The Chainlink

After slamming Critical Mass, I'm thinking of doing the one in September so I can see what it's like to participate. I'm trying to keep an open mind, but I can't reconcile all of the inconvenience and disruption caused by CM with its lack of meaning. I appreciate civil disobedience, but only if it's to work toward some goal, which CM doesn't seem to have.

Can you help me understand CM better to help me decide if I should participate? I'm not trolling or being a devil's advocate - and I understand if no one wants to beat this dead horse yet again.

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I want to beat a dead horse every way possible. At least to make sure it is totally dead and not just kind of dead.

Mass is always more meaningful when your single and drinking, that is my take at this point. I never did make any money from it, so I can't give it top priority anymore. It is something never to forget being the very last person in the pack on Lake Shore Drive with a sea of cars almost driving over me and a very upset punk fool who was seriously considering running me over. But I have to admit some of the best times ... Let's have a real LSD mass and see how well everyone does then...

"...Critical Mass and its lack of meaning"

what an interesting sentence; really, after all of the horse-killing, perhaps the true lack of meaning is in the tyranny of the automobile, the auto industry, the acceptance of thousands of lives lost of the roads everyyear?

is CM Dada?

Does CM have a point?  I don't know.  I have ridden in one CM--last month on the south side ride.  It was great fun and for the most part the people we passed--whether in cars or on the street--joined in the fun of "Happy Friday".  The participants were everyone from "hipsters" to families with children on bikes, children in trailers, children on tandems.  I rode places I would not normally have ridden and saw parts of the city that I had not seen.  Yes, the ride blocks traffic for a period of time.  I think in most places it was probably about 10 minutes.  I have been stuck in a car in traffic jams for far longer on more occasions than I like to think about.

Bicycle police participate and even some police cars.  They helped things along and seemed to help keep things moving.

Will I ride in many CMs?  I doubt it.  But I will do it again. 

I don't think anyone can speak meaningfully of a 'meaning' beyone what the ride means to them.

When I started participating it was about being counted for me. I didn't know anyone and felt very much the outsider but understood the basic 'Critical Mass' concept as the overall mission.

Over time it became about reclaiming streets, at least on a once-a-month quasi-symbolic level, from the death machines.

As the ride grew and the culture it helped foster, it became about celebrating the bike culture we all helped create.

Oversimplification here, but I have a million things to get done tonight...

Critical Mass is a bunch of people getting together and riding their bikes. Nothing more.

I just posted on this topic on Bike Walk Lincoln Park. I was hesitant and had mixed feelings too, until I tried it. It's just a fun experience, and so nice to be surrounded by hundreds of others who ride their bikes in the city.

Is the St. Patricks Parade civil disobedience? Is the Pride Parade? CCM is a parade. The CPD rides with us, stop traffic, etc. It could be the most helpful cop experience I have ever experienced.

The Pilgrims who initially "founded" America were frustrated puritans who were too freaky prudish to stay even in starchy England! Look: $5/gallon gas is coming soon. Let's not change a thing! Let's expect the fake-partisan, for-sale professional wrestling polticians to fix it. After the Puritans? This country was founded by scofflaws to the British Crown... By EVERY definition we have been asked to hynotically chant these past 11 years THEY were TERRORISTS! At what point does a Lemming break away? If you do not stand for something?.. You will fall for anything!

A while back, I hitch-hiked a drive with a cat who had the similar pious C-CM apprehensions... he drank beer and smoked weed behind the wheel... while he lectured me about C-CM and civics... while speeding... and doing a rolling-stop at every stop sign. Puritan Scofflaw!

Methinks he doth protest too much!

I beg you... Search your head and your heart...

...Join the parade!
does "Angry Birds" have a point? Or Zima?... Or after 50 years, the suspicious proliferation of M&M flavors?....

Hmmmm... does the Eisenhower at 5:15pm have a point?.. oh yeah.... Freedom!

If you always do what you've always done you'll always get what you've always got.
As a committed cyclist and staunch contrarian, I'm not a fan. I think it has it's place but I believe it's counterproductive in Chicago. The point is not to get a bunch of people riding bikes creating a parade that everyone notices and is annoyed by, the point is advocacy via strength-in-numbers. We have a city that implements bicycling infrastructure (albeit not always well or well maintained, but then again, neither are the roads). We have a guy working for the city primarily because of his pro-cycling agenda in his last city. Editorial boards and drivers and pedestrians are well versed in all of the "goddamned cyclist" cliche's. Everyone is aware that bikes exist in the city to the point that they want to regulate cyclist behavior. A critical mass ride that starts at Daley plaza and meanders through a lot of places that often see a lot of cyclists confirms for many drivers the sense of entitlement they feel permeates ALL cyclists.

Would be helpful for people to note whether they've ridden a CCM before or not.  There's a whole different flavor to an opinion based purely on assumptions as compared to one based on at least a little first-hand experience (as observable from the perspective of having ridden... if one had never ridden, the usual falsehoods might not jump out quite so quickly.)

Good citizens don't do anything -especially THINK, without the express written permission of their rulers.

My kids and I love riding in Critical Mass.  You need to ride the event before judging it.  The group is more diverse than people think, with everyone's love of biking being the common thread.  I have noticed that recent CCM's have taken a more direct route leaving the Loop, which is less disruptive to traffic.  To me it is not so much of a protest against cars as it is a celebration of biking and touring Chicago neighborhoods.


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