While riding through greek town this evening at Halsted and Jackson a motorist pulled a weapon (handgun) on the corkers. The police happened to be right behind the motorist and arrested him and the passenger.
Please don not argue with motorists because you will never know their state of mind. Be careful!
December 2016 seems to have been the last time. Lately the police have not been coming perhaps due to the smaller better behaved groups from last year's colder months and the threat of the ride going on LSD has not been apparent. That is my take.
The group may wish to pre-empt this by contact the police ASAP, letting them know there will be changes to CM going forward, what steps the group will take to avoid unruly, dangerous behavior, such as those that escalated the situation where an angry person driving felt the need to pull a gun.
Any of the few 'old timers' of the Critical Mass rides are aware of what's happening. It's drifting away from the old days.
Look at the map: there are far too many long distances covered on a single street. The front speeds up and the mass becomes thin. You can't mass up by having the rear speed up. The only way to mass up is to have the front SLOW down.
I rode along North Avenue from State Street to Halsted and was pedaling hard to keep up with a 12 MPH speed. That's too fast, and unpleasant. It takes away the fun the ride is supposed to be.
The former convention was to make a turn every 1/4 to 1/2 mile, to slow down the mass. The aim was to ride thru neighborhoods where people were outside. It's a ride, not a race. I've made this complaint before and I've heard of others making the same complaint. Perhaps just as society shifts, the Critical Mass movement is undergoing the same societal shifts.
It takes a lot of effort to make up a map, and too easy to take the easy way out and just draw straight lines. In the past, we sometimes had two or more maps. We'd vote by applaud.
I'll continue to come to Delay Plaza at least for the start of the ride, but as soon as we speed up (over 6 MPH) and the mass starts to thin out I'll dig out my Ventra card and go home.
You are spot on with your analysis! We need leadership (new) in order to change the direction that the CCM ride has taken. I had not ridden CCM for almost a year and was taken aback on the changes!
We had no one to get the riders going, there was confusion on where to head after we got everyone off the plaza, the pace was way too fast. From what I understand, there is supposed to be "Hare and Tortoise" which (I feel) defeats the purpose of Critical Mass.
Maybe it's time to let it die, because after this last ride I was ashamed to part of it!
As one of the "old guard", the summer rides have always been an opportunity for the "frat boys" to come out of the wood work. That said, I don't ride much in the mass anymore because I got tired of creating handouts, flyers, making t-shirts, helping do the Derailleur, etc and then having people ignore me. I think it doesn't help that I'm older, fat and FEMALE. I'm not cool enough to be taken seriously.
It is *very* hard to redirect the Mass once it's been hijacked. I've tried numerous times, as have many other riders. It only works if you have a highly visible head group who have a lot of voice amplification to be heard. As an earlier poster implied, with no map, any ol' person can become the ride leader by default.
It's also very, very hard to stay up with the Mass once it starts speeding up past 10 mph. Just one car or bus nudging into traffic, one narrow street turn, or worse, a long straight WIDE road, and the mass thins out so much that it disintegrates. The fast riders have no clue this is happening as they sprint off into the sunset, but trust me, the mass must stop frequently, and it benefits by leaders who will actually sit through 3 or more light cycles before continuing the ride. Ride thinning leaves slower or more vulnerable riders scattered like fallen leaves in the wake of the speedsters--WHICH IS NOT FUN. I have been riding the CCM with kids for 17 years now (mind-boggling, that!), and it's become hard for us to stay together and it's also extremely hard for younger and less experienced riders to enjoy the ride. Which is a shame. I know that CCM was a game changer in my life. It caused me to fall into bike commuting which led to bike advocacy and activism. Chicago's Mass has always been a kinder, gentler, happier mass than many of the rides in other cities. I would hate to lose that feeling of friendly "happy Friday!"s, smiles and ringaling bike bells.
I think many of us from the old guard have grown up, moved away or gotten tired. We do need new blood. I'm just not sure how to educate the younger, ambitious set that are the present day leaders.
Good stuff here.
The mass regularly becomes cover for hooligans. It also encounters belligerent pedestrians and raging drivers.
But yes, loss of basic mass skills is a core issue, and has always been.
Exacerbated by the influx of young newbies come summer.
And doesn't help that the main website has been down for years (and Facebook doesn't have the same content archive).
There's also no Derailleur zine anymore.
Nor most of the UIC list old guard.
No easy answers.
But I'll bet some old hands are making plans, pursuant to the upcoming Tortoise and Hair mass redux (in July?) and 30th Anniversary mass (in Sept?), to start PSA'ing newer massers about mature behavior.
Why do we need to split the ride? We should be riding slow enough to accommodate the slowest rider!
Maybe we should end critical mass in Chicago because it will "stain" every cyclist in the city!
He's been charged with "one count of aggravated unlawful use of a loaded weapon without a firearms owner identification card."
Details from Friday's Critical Mass, featuring quotes from Chainlink members (I wasn't aware they were featuring):
Now if only they would spell The Chainlink correctly...
Chicagoist article/recap of the Critical Mass events from last Friday (including mention of the conversations on The Chainlink):
A motorist on Friday was disarmed by police after pulling a gun on cyclists who were riding in in Greektown for Critical Mass, a popular, monthly group bike ride that brings out dozens of participants.
The driver, Alexander Doty, 25, slowly approached an intersection in the 800 block of West Jackson Boulevard as cyclists from Critical Mass were riding through, Chicago Police Department spokesperson Michelle Tannehill told Chicagoist. Doty then got out of his vehicle, walked to the trunk, pulled out a handgun and approached the the front of the vehicle. Police were already on the scene, and Doty handed over the firearm, according to Tannehill.
Doty faces one felony count of aggravated unlawful use of a loaded weapon without firearm owners identification.
Police happened to be behind Doty's vehicle as it approached the intersection of Halsted and Jackson, according to post on The Chainlink—a cycling-community message board—by a person who said he witnessed the scene.