Archive for October, 2010

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.

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:
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.)

photo by Steve Rhodes

photo by Steve Rhodes

photo by Steve Rhodes

Tyrell Voitkampf also got some good shots:
20101029191623 Bird
photo by Tyrell Voitkampf

photo by Tyrell Voitkampf

20101029193545 Community
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!

Victory! Nearly $1 Million Settlement for NY Critical Mass

October 19th, 2010 by hughillustration

The New York Times reports a massive settlement for Critical Mass participants wrongly harassed by police:

The lawsuit, originally filed in 2007, represented the claims of 83 riders who had been arrested or ticketed by police during the rides from September 2004 to January 2006. The awards to the plaintiffs range from $500 for those who were cited for minor infractions, to $35,000 for a plaintiff who was arrested multiple times and was injured because of the arrests, said David B. Rankin, one of the three lawyers who represented the riders. About half the settlement will go toward legal fees.

The settlements, totaling $965,000, do not include the many lawsuits filed by riders who were arrested during the Republican National Convention in 2004.

Congratulations to the NYC Critical Mass — an important victory that will help protect us all from authorities who imagine they can trample our rights with impunity!

Market Street, Giving New Meaning to Commute Clot

October 7th, 2010 by adama

20101004074033 "Dress'ed" for BikingChangeYourLifeRideABike ran a post yesterday by Calitexican with some well reasoned thoughts on the current state of San Francisco’s Market Street.

The frame for the discussion may be familiar.

i cannot even fathom to promote what can be done with market street as i am not an engineer nor am i an urban planner. i am, however, a bike rider who commutes daily.

She’s already sparked a flurry of reactions to her piece titled…
market street bike lanes, an attractive nuisance?
20100929082052 I PARK IN THE BIKE LANE