histrionics or undercover cops to discredit the mass. so you felt frightened because a bunch of bikers were around you and you were guiltily driving an suv. admit that, stop inventing things that didn't happen.

smashed your headlights... give me a fucking break.

Rethinking Critical Mass 29.Jan.2005 09:51

Nate CityBiker

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

For me, Critical Mass isn't a protest. Is a necessity that became a celebration.

I BELIEVE that Critical Mass was started (some 11 years ago) in San Francisco to make commuting out of downtown a bit safer. If cyclists ride in a group its more likely that they will be seen by cars and respected (strength in numbers). In China there are multiple critical masses EVERY DAY. The cyclists build up just off the street and when they have enough numbers to force traffic to wait for them they ride out "en masse" and become the dominant traffic form.

I used to ride in the CM rides back in the late 90's and they were a lot of fun. We went at a good clip, we covered a lot of ground, and lots of motorists all over town saw us and the cheap/clean/fun commuting option that cycling offers.

The rides went fast because there was very little police presence (motorbikes/cars/cyclo-cops) to block oncoming traffic/intersections/bridges etc. We corked ("illegally" stopped traffic to allow the mass to continue) intersections and much of the ride was technically riding through a red light. This kept the mass in one large clump of densely packed cyclists rather than a long string of low desity clumps of bikers (sometimes with autos dangerously in the mix). With one tight cohesive group we could efficiently navigate the city at a strong cycling pace and get to see all parts of town in a very short period of time. It was great fun.

THEN, the arrests/cops took focus. I don't know why it started. Katz?

With the police waiting at every intersection to nab anybody that crossed the line, with cop cars/motorcycles hemming in and blocking oncoming auto traffic, with the group getting split between intersections stringing the mass on for blocks upon blocks the mass SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOWED down. With the mass slowed down by Portland Police exponentialy MORE auto traffic was delayed/angered by Critical Mass. People getting ticketed/bikes confiscated/arrested/etc. turned the focus away from the ride being a fun/safe/celebration to one of a protest agains unfair cyclist treatement and instilled a fear of police abuse for what used to be a fairly safe event. With the focus changed, people started coming to the Critical Mass for the confrontational value it offered them. I don't share this desire for confrontation. In my opinion, it does not work at this level. Mostly young, mostly white, mostly male, all angry these people will do stupid things to antagonize police and auto drivers for no reason other than to antagonize. This is not revolutionary people, get with it.

I offer a possible solution.

The ride used to be fun, the ride used to be fast, the ride used to be safe. The perfect example of what the bicycle is capable of. To do this, like I said before, we had to cork the intersections. Yes, it is illegal for civillians to cork an intersection but sometimes it is the only safe way to navigate a large group of cyclists through the city in one cohesive mass. I propose that the #s of police that wrangle the mass ride be lowered and only cyclo cops attend. The cyclo cops themselves cork the intersections as their primary duty and THEN patrol the group for any other infraction (assaulting drivers/autos/graffiti or whatever Critical Mass is accused of).

My guess if the ride can be fast, fun, and safe (from autos, from arrest) then there won't be as much drama/strife/violence (perceived or realized). Hell, I might start riding the mass again.

Thoughts?

Movie night? 29.Jan.2005 10:44

Friendly Dave f_bmxers@hotmail.com

My back tire went flat about the time the ride turned off of burnside and on to third, right after we all stopped and regrouped at the second gas station. Unfourtanitly I wasn't able to continue the ride. I wanted to know how the movie night went at Liberty Hall after the ride.
-Dave

Car culture kills. 29.Jan.2005 12:07

Four wheels bad, two wheels good.

"Motorists are people to reach out to and are not our enemy."

Oh, really? When you consider how many people and animals cars kill, how callous car drivers are (Think drunk driving, road rage, hit and runs, etc) and the unthinkable amount of environmental devestation they cause, is it really any wonder why some people would feel combative towards drivers? Honestly, I have never caused anyone in a car harm when I am riding my bike or skateboarding, but I have been hit by cars twice, and have had loved ones die of cancer due to the toxic world that car culture has created. I want motorists to find a better way, but forgive me if I find it difficult to turn my back on the MASSIVE suffering that their choice of transportation causes.

I turn 30 this Monday, and I have never driven a car. It's a political choice, and I believe that the great majority of people in cars could make the same choice if they weren't so lazy and apathetic. Bikes cost less than cars, keep you healthy, and are readily available. If some bastard in a Jeep thinks it sucks to have your headlights broken out or to get stuck in traffic, tough. At least I'm not killing you with fumes and taking the risk of killing people every time I get on the road.

To Fourwheels 29.Jan.2005 13:00

Bikeputer

I'm not disputing the harmful effects of cars or the fact that we cyclists have to deal with a lot of hassles and danger along the road. What I am saying is that messing with people's cars is not the best way to get them to leave their cars and ride by bicycle, nor is it a good thing to do.

Extremism at every turn? how about not? 29.Jan.2005 13:16

Two wheels and four wheels nonjudgementally

So for those driving and angry about the Mass: take a few deep breaths and realize that this happens once a month. If you live in Portland get used to it and plan accordingly - better yet, join in! If you start riding a bike around town you will realize how those driving cars need to be more aware of bicyclists and perhaps have some clue about the once monthly protest ride to raise this awareness. You know your four wheels are bad for the environment, so start doing more to use them less. Don't wait until the last Friday of the month to get started.

For those on two wheels: imagine if bikes did rule the road, and there are only a few cars here and there (bliss!). Now see everyone riding around disobeying traffic lights and stop signs, as old men slam into a woman and her child here and a teenager runs over an old lady there. Sound like heaven on earth? Traffic rules are there for rational reasons, disobeying them shows that your point is irrational.

You are not going to get rid of or overtake cars as transportation in this lifetime, so focus your time on being a little less extreme and judgemental. Perhaps instead of coming of like some radical leftist wacko you can actual make a coherent arguement that can influence someone to take a bus, ride a bike, walk or otherwise start exploring alternatives to driving. Your impatience and high and mighty exclusivity, while sincere, is normally counteractive to the movement that you are promoting.

Peace! - from a guy who drives rarely, loves his bike and his car equally, and gets his culture from yogurt and public transportation.

Corking, the techno way 29.Jan.2005 13:31

flash gordon

OPTICON. there are switches at almost all lighted intersections that can be set to constant green light by means of a flashing (but not visible) light. My friend has one on her 1988 nissan and no one seems to notice. Her gas mileage is improved and break pads last and last. It can and be turned it off, for a siren. I dont know what would happen if an intersection got two opticons pointed at it at the same time. It is a smooth ride through town, and not much of a culture jammer. Just some radio shack parts!

Thanks and Whatever 29.Jan.2005 13:58

Inlovewithmybike

Thank you to Tom Potter for riding last night. I couldn't be there, or I would have thanked you personally. Thank you also to all the other riders.
To the puppy person(again) I have been riding CM 10(!) years now, missing only a few in between. If this really happened, I am very sorry, but somehow, I don't believe it did.
To the car person giving me rights to the road, Thank you, and why don't you try riding a bike every one's in a while, maybe even on a street, not just in your driveway. And anyway, I have the right to take a full lane, and I will. Have fun in your snarled/stopped traffic, I might be the one riding a bike past you, maybe even on the side walk, and smiling.
Peace

ride on! 29.Jan.2005 18:03

longo

Critical mass is activism. The message is clear and in national unity with rides in so many major cities: there is a better way than the car. Automobiles (larger and larger) are the majority on American roads and as such need a constant reminder that driving is an expensive privilege not everyone chooses. Do police or judges or state drivers licensing people or our young children's teachers champion pedestrian and cyclist safety?

Dont forget the cyclists and pedestrians injured and killed on our roads. The national trend is for more and more agressive driving. Events like mass bring awareness to bicyclists on the road. Those who have been in cities not friendly to pedestrians know that we are lucky here in Portland, we are progressive, have many bike lanes, access for bikes on public transport, etc.

The mayor is bold to ride with us, and it was exciting, I was there, (I brought the mayor an extra light in case his failed, so he wouldnt get a ticket or arrested) but the regular commuters and mass riders out there promoting bicycling and reminding cars to "share the road" by being a physical presence, are doing the dirty work. I thank them.

In fact I would love to challenge the mayor to have a monthly car free day downtown, how about last Friday. And challenge government to reward bicyclists with tax cuts.

to: It should be difficult to stay together 29.Jan.2005 18:25

skid out

A fair reminder:
cars clog the road with traffic and my air every day of the month. Critical mass rides once a month to remind you to notice bikes. Do you complain when the president comes to town, or a funeral drives through a light? You blow exhaust, spill gasoline, drip oil, leak anti-freeze, splash water on me when its rainy, shed rubber, fling hubcaps like frizbees, raise my taxes for your road improvements and policing, violate my clean air and water rights, while I, the bicyclist, run a stop sign or cut you off sometimes. you are goliath, I am a tiny ant on the pavement. get on the right side of the issue.

Thanks CM! 30.Jan.2005 00:28

iGreenBike

I rode in the CM - and had a blast. I never thought riding in a pack of 50 - 100 bikes could be so much damn fun. It's a celebration! I'll do it again next month, and the month after that, and so on. Note to self: Need to get better bike bell for ringing!

BIKE ON!

4wheelwhiners 30.Jan.2005 02:07

2wheelwinner

i've driven a car and rode a bicycle in portland for 25 years; i've driven professionally as a cab driver and a delivery driver in the greater metro area. i've been hit by cars on my bike five times. i've never collided with a car or a pedestrian on a bicycle. i ride sidewalks, run stop lights and red lights whenever it is applicable for my safety, to stay ahead of traffic flow. when i have done so, i increase my safety. every bike accident i have been in was a direct result of a motorist running a red light or stop sign; this is routine; i can count on at least one near accident per day riding a bike as a result of driver error. if i did not anticpate drivers running red lights and stop signs, i would be dead about a thousand times over; that is an underestimate, by far.

drivers are some of the whiniest most immature simpletons, by far...including me, when i get behind the wheel of an auto; there is something about the car that turns you into a fucking idiot, completely out of touch with the road, surroundings, conditions, etc. it is sometimes very difficult to see pedestrians or bicyclists; is this their fault? usually it is mine, as the motorist.

as a bicyclist (i currently ride every day and i'm in my fifties) i have highly visible lights front and rear; still, i assume the driver does not see me, or if he/she does, doesn't care, or, will grossly misscalculate their speed, my speed and our relationship on the road. this has saved my life countless times over. there are not many motorists who are qualified to judge riding a bicycle in city traffic, as they can't even imagine the act, let alone have any experience with it; simply put, a bike is not a car: a bicyclist's visibility, hearing, stopping, maneuverability, etc., is exponentially greater than any car, let alone an SUV; and your vulnerability is increased by the same factor. it's ludicrous to apply laws made for cars to bicycles; to create this force-fit for the sake of convenience.

all drivers are idiots: the machine just automatically makes you one and you succumb; some (few) bicyclists are idiots, but the whiny little drivers take issue with this like children. who is at risk, here? the driver or the cyclist. just a five mile per hour collision between a car and a cyclist or pedestrian is enough to send them to the hospital (i know). bicyclists need to ride smart, tough, be aggressive, be cautious and do what will get them across town through rush hour traffic in one piece; to that end, i salute all the brave cyclists in portland and remind all drivers, including myself, that you are an idiot the minute you close the door and start the ignition. you are prone to distractions, poor vision, no hearing, gross misscalculations, inferior braking, poor maneuverability and overall bad judgement based upon selfish, impatient, me-first thinking that is an automatic default of all drivers at some time, and many drivers most of the time. I know. I've been a driver in portland for over twenty-five years. We suck, badly. when we run a light of stop sign it can kill; when we're talking, eating, digging around for a cd, changing the radio station, getting lost, switching lanes, tailgating, exceeding the speed limit and on and on, we are an accident waiting to happen. we kill each other at the rate of forty to fifty thousand per year. we are the problem, never the solution, and we need to shut the fuck up and give the right of way to all bicyclists and pedestrians, no matter how inconvenient that may be, because they are not creating traffic. we are. bicyclists and pedestrians are easing traffic

We don't need no stinkin' cars! 30.Jan.2005 13:48

Breezy C.

I understand some people find cars a necessity, as they probably do not live, as I do, within biking/walking/bussing distance of work, home, and the grocery store. Still, I don't think drivers have ANY right to bitch at us cycling commuters, especially for Critical Mass, which is preplanned and advertised. They can find another route, they can join in, or they can shut up! Yes, some cyclists break traffic rules (which were primarily designed for cars, not bikes), but if you bike every day in heavy car traffic, you understand how hyper-aware of your surroundings you become. It is much easier to get lost in thoughts or other tasks when you're cruise-controlling your way through a busy commute in a big ol' car, and therefore more likely to become involved in accidents. I have been very lucky to have avoided any major mishaps on my bike so far, but every single day, as I ride through downtown to work or back home, I experience some kind of negative interaction with a motorist. People cut me off on the single-lane, one way streets, people yell at me, throw crap...it's terrible! There are many considerate drivers out there, but they seem to be in short supply. I'm sorry, but it is so easy to design your life so that you never need a car. So I cannot, will not, sympathize with complaining motorists.

Second thoughts... 30.Jan.2005 16:43

Critiically Pissed

For all of those who called me a liar (I am the man with the puppy who had his headlights smashed in without confronting anyone in the Mass ride) you are woefully wrong. I am not a police officer, nor am I against demonstrations. In fact, I am an activist at heart and thrive on making better changes for our world. Yes, vehicles cause emissions that pollute our environment. I wish making parts for bikes, heating our homes, cooking dinner, etc... all didn't *also* contribute to the world's pollution. I want my children and your children to live in and enjoy this beautiful Earth. I am sure the Mass rider that smashed my front lights in was a *rare* exception to your group. I understand that and I have moved on. In fact, I have seen other Critical rides and have smiled and supported them. I know there are always the few exceptions to any group that can wreak havoc on the movement. What I don't understand is what Critical Mass is doing for Portland. I really would like to be enlightened and am not trying to be confrontational. Portland has done a phenomenal job with bike lines everywhere (not just Downtown) and TriMet's bike racks, etc... If I was able to ride my bike everywhere I would. But when I live *way* out in North Portland and need to get to Wilsonville (for example) to work I have the options of driving myself, carpooling, or riding mass transit. So sometimes I drive my Super Ultra Low Emission vehicle (VW Jetta TDI) to get around. If you want drivers to pay more attention to cyclists I personally believe there is a better way to get the point across but I am unsure of how to do it. Not all drivers are idiots. Most people have ridden a bicycle in their lifetime. We *all* need to slow down - drivers, bikers, humanity in general. What can we do so that Critical Mass enhances driver's reactions to bicyclists for the better? Also, what can we do so that CAR MANUFACTURERS produce LOW EMMISSION vehicles versus the Hummer hoopla? It is the consumer who choses what vehicle to buy, but ultimately if there isn't a hydrogen or electric car that is practical we really don't have choices but to purchase what the manufactureres give to us. Just a few thoughts... :)

"Activist at heart "= lazy 30.Jan.2005 17:21

Dingo

I really, really, really hate cars. They fart all over town getting smoke all up in our fragile fishbowl. It's hard for people to relate to this, I'm 35 and have never owned a car(and I'm Texan.)People sometimes just assume that Iv'e had a D.U.I. when I fail to have a car or driver's license. I have not, in fact I was once a repo man and a truck driver. I can back an 18 foot trailer between two nickles with room to spare, but now I back up Bike trailers.
This is the best city I've ever seen for bike culture. As rabid as I am against those nasty cars I still have plenty of restraint when I have to look at them.
My favorite is the little men who drive giant trucks that have no cargo and perfect paint jobs. I can get over their obscene waste of resources and total crapping they are doing to the planet by just knowing that some day the itsy bitsy penis that guy has is going to be found out and his big truck will be irrelevant.
Cars keep people FAT and weak. I may be stupid but I can sure kick a hole in the side of a car with my bitchin bike legs.
I think Danger mouse and his mutt must have provoked the riders or just made up some hooey to feel better about driving a poison wagon.
And if the head lamp did get kicked in......(wait for it).............HAHAHAHAHA! lucky it was just a light, and your body wasn't dragged out of your car and burned, like what happens in another country I know of that our country is stealing oil from.
Too many bikes get hit by cars, deal with us. Celebrate critical mass, it's not a protest, it's a celebration.
D the C

forgot to mention 30.Jan.2005 17:33

Dingo

This month my dog "Banjo" bolted and was struck by the biggest S.U.V. I have ever seen. The pasengers, an elderly couple, the cargo for such a rig, none, the paint job, perfect(this truck never is used for what it was built for) My reaction, self blame for not keeping better hold of my dog.

no reply yet to Friendly Dave about the movies 31.Jan.2005 10:40

CaptainPlanet

The Movie Night was totally sweet. Liberty Hall has some COMFY chairs, and there was a nice projector and screen, on which we watched "We Are Traffic" the documentary about Critical Mass. There were quantities of popcorn. After that was a humorous film about the revolution of the trees (trees taking to the streets, heh). I'm sure more happened after that, but didn't stay that long.

what happens next month 31.Jan.2005 20:38

nestor mahkno

potter has always given me the willies and shaking his hand and to my horror sayings thanks as i passed him on burnside made me feel like some sort of feel good alien had taken over what little remains of my trangressive politics. i wouldntcouldnt vote for him since he stood up the event -- and didnt reschedule -- i had expected to meet him at. the idea that the expansion of community policing -- his biggest accomplishment-- is something to get excited about is questionable. many left criminology types argue that its just a way to expand snitch culture.
anyway this was clearly a pr gig and it went swimmingly for el jefe. will he choose to continue to spend by my guesstimate >250$ cop times at least 30 cops to police a few cyclist/DEMONSTATORS???
im ready to be wrong. i was already since i didnt think hed show in the rotten weather.

stats and such 01.Feb.2005 06:44

revphil

folks please add your numbers where you think you can do better

around 200 bikers

west side:
10 bike cops (estimation)

east side:
8 motorcycle cops
1 car

several dozen interested or excited pedestrians and car drivers who either waved their arm with glee, OR stood in awe asking what was going on, or where we are all going.

0 tickets.
some people took great surprise in being encouraged to "hurry up" and get though a light that was "pink". I went though yellow lights thinking i could make it, then was distressed when it was only yellow for a moment but was pleased when the cop next to me wasn't aggro. The bike cops demenor varied from standoffish to pleasent but always professional.

50-100 stayed for the movies/beer/popcorn

1 bizarre "accident" (or something) on MLK at the I84 on ramp. where 1 car was turned sideways and was blocking both lanes, and a police car was blocking the onramp. As the bikers flowed though the incident like water i hear a cop say "ok... just clear that thing out of the way"

a few drivers were upset, mostly on MLK where bikes and cars each had a lane. motorcycle cops helped assert a barrier between the two. One girl remarked to me after being harassed by a passing motorist that she had never been called a "bitch" before. (I could have the wrong expletive, like i said correct me if you can remember) Generally, it was difficult to understand what people were yelling at us when they passed cause they usually rev their engines making their criticism amusing to the bikers who waved and smiled (and whose responce could easily be heard)

everyone i talked to had fun

there should be a documentary at the next Videos from the Resistance

Feb 25th: more bike fun

rev(ing my own engine)phil
my scar burns
my scar burns

Weapons of Critical mass 01.Feb.2005 17:51

Brian brian@projectindependent.org

Don't know if that cliche title had been used yet, but I'm feeling lazy and unoriginal; isn't college great.
Unoforunately i missed this critical mass. I would like to learn more about the orginizers of the Mass here in PDX, i used to participate every month in Missoula, which has pretty good MASS for a small town. Some of my allies out their are working on several iniatives inovlving biking and I wanted to see if any of you super smart city types would be able to help us. hear Eugene has an amazing biking system and really wanted to learn more about that. Us in Portland are in a position to help lend experience and expertise to other activists across the region. Anyone interested or who could direct me to the people to talk to, email me at  brian@projectindependent.org or drop a line at 602.751.7393. When is the next video night at the happy pizza place.
Honestly though, its pretty cool that the mayor particpated in MASS, thats gotta be a first.

For those interested in getting involved 04.Feb.2005 18:04

skwaraz

Check out the Portland Critical Mass discussion list:
lists.riseup.net/www/info/pdxcriticalmass

A good place to vent your productive energy. Plans are afoot to keep the Critical Mass excitement alive.

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