Showing Up: Fight the Internet for the Soul of Critical Mass!

After holding out I finally joined The Chainlink last week (I'm a Facebook & Twitter avoider too).  Yeah!  I get an email about events this week.  Yeah!!  After a bad run-in with a car yesterday, I decide to cheer myself up by going to Wicker Park Critical Mass. Yeah!!!

...only to find a 20+ strong crowd of mostly hipsters (and Chopper Carl), the vast majority of whom:
  • heard about the ride from the Chainlink
  • have never been on a Critical Mass
These kids are standing around waiting, no, begging for someone to follow.  I make an impromptu map and we set off 40 minutes late... and it's clear from the start this is not a usual Mass.  No cohesion, no corking, no sense of direction, no parade pace (Carl's buddy with a sound system bike could barely keep up).  And then one kid yells "Let's stop at the grocery store!" and 3/4 of the ride follows him across oncoming traffic and then sits confusedly in a parking lot.  After we get going again, I decide leading is too much work and slip in at the very back of the ride... only to find that folks thought they were following me.  I bailed a few blocks later.

This was not a Critical Mass - it was clueless mob.

I don't blame the kids involved (how could they know any better?  they've never done this before) but the the veteran riders who promoted WPCM and didn't show up.  Last night, The Chainlink showed me that we have an amazing tool for recruiting and organizing - but when we plan events like this and then don't follow through, we put our culture at risk. 

You can't ride your bike on the Internet.  As Alex said: "If you don't show up, you don't get to vote. If you don't vote, you don't get to complain."  Drivers and pedestrians and the public are not on this site - the righteous fury of our keyboards and screens is not going to get us more bike lanes or reduce dooring or show the world how much fun they could have.

Unplug, people.  Your bike misses you.

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Replies to This Discussion

payton said:
As for CM being "a mob," no, I think that many of us see CM as an experiment in anarchy -- it's not that there are no leaders, it's that everyone's a leader. I know that CM empowered me to become a leader, and it's a shame that others don't see that same opportunity.

GOD DAMN RIGHT! This brings tears to my eyes.
:-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) All for you Howie! ;-) And a lil for Spencer! ;-);-) none for this pete kid though.... Ok he can have one too. ;-) He prolly needs it more anyway. ;-)

H3N3 said:
Winking smiley abuse. Account suspended for 24 hours.

Gabe said:
Laura said: "And this said man who tried to molest Gabe, well I paid him to do it, and want my money back because he obviously failed." ;-)

Damnit! I knew soemthing was up! ;-)

Pete has a stick stuck somewhere. ;-)

Allright people, this discussion is all talked out, please continue it in the Molesting Gabe group.
Jesus kids, it's a big freakin' informal bike ride with no leaders or plan; if that is not acceptable to you don't go on the ride.

If you are going to complain about lack of leadership shut up and be the leader otherwise all you are doing is wasting everyone's time with your butt hurt crying. If you don't like it change it or create a ride that does what you want.

Coming on here and complaining is a form of saying 'I don't like this so you should make it more like I want.'

Notice the bold pronouns, they are there for a reason.

There are rides I dislike, I don't go on them. There is a ride I want to see happen so I am planning it; see how easy it is?
Sweet i have a group!!! Pick-up ride. 1 pm at Southport and Addison, Julius Meinl. just for kicks no leaders :-)
Uh Oh, Dug came back. Just when we were getting all lovey-dovey.
Since there will clearly be no group hug at this point, it's time to break out the
complaint generator. I'll start with 3 paragraphs.


My complaint about Mr. Pete Fein

Where, oh where, should I begin telling you about how self-righteous Mr. Pete Fein is? How about here: Pete is doing the very thing for which he criticizes others. Let me start by stressing that I am not attempting to suppress anyone's opinions, nor do I intend to demean Pete personally for his beliefs or worldviews. But I do allege that I must defend with dedication and ferocity the very rights that Pete so desperately wants to abolish.

When people say that bigotry and hate are alive and well, they're right. And Pete is to blame. If I were a complete sap, I'd believe his line that the sun rises just for him. Unfortunately for him, I realize that in order to begin a course of careful, planned, and coordinated action we must deal summarily with self-pitying fanatics. And that's just the first step. Remember, we must stop tiptoeing and begin marching boldly and forthrightly towards our goal, which is to take the lemons that Pete is handing us and make lemonade. Isn't it true that Pete's sole aspiration is apparently to dissolve the bonds that join individuals to their natural communities? If that's not true, tell me why not.

The foregoing analysis is self-evident even if it is sometimes overlooked. Less evident are the specific ways in which we should embrace the cause of self-determination and recognize the leading role and clearer understanding of those people for whom the quintessential struggle is an encompassing liberation movement against the totality of propagandism. Pete's vulgar, profligate animadversions are in full flower, and their poisonous petals of totalitarianism are blooming all around us. Look at it from my point of view: Pete justifies his biased arguments with fallacious logical arguments based on argumentum ad baculum. In case you're unfamiliar with the term, it means that if we don't accept Pete's claim that "the norm" shouldn't have to worry about how the exceptions feel then he will pit the haves against the have-nots. Many the things I've talked about in this letter are obvious. We all know they're true. But still it's necessary for us to say them because in a Mr. Pete Fein-led society, people who challenge the present and enrich the future will be suppressed, vilified, hated, imprisoned, exiled, and killed.
H3N3 said:
... it's time to break out the
complaint generator.

I knew there would be a payoff if I dragged my ass through this thread.

Howard: That complaint generator is a jewel. Thanks!
whoa. i'm going to have to jump in and call shenanigans here because this thread is way uncalled for.

there was nothing wrong with that mass other than that one moment of distraction into the parking lot. i'd even go so far as to say it went better than most of the WPCMs i've attended.

we moved quick, stayed together, and generally behaved ourselves in regards to the amount of traffic that had to get by. plus i made some new friends and the DOOMposter himself even showed up!
So is the moral of the story is that the internet breeds untimelyness?
The moral is that the Internet is the devil - AND IT WANTS CRITICAL MASS'S SOOOOOOOUUUL!

gadgetguy said:
So is the moral of the story is that the internet breeds untimelyness?
The moral of the story is that, since this thread was started, a listing for every Wicker Park, Pilsen, and Oak Park mass has been added to both the chainlink and Bike Winter calendars through the year 2050.
And losing your soul makes you late and indeterminate? In that case the Marauders have lost their souls already. People with no souls have more fun is what im getting out of this (and would make a heck of a bumper/helmet sticker)

So I guess this guy is looking for a mob with a clue? Could someone bring a wifi pop on the next mass? What is the best way to mount my laptop to my handlebars?

darn silly kids.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
The moral is that the Internet is the devil - AND IT WANTS CRITICAL MASS'S SOOOOOOOUUUL!

gadgetguy said:
So is the moral of the story is that the internet breeds untimelyness?


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