portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

actions & protests | bikes/transportation

Critical Mass is a Success- Every Time it Rolls

There are bennefits of Critical Mass under almost any conditions, in my opinion. That's not to say that there have not been some valid criticisms concerning possible unnecessary coordination with authorities, but CM is many things to many people, and many goals are accomplished on every ride.
Police Abuse NOT Related to Critical Mass
Police Abuse NOT Related to Critical Mass
Each time Critical Mass rolls out, we demonstrate that:

-'we are not blocking traffic, we ARE traffic'

- bicycling is FUN

- bicycling is a good transportation option in Portland

In addition:

- driver awareness of bicycles is automatically increased

- opportunities regularly emerge to educate police and other officials with respect to the rule of law concerning bicycles

- many opportunities emerge to observe police abuses, to document them, and to apply pressure towards holding officers to account for their behavior

- a significant number of bystanders often witness various police abuses, and are then able to make more informed decisions regarding policies and performance of our local officials

- Critical Mass always makes most observers smile and feel happy; that has been scientifically proven, and that's always good

On last night's ride, I handed out several informative fliers in commemoration of the Katrina War in the Poor catastrophe and hurricane, which someone else had thoughtfully prepared. THIS is outreach and cooperation. At least two new people that I know of, joined the ride last night, learned about the ride, and plan to attend in the future. THIS is community building.

We will win...we are winning...we have won!

Yay Critical Mass! It is unstoppable!

Sounds like the corporatists are trying to outlaw CM in NYC. We will not allow that to happen in P-town.

Ride on!
Success- Every Time it Rolls 26.Aug.2006 22:34


Success- Every Time it Rolls

You got that part right.

Every god damn time you don't drive you are doing the right thing. I know some times you got to burn fuel- but when you use you body you are rewarded in many ways.

reward one-HEALTH




PS- less oil = less blood
dont smell the seat
dont smell the seat

what??? 26.Aug.2006 23:34


"...criticisms concerning possible unnecessary coordination with authorities..."

i'm not from PDX, so i don't know how this could go down, but it seems impossible for CM to coordinate with cops because the ride is, by definition, leaderless. if it isn't leaderless it isn't CM, and if someone is trying to be the leader, they should be reminded of the definition of CM, and if they don't like it, they could start their own ride, in fact there is many cycling groups who go riding together that aren't the leaderless CM.

required 27.Aug.2006 05:24

anonymous or made up

Even if you are not fit, even if you do not have the whizziest of bikes, you can put max-air in the tyres, some lube on the chain and use the gears to pedal quickly, i.e. at a decent cadence. Add mudguards, trouserclips, some eye protection, wet-weather gear, gloves, lights and a bell for year-round capability. Get out there and ride assertively - not aggressively - as a 'critical mass of one'. With each and every mile set your example of how to travel with pace, grace and style. To cut down on unnecessary stops, scan the far horizon and learn the stop-light sequences. Coast or sprint accordingly, and always make it to the front of traffic queues. In that way you can stay inside the rules of the road, keep out of the fumes and not have to wait to make left/right turns at junctions. For maximal acceleration, cut down your own weight, oh and keep those tyres pumped up. A footpump kept by the door helps, one with a p.s.i. guage.
When cycling you can normally stop everywhere and anywhere, so relax, stop off where you need to shop, nip in and get your goodies in less time than it takes for a 'traffic-sitter' to park up. You can cut down on the tedium of walking that way, and keep an eye on your vehicle. Thanks to 'TEA' there are plenty (!) of bike trails, use them if you can but bear in mind that they are sometimes more hazardous than roads as the rules of the road do not apply, particularly for dog-walking pedestrians.
Helmets can help - 'psychologically' - on bike trails as there really is the risk of losing control and hitting things. If wearing a helmet, yo can cut things a bit finer, as per traffic-sitters and their seat belts. As for helmets and road-riding, does your car-driving 'mum' really expect flimsy polystyrene help when she runs you over? Did mother nature insist on Cheetahs and Golden Eagles wearing their helmets? Do 'Shimano' make helmets? What happened to the purple ones?
'Skull Mark I' is pretty well thought out - a bit like 'Eyeball Mark I' - and unless you have got those helmet straps tight as a tournequet on your jugular, you could get strangled rather spared (when 'mum' flattens you). Best to ride assertively - i.e. not in the gutter, aware of all road users and cruising at a decent speed.
As for year-round cycling, why not? A car is a tin-box - freezing cold first thing on that mid-winter morning and baking hot on that summer afternoon. If you live a sensible distance from where you need to get, you could cycle there before the car gets heated/cooled to something habitable. With sensible clothing, you should be able to maintain your temperature and not have to wake the neighbours at the crack of dawn to heat the car and sit in traffic. Less of the brum-brum obviously helps on the wallet, particularly in the era of $100 a barrel oil, and fewer Iraqi's have to get murdered just for you to get you to work, to earn the paycheck that keeps the car working.

Keep at it, and this time next year, as well as any organised Critical Mass rides that you might go on, you could put in five hundred to one thousand 'Critical Masses of One', no problemos.

P.S. Oh yes, alledgedly it is only stale sweat that stinks, so you can bike to work without worrying about having to shower on arrival or grossing out your car-bound work-mates.