The Chainlink

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

Hahaha, well said. I think we (Marauders) lost our souls a long time ago (if late departures do that).

gadgetguy said:
And losing your soul makes you late and indeterminate? In that case the Marauders have lost their souls already.
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?
Pretty much. When was the last time you found a flyer on your bike? When was the last time you saw a flyer on anyone's bike?

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?
Wait... what? a flyer for what, Critical Mass? Live in the now. If I found a flyer on my bike I would be annoyed that someone was wasting paper in such a random way.

Pete Fein said:
Pretty much. When was the last time you found a flyer on your bike? When was the last time you saw a flyer on anyone's bike?
The wicker park critical mass lost its soul a year ago! Pretty much whining, brakless riding, hipster kids are now the soul of the wicker park critical mass.
I fliered bikes for RDDR (and it was recycled paper)

Pete Fein said:
Pretty much. When was the last time you found a flyer on your bike? When was the last time you saw a flyer on anyone's bike?

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?
I spread love every where I go.

H3N3 said:
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.
Loving this thread. For the record, here's the/a persistent unconfirmed listing of the event (and useful short URL for stickers hint hint):

ChicagoCriticalMass.org/wp

Been running a few years. I just updated it slightly now, fixing dead links and map. Such online listings are critical as seeds, not promises.

My understanding is that WPCM is sometimes an outstanding mass with some of the highest non-downtown turnout (right?). And speaking from NSCM experience, sometimes 9 people (or less!) with no plan happens. Original poster just sounds inexperienced with the experience, but showed useful leadership.

The Tony Riccardo in my head just told me to remind those wanting to ride over to Clark and Ridge on second Fridays. That mass almost always has a plan.
I'm kinda bummed this thread persists. Pete comes off as a douche since more than one person from the WPCM had a great time and he bounced cause it would appear he was uncomfortable or perhaps unwilling to just go with the flow.

BTW I don't ride a fixie and i detest whining so I'm not sure who Robert was talking about. Maybe Pete?
When I make a map I flyer peoples bikes. Not recycled paper.

Pete Fein said:
Pretty much. When was the last time you found a flyer on your bike? When was the last time you saw a flyer on anyone's bike?
I went. I had fun.














The End.
Me too ,I maybe new to cm riding, but I had fun aswell! ....... the end

Marrrrk. said:
I went. I had fun.












The End.
Oh and btw people I met were great and I had no prob keepin up

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