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I disagree with people riding in critical mass because: 1) critical mass feeds the egos of bikers but not their ethics, 2) critical mass escalates the animosity between bikers and drivers, and 3) critical mass does not actually educate drivers about the current laws for bike traffic, nor does it properly reflect bike culture and etiquette. I will be the first to admit that driver/biker relations need a lot of work, however, I fail to see how critical mass has a positive impact on the situation. Most drivers seem to have no clue or skill when driving (a pretty simple task) so how can bikers expect them to understand the significance of a critical mass?

Your thoughts on the matter?

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p.s. I love you dan. haha!

o0_dan_0o said:
everybody knows its all about getting boozed up and meeting chicks anyway.
your opinion is valid-if thats the case and it is, in actuality, your opinion, but being the devils advocate in this arena is a position thats been taken up by many, probably better, folks that have come before you and only serves to incite conversational wankery.(see post you are currently reading)
and why the hell are you posing an argument in one sentence and in the next saying that you do not want to sway people? do you not understand the basic fundamentals of communication?
if you dont like something; either try to change it or accept it. one or the other, not both.
softening your argument or otherwise capitulating to your detractors only stifles your cause.





mattbikes1 said:
You must realize that when bikers take to the streets in throngs, albeit an organized throng, they are representing all bikers in the city in which they live. I do not want to deal with the fallout of some group of people's civil disobedience and that is why I posed the argument and that is why I asked what others think about the situation. You seem to be confusing my opinion and attempt at open dialogue with a recruitment campaign. I am part of the biking community and will be for a long time, which is why I am on chainlink.org and I do ride everyday. This is only my opinion and not meant to offend or "make trouble". The fact that I was up at 4 in the morning is inconsequential to the matter. If you have a compelling argument for the validity of critical mass I would love to hear it. I could be playing the devil's advocate for all you know. I am not saying that I am right and you are wrong, just saying how I feel.

We can probably all agree that Critical Mass can be a very powerful thing that has a complicated array of effects, some of which are positive and others negative.

The trick is balancing the positive and the negative.

The great irony is: since CM is a microcosm of politics, those who don't participate can't complain. ("Don't blame me, I didn't vote.") If you want CM to be this or that, the only thing you can really DO about it is to come out and try to have some influence: be the change you want to see.

That's actually one of the major things I love about it; CM is part democracy and part Lord of the Flies. And it's a retelling every month: Piggy lives or dies based on who shows up and who takes charge.

Sucks to your anarchy.
"Sounds like your survey, whatever vague mysterious means it involved, is meant to support your theorum that hostility towards cyclists on the part of the driving population is justified or deserved.
No offense, but you sound like someone who drives everywhere."

No offense taken. Sure, i drive, and perhaps maybe you do or someone you know does too. i also ride in Chicago nearly every day. As i said, it was a personal unscientific survey based on conversations with drivers in Chicago & SF, and by no means definitve. i'm not saying that all the hostility shown us by drivers is deserved, but some cyclists seem to enjoy inviting confrontations -at least judging by some of the posts i've read on this site and elsewhere. Maybe those posts are just bluster and braggadocio... dunno.

Look at it this way: we cyclists are often the wronged party, and as such are entitled to assert our rights to share the road. The operant word being "share." i simply believe that to be respected, one needs to show respect. It is wrong for drivers to drive as if they were the only vehicles in the world and need give no quarter. It is just as wrong for cyclists to behave likewise. A roadhog is a roadhog is a roadhog.

As i've said, i like big group rides, but i also do not believe i have any entitlement to be obstructive. We cyclists get a bad enough rap when we ride on our best behaviour. Why make it worse?
As with any kind of movement or cause, those who believe in it are more able to do effective day to day advocacy when they don't feel like lone wingnuts. Possibly the actual act of critical mass makes people think about cyclists as a force to be reckoned with, a large diverse group of actual people, or a bunch of fun friendly folks one might like to emulate, possibly not. More importantly, individuals who attend critical mass feel more energized and confident: we bike away with the sense that we are part of a community of folks who imagine a similar level of safe access to city streets. When i know i have that outlet, i'm more able to articulate myself to coworkers, non cyclist aquaintances, and random stranger motorists in a level, friendly, positive way. I'm more able to express those arguments that might actually change perspectives. The ability to have the periodic experience of being immersed in a celebratory critical mass crowd allows me to get through those moments when hostile drivers are making left turns in front of me; it helps me maintain my perspective when i'm playing an annoying game of chicken-leapfrog with a CTA bus. I wouldn't argue that Critical Mass is my most effective moment of advocacy, but i would absolutely argue that the community created by events such as critical mass gives me some of what i need to be the most effective advocate i can be.
Thanks to all for your thoughts. It has been interesting to read what you all think about the matter. I am a little surprised by some of the responses, but I knew it was a provocative post to begin with. Ride safe everyone and enjoy the rest of the summer as cold weather is right around the corner. Thanks again.
here here. very eloquent.

mat defiler said:
As with any kind of movement or cause, those who believe in it are more able to do effective day to day advocacy when they don't feel like lone wingnuts. Possibly the actual act of critical mass makes people think about cyclists as a force to be reckoned with, a large diverse group of actual people, or a bunch of fun friendly folks one might like to emulate, possibly not. More importantly, individuals who attend critical mass feel more energized and confident: we bike away with the sense that we are part of a community of folks who imagine a similar level of safe access to city streets. When i know i have that outlet, i'm more able to articulate myself to coworkers, non cyclist aquaintances, and random stranger motorists in a level, friendly, positive way. I'm more able to express those arguments that might actually change perspectives. The ability to have the periodic experience of being immersed in a celebratory critical mass crowd allows me to get through those moments when hostile drivers are making left turns in front of me; it helps me maintain my perspective when i'm playing an annoying game of chicken-leapfrog with a CTA bus. I wouldn't argue that Critical Mass is my most effective moment of advocacy, but i would absolutely argue that the community created by events such as critical mass gives me some of what i need to be the most effective advocate i can be.
is this trolling?

Chuck a Muck said:
It seems the dead horse needs a beating again...
I say give us all water guns and fill them up with lemonade before we go out, and then see how everyone feels about us then.
where do these states come from? I've heard that about 75% of all statistics are made up. Did someone survey these drivers that are stuck. I wonder if a once in a lifetime emergency is making it to the resteraunt on time or to get those jeans on sale before the gap closes. How many of these people are experiencing all three of these ailments?

h3 said:
You know, that's a good point.
Especially since 90% of drivers caught in the mass are either about to deliver, on their way to the hospital, or having some other sort of once-in-a-lifetime emergency. cutifly said:
I think he has a very good point and a right to express it, Go USA>. We are basically unruly mob shutting down the streets @ the most busy time of the week in downtown. Just try to justify it when the lady is having a baby in the back seat or someone is having a heart attack and is stuck. I tell you are a extreme liberal cause it is ok to disagree and get bent when someone is pretty much correct in their statements and then it seems to offend you. And no I am not a Republican either. Feel free to get pissed and bash me back.

alvin mitchell said:
well just dont ride in the mass then.I enjoy riding in Critical Mass even if it doesnt make sence to some people.Has everything you ever done made sence.I it has then you havent lived.Just the freedom of bicycles taking over the streets for a few hours once a month doesnt hurt anyone.Why are you on THe Chain Link you trouble maker.You probably dont even ride.Your awake at 4 inthe the mourning starting a stupid discussion like this.You must be a loney goffy.Is that a meatball your holding.Ding ding ding ding !!!!!
I am having a long awaited heart attack at this moment and I see you laughing at me while I see a white light. I mean one life in 4000 is ok.

Davo said:
where do these states come from? I've heard that about 75% of all statistics are made up. Did someone survey these drivers that are stuck. I wonder if a once in a lifetime emergency is making it to the resteraunt on time or to get those jeans on sale before the gap closes. How many of these people are experiencing all three of these ailments?
h3 said:
You know, that's a good point.
Especially since 90% of drivers caught in the mass are either about to deliver, on their way to the hospital, or having some other sort of once-in-a-lifetime emergency. cutifly said:
I think he has a very good point and a right to express it, Go USA>. We are basically unruly mob shutting down the streets @ the most busy time of the week in downtown. Just try to justify it when the lady is having a baby in the back seat or someone is having a heart attack and is stuck. I tell you are a extreme liberal cause it is ok to disagree and get bent when someone is pretty much correct in their statements and then it seems to offend you. And no I am not a Republican either. Feel free to get pissed and bash me back.

alvin mitchell said:
well just dont ride in the mass then.I enjoy riding in Critical Mass even if it doesnt make sence to some people.Has everything you ever done made sence.I it has then you havent lived.Just the freedom of bicycles taking over the streets for a few hours once a month doesnt hurt anyone.Why are you on THe Chain Link you trouble maker.You probably dont even ride.Your awake at 4 inthe the mourning starting a stupid discussion like this.You must be a loney goffy.Is that a meatball your holding.Ding ding ding ding !!!!!
I used to think it was about something. Then I learned it was about nothing. Then I learned it was about everything. All I really know is that it is a fun way to experience parts of chicago on a bike that I normally wouldn't go to. Im surprised since this has been going on for 10+ years that the radio stations don't mention it in their traffic report. Its not like CCM is a big surprise, although most non riders are, it happens on the last friday of the month starting around daily plaza. I like the lord of the flies metaphor, that experience can be felt depending on where in the ride you are as well.

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