Critical Mass In a word ‘whoa’

criticalmass.jpgI had no idea the monthly Critical Mass bike ride/organized traffic slowdown had become so, erm, critically massive. I fortuitously encountered last night’s ride as it passed in front of the post office while I was on the way home from an early evening brisk walk to cap a long day of ass-numbing writing.

I’m no good at estimations, but there had to be 400-500 people in the convoy. A stream of bikers three or four deep crawled by for about five minutes and I never even saw the front of the thing, so who knows, could’ve been 1,000. Five MPD vehicles brought up the rear.

I’d heard some ne’er do well jackasses caused a ruckus at a ride this summer. Who started it? Reports vary. It’s tempting to blame the dreadlocked, tattooed guys armed with backpack stereos, but then it’s no secret that the MPD employs its fair share of power-drunk bullies.

Then last month’s more orderly ride was lambasted by perturbed Strib columnist Katherine Kersten, who was incensed about the possibility of being stuck in her car for five extra minutes as Critical Mass riders “infringe on others’ rights by disrupting traffic and running red lights”. Oh the humanity. Lady, I’ve been stuck in line at Lunds longer than that waiting for people that don’t think to fish out their checkbooks until the last item has been rung up, chatting away with the cashier without the slightest inkling that the rest of us would rather get on with our lives. Why aren’t you taking a swipe at those menace to society nogoodniks in your column?

And I love it that she calls them “loosely organized”. Pardon me, but anyone that can get a group of 600 people (the estimated number of riders that participated in September’s ride according to the Strib) to converge on the same spot at the same time every month and contribute an hour of their time to promote their cause isn’t “a loosely organized group of serial lawbreakers “. They’re a highly organized group of bloody marketing geniuses. In fact, I bet there are people out there that would give these guys lucrative jobs, if only they could find them.

Which brings up a curious point. I didn’t exactly break my neck trying, but I couldn’t find a web page dedicated to Minneapolis Critical Mass events. The North America Critical Mass web site appears to be dead (maybe they’re not that organized after all). Anyone with a lead on where to find these guys online, please leave a comment. Or I can just loiter in front of the post office with my bike, dressed in a homemade tree costume this time next month.

[Thanks to indymedia.org for providing the picture – that I stole]

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Biking | 27.10.2007 16:54 | 1 Comment

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