The Chainlink

I don't see any posting in the "Upcoming Rides and Events"

I didn't see any ride reports or information about the January ride.

Has the Critical Mass movement been discontinued, just like the Auto Show Shutdown?

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YAY! let's go for a ride :)

I have not done Critical Mass for a long time. I loved it: it made me feel a lot safer riding the streets with a lot of other cyclists.  It was amazing to have the street be safe and filled with a feeling of joy.

I think the focus on the inconvenient side of it is noticed by other bike riders, not by car drivers. I have never had a person who drives downtown even mention it.  

I have been biking for transportation for a long time and have never felt that Critical Mass detracted from any progress. For example, it really doesn't seem to have impacted at all the implementation of bicycle infrastructure. If anything, it means there are more bike cops downtown on Fridays.

That most people are laughing and excited as the CM rolls by has always been my experience too. I love it. 

This is fascinating.  So most of those people in cars (cagers as they have been called in this space here) are laughing and excited as they idle out their smog on all those streets as CM rolls by?  As most of these people sit in their cars idling out that smog, they are delighted by the protest against them as members of a car sick culture as was described elsewhere here?  I'm just trying to picture of all these members of a car sick culture being excited and about this.   

Well if you want a clear picture, nobody’s stopping you from going and seeing for yourself! I have seen people who just turned off the car and laughed about it, people playing music, and as others have mentioned, people walking on the sidewalk and watching from apartment and store windows. It’s just my two cents, but i think the characterization of participants as belligerent and confrontational, and motorists as fuming and vengeful, has little to do with the actual scene.

For sure, perspective has a lot to do with it.  But for the clear picture of the very real and very negative fall-out for the community, you have to have the whole picture, and here is a terrific example of that.  People in the ride like it, people not in the ride tend not to, and first-hand they cite similar examples and harms to cycling that others have given here.  Here are some examples over a wide range of dates from locals and visitors, and I'll share the link below:

"I'm an avid cyclist for fun, sport and commuting....and I HATE Critical Mass.

Aside from being utterly obnoxious, the threatening behavior toward drivers and even pedestrians sets the greater safety and acceptance of cycling in the city back with every event.      I actually avoid cycling on and around the Critical Mass events due to the residual bad feelings it leaves in its wake.  I rarely have drivers or peds yell at me or cut me off but when I do its at the time of or right after this mass demonstration of stupidity and selfishness -- suddenly, all cyclist become "the enemy" even the rule-followers like me.  Not cool.  The participants do nothing but bolster the stereotype that all cyclists are self-righteous, entitled jerks."

This one too captures both the "for" and "against" views pretty well. 

"The ride was a awesome experience, being in a group of 500 bikers on a Friday evening cruising the streets of Chicago is something everyone should experience. On the other hand, I can definitely see the frustration and anger from everyone else that is not part of the ride. Critical Mass disrupted traffic continuously until everyone passed the intersection, which could be 20 mins or more. I ran into a friend on State St trying to cross the street but couldn't get through the hoards of bikers for 20 mins. Yelling "Happy Friday" to onlookers and commuters did put some smiles on their faces but others looked like they wanted to run us over."

https://www.yelp.com/biz/chicago-critical-mass-chicago?utm_campaign...

Summary:  People who like it, like it.  Naturally, why else would they participate.  People who are afflicted by the event, including cyclists AND PEDESTRIANS recognize the very negative views the event triggers toward cyclists. 

lol at taking yelp comments as a survey sample vs, like, actually seeing people and interacting with them as you ride 

So Gort what you would do to update your perspective is observe those yelp comments in addition to what people right here in Chainlink have observed, and not laugh about these harms to cycling.  Here's what people have been seeing, as shared in a different post right here in addition to yelp, which were set forth as examples (versus your survey sample strawman). 

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For sure there are some participants every time whose goal is simply to antagonize and goad drivers, or, I actually stopped doing CM because it absolutely is about intentionally trying to cause congestion, if not confrontation. Setting out to prove to everyone that cycling causes congestion by intentionally causing such congestion like this is not in the interests of cycling.   You have no idea who you are actually inconveniencing.

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Gort, you can lol as you put it regarding what Chainlink members have observed and posted, or at yelp, but these PR fails for cycling remain.  Why would you lol about a pregnant woman being delayed in traffic?  If you want to lol about the troubles this causes others, then you too are becoming part of the problem. 

Wow, the entitlement is strong with this one! Seriously. Why should anyone who ACTUALLY RIDES Critical Mass "update their perspective", on the basis of you saying negative things on the internet?

You can keep copying and pasting the same quotes all you want, people are still going to disagree with you.

Gosh if these yelp reviews don't turn around quick CM might go out of business 

How do you even live in a city without understanding that there are going to be interruptions and inconveniences. Are we to imagine a city where people in cars are never delayed except for one friday a month, after rush hour? 

Yelp, for people who think anyone cares what they think...

Beautiful picture up there by the way - very nice.

The teachers' union protest is a great example.  They came off to many people as absolute idiots.  Whether they are or aren't is something I'm happy to discuss separately for the small price of a few beers, but their protest and the TV coverage was a major public perception fail for them.  The whole idea that such a spectacle represented the the people who are supposed to be educating the next generation of citizens and leaders was unsettling. 

Same/same when we come off as idiots on bikes.  Everybody knows we're not "taking back" the streets.  They were never ours in the first place to take back.  They're a public shared asset, governed by the rules of the road, and if we take an anarchist stance then we should expect to be treated as if rules don't matter.  That's exactly what I DON'T want people to think when I'm on the road on a bike. 

Moreover, if we take the stance that car pollution is a bad thing, then having a bunch of cars stuck idling out their exhaust while waiting as CM passes by is the last thing we want. 

This is the sort of thing that is the undoing of some of the positive perceptions of cycling which I agree with others is something that is pretty important.  We can say that CM isn't meant to be advocacy - my hunch is that for some people it is, and for others it isn't - but the negative sentiments it evokes from others is bad for cycling.  Whether we in this space agree with Kass or not, other folks do, and those negative views aren't random or isolated, and adding fuel to that fire is a bad approach and outcome. 

Also, if the CM participation is high in the summer but low in the winter such as with bike lane usage, folks in cars immediately point out that there's a bit of wisdom in taking a car with a seat warmer during 5 months of the year to get their children to and from wherever they're going, whether we call them names or not.  Maybe taking back the bike lane people aren't using much in the winter is somewhere to start.  As people ask for stepped-up bike lane enforcement, not using them very much in the winter and then blocking car traffic in the summer seems, well, we've sort of covered that. 

Car folks probably have great feelings and pride too.  Kids love to play with toy cars, and go to the auto show.  They all come running when they see what they think is a cool car roll up.  Everybody loves a spectacle.  The key is to come across as a good one and not a bad one like CM does in the perception of many, right or wrong.   

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