Monday, February 16, 2009

Critical Mass: revolutionaries--or selfish brats?

A Post-Critical Mass Portland: Living in a Post-Revolutionary Bicycle Age from Joe Biel on Vimeo.

Attempting to drive home in my Chevy pickup during the last critical mass ride here in Arcata I was locked in place on a narrow road for at least a half hour while leering cyclists flipped me the bird and screamed insults at my pickup truck. "Hey," I wanted to add, "I'm one of you. I'm hauling a yard of compost for my organic garden." If I had been trying to get to a hospital, I'd have been out of luck. The people behind me had little kids in the car and looked pretty upset.

Your experiences may vary. But I'm not going to miss Critical Mass in Portland--or here.

Addendum: David from The Practical Cyclist Blog has written a thoughtful piece on the future prospects--if any--for Critical Mass.


  1. why did you drive into the mass? people can get hurt or killed. i'm not surprised they flipped you the bird and yelled at you. have a little more consideration next time.

  2. Peter,

    To clarify, I was trying to drive home on a two lane road. The "mass" drove into me and into oncoming cars, on sidewalks, over curbs and through a few front yards. I get the feeling you know the drill.

    The message? I was the driver of an "evil car" and deserved what I got.

  3. I think it's time (again?) to take a critical look at critical mass. A well intentioned mob is still a mob, and intention only gets you so far. Mobs rarely have the capacity to make nuanced socio-political statements. A group of rude bicyclists is still fundementally a group of rude people.

  4. Well said, David. It was a bad idea that got worse. Basically, a Critical Mass demonstrator is expected to bait drivers and then scream bloody murder when they object. You average maladjusted two year old would understand perfectly.

    At this point, CM is little more than a refuge for angry, unbalanced personalities (see "Peter" above).


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