Halloween Critical Mass!

October 30th, 2010 by hughillustration

Last night was the Halloween ride, traditionally the one ride of the year you don’t want to miss, for all the obvious reasons: the incredible costumes, the end of the beautiful October weather, the last warm ride for a few months… This year’s Halloween lived up to expectations. It was warm (if a little drizzly), the costumes were amazing (hard to believe you can pedal dressed as a banana), and the vibe was overwhelmingly positive and fun.

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photo by Steve Rhodes

Rent is too damn high - Halloween Critical Mass
photo by Steve Rhodes

Glad to see some No on L (the stupid Sit/Lie law) joining us. This stupid proposed law is an attack on our public space, and public space is what Critical Mass is really all about. Let’s vote it down! (More info at Sidewalks Are For People.)

Passing out Pissed Off voter guides - No on L at Halloween Critical Mass 2010
photo by Steve Rhodes

These are some scary clowns:
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photo by Steve Rhodes

Speaking of clowns, who was leading the ride last night? Seriously, some lame ass decisions being made at the front. After a good decision to leave on Embarcadero, we made some pretty bad moves. Coming up Bay to Columbus was a bad idea — bikes had to hop a curb. And then, instead of heading into North Beach via Columbus, we turned around and headed back the same way we came to go to downtown. Nothing wrong with downtown, but did we have to ride almost the entire way on Market Street? For those who may not remember what happens with Critical Mass on Market Street: there are grates, lots of them, and rail lines that are slippery in the rain and difficult to cross. (One reason why exiting on Embarcadero was a good idea, hello?)

At one point, it seemed we were going to visit Union Square, but no, we turned back to Market. At another, we were on our way to the Castro, but no, we turned right on Guerrero. That’s when I split!

I concluded that people in the front of the ride were lost. Seriously, if you’re going to ride at the front and call the route, you must have a passing familiarity with the city layout! Or at least bring a map!

(Alright, I know I’m being a crank. I could have ridden to the front and shared my enlightened advice, but I’m hoarse with a throat cold and couldn’t raise my voice above a whisper all night.)

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photo by Steve Rhodes

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photo by Steve Rhodes

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photo by Steve Rhodes

Tyrell Voitkampf also got some good shots:
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photo by Tyrell Voitkampf

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photo by Tyrell Voitkampf

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photo by Tyrell Voitkampf

Hey, we put the word out for more sound systems to join our ride on Halloween. With that many more people, we need that much more sound to keep it festive! We were happy to see that the good folks from the East Bay Bike Party joined us. The EBBP rides the 2nd Friday of the month, and it leaves late, so you can ride after the East Bay Critical Mass!

20101029202657 Mr. Smith Goes to Mass
photo by Tyrell Voitkampf

Joel reported a nice encounter he had towards the end of the evening: “Best of all, saw someone riding alone near my house after I left the ride. She was glowing. I asked her if she’d been in the Mass. She said, ‘Yes! but only for two blocks. It felt so good to be in that crowd! I’ve heard of it before but never saw it. I was just on my way from school and there it was. I loved their energy. It changed my life. Now I feel ready to face my heavy school work and I’m so happy I got to experience that.’”

See y’all next month!

6 Responses to “Halloween Critical Mass!”

  1. You’re being a crank is right.

    But there is a real phenomenon worth noting here: A lot of people in the ride haven’t ridden around SF much, if at all. Some aren’t living locally. Many have never ridden Mass before or SF Mass, anyway. (I’ll have to devise a way to find out what proportion of the crowd, but it’s large.)

    I think it was those newbies dominating at the front, based on my 10 minute stint at the front starting off the ride. When they went and jumped the Columbus curb is when they stopped following the 60 or so of us that were experienced. I shouldn’t say “following” since they were a pack of about 40 people ahead of us, who we kept trying to converse with by yelling, but that gets tedious.

  2. Nate Miller says:

    I agree! Last night was super fun, but that was one of the worst routes that I have ever been on.

  3. Scott says:

    This ride was fun, but it had some problems. The riders at the front were to eager to get going and kept splitting from the other half. The rest of the group seemed to stay clogged up at the start longer than usual(maby because of wearing costumes). Besides the negatives, I’m glad I went.

  4. Rick says:

    I totally agree, the route was terrible. I was in the middle of the pack, and was jammed up the whole time (i was with a couple of first timers and they both had a hard time riding so slow), i came home thinking that the route had been designed to make the LEAST amount of impact on traffic as possible. I hope it WAS simply a case of newbie leaders, i hate to think that my favorite form of protest has been degraded to the level of the war protests.

  5. Yes, from feedback from others, it seems a few newbies were intent on leading the ride, and these folks did not know the city well. However, there were other rides — the one we were on was only one!

  6. Jym Dyer says:

    =v= Early in the ride I overheard two high school kids complaining about the ride massing up at red lights on the Embarcadero. They agreed to get to the ride and “lead” it. At that point I went to the front of the ride myself, because I think it’s better to mass up and maintain density.

    At this point I was in the same group as Joel. I’m not exactly sure what split us up into multi-masses, but we left most of the Mass behind and went to Fort Mason. A number of us were thereby separated by friends and called them on our cellphones to reunite with them. Some headed back on the hillier route, but the 60 of us went down Broadway and met up with another multi-mass on Battery. (I saw those same high school kids on Battery, having seemingly abandoned the ride to stumble on the sidewalk.)

    Also, I was in one of two breakaway multi-masses that left Market to visit Union Square. I’m sorry you weren’t with us, Hugh!

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