Critical Mass Pittsburgh 2015 thread

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StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

To keep things simple and not have a melange of threads to keep track of, I will keep track of all things C.M. in just one place. This will let us discuss the last ride while planning the next, and make it easier for any late-comers to catch up on anything we discussed in past rides.

That said, let’s get this show on the road.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2015, 6:00 P.M., AT THE DINOSAUR.

* Simple ride, just down to the Point and back, using Fifth inbound, Forbes outbound, returning to Dippy.
* Helmet and lights required. It will be dim to start, dark to finish. Sunset is at 5:35.
* We will not cork, just as we (mainly) have not on any recent C.M. ride in Pittsburgh.
* We will take the lane at all times, riding two abreast in the right lane or the only lane, as the law allows.
* Bad pavement conditions or visibility issues will cancel. Mere cold will not. (Different conditions will apply in non-winter rides.)

The purpose of Critical Mass, now as ever, is to demonstrate to everyone that cyclists have every bit as much right to operate on public streets as any other vehicle. That said, THIS RIDE WILL OBEY THE LAW. No running lights or stop signs. No corking (usually).

More to follow. I should add some cross-references to earlier threads in which we discussed riding strategy, legal issues, and specifics of problematic locations.

WE ARE HERE TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. If you plan to cause trouble or make a scene, please stay away, or go do your own ride.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

A brief review of recent threads about Critical Mass in Pittsburgh. First, know that from mid-2010 to mid-2013, CM in Pgh simply did not exist. It was entirely replaced by a ride originally known as Flock of Cycles, later Pittsburgh Bike Party, a ride that still exists, usually on the third Friday of the month. That came to be after the original C.M. imploded in a disagreement over law-abiding-ness, and the law-abiders won, forming Flock in its place.

OK, enough history. Let’s review the last couple of years.
July 2012: We note that Cleveland’s C.M. ride is doing very well, attracting hundreds each month. [link]
Sept 2012: The 20th anniversary of the first C.M. ride, and a brief ride occurred here. [link]
May 2013: An early attempt to form a C.M. ride ended up with a half-mile ride to a watering hole. It did indicate that there was some interest. [link]
Feb 2014: Only six riders and a very cold day, but we had a formal C.M., riding down to the Point and back. Not bad for a first try. I resolved to do this again. [link]
March 2014: Another down-and-back ride like in February, but with only three people. [link]
May 2014: A two-person C.M. ride on one of the most dangerous roads in the city, East Carson Street out to Becks Run Road. You have to read this to believe it. It’s amazing that nobody got killed on this. [link to blog post]
June 2014: No message board thread, but a daring ride out through the southern part of the city, out South 18th Street and Brownsville Road through Carrick. [link to blog post]
July 2014: A ride through Manchester, over the McKees Rocks Bridge, through Windgap to Crafton, then back into town on Steuben Street through the West End Circle, and back downtown.
August 2014: East Street to Perrysville Avenue, which turned out to be fairly easy. [link to message board thread] [link to blog post]
Sept 2014: Panther Hollow Drive through Schenley Park, a road that is scary as hell for cyclists. Considerable discussion about how to go about routing this ride. Includes several photographs. [link]

There were no rides in October (Halloween), November (Thanksgiving), or December (nobody showed).

I am open to suggestions on where to ride, again if necessary.

I welcome the accompaniment of elected officials, media, police, and anyone else with a stake in getting people around on two wheels.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Google Calendar entry:

Could someone please try this and let me know how well it works? All I see is an icon.


Vannevar
Participant
#

Stu, I’ll be there for the jan ride.

But that google-calendar thingy didn’t work for me.
when I clicked it, my g-cal opened in a browser and it was
offering to make a new event for me, today.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Still on for tomorrow.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

CANCELING. No January 30 ride.

The primary reason is that I will not be able to make it myself because of unsafe conditions this morning. The secondary reason is that, with snow expected throughout the day, road surfaces will be iffy anyway. A third reason is that the one other person who was likely to attend got called out of town unexpectedly last night.

Let’s try again in February.


paulheckbert
Moderator
#

Thanks, Stu. Let’s hope the roads are dry for the February ride.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

@erok, can we get the Google Calendar entry added to the Bike-Pgh calendar?

https://www.google.com/calendar/render??cid=fudgfm63oj09hd2n478s3e9i5c@group.calendar.google.com#h%7Cweek-2+23126+23132+23126


ShooFlyPie
Member
#

Is there going to be one this Friday or are you waiting till March? I would like to try to join one sometime this year. Looks very cold but dry, so I will still be out.

I am not much of a group riding person at all but I think I can handle a small critical mass ride one time soon.

Thanks.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Yes, this is still on. It’s also Winter Bike To Work Day.


erok
Keymaster
#

Stu- please submit things for the calendar to our submission page, to make sure we get everything correct. those links weren’t working.
http://bikepgh.org/calendar/tell-us-about-your-cycling-related-event/

also, winter bike to work day may be delayed


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

OK, thanks. I haven’t figured out how to make Google Calendar work for myself, let alone for public view.

I managed to work up the gumption to bike my usual 10.4 miles down Perry/Perrysville this morning at 23 degrees. That forecast of ONE Fahrenheit for 7 a.m. on Friday _is_ a little off-putting.


J Z
Participant
#

For clarification, was winter bike to work day postponed due to, uh…winter?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Sure seems that way, doesn’t it?


byogman
Member
#

It’s a shame, it’s cold but the sun is nice.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

I had a nice little ride all by myself. Without really trying, I laid out a challenging course, which I might do again next month when the weather is more conducive to gathering a crowd. From Dippy:
* R Forbes
* L Craig
* L Fifth Ave
* R Sixth Ave
* jiggle across Liberty to Seventh St
* cross Andy Warhol (7th St) Bridge
* L Lacock
* becomes Reedsdale
* L Allegheny Ave
* becomes North Shore Drive
* L Mazeroski Way
* R West General Robinson
* R Federal St
* cross Roberto Clemente (6th St) Bridge
* L Liberty
* R Sixth Ave
* R Grant St
* L Forbes and return to Dippy

On that last entry, I actually did that earlier, biking to the start of the ride. Afterward, since I work in the Frick Building, I stopped at my office for a bit, then caught a bus home.

Some of the more challenging aspects of the route:
* getting left on Forbes
* lots of foot traffic on Craig
* lots of car traffic on Fifth, the whole way in
* passing buses in Oakland
* claiming and keeping that lane on the rise after the Birmingham Bridge
* claiming and keeping that lane on the rise up Sixth Ave to Centre
* really bad pavement on Sixth from Smithfield to Wood
* claiming and keeping the lane across the bridge
* the transition to Reedsdale is NOT bike-friendly
* Reedsdale itself is one lane, then two-lane, and bikes use the LEFT lane
* if Stage AE is having an event, as it was last night, people and cars are everywhere going every direction
* WGen Robinson might have a lot of parked cars, might not, but if it does, you might get a lot of grief from motorists who want to double the speed limit past PNC Park
* the transition off the 6th St Br requires a left lane change
* Grant requires a left lane change at Forbes
* claiming and keeping the lane all the way out to the Birmingham Bridge
* THE toughest part of the ride is claiming and keeping the lane AFTER that corner
* the second toughest part is getting directly in front of cars going 65 mph off the bridge and forcing them to slow to 15
* the third toughest part is claiming and keeping the lane on the climb up to Craft

To reiterate, if you can negotiate this seven-mile loop through the city, you can deal with most anything.


paulheckbert
Moderator
#

Thanks for doing this, Stu. I wimped out.


ShooFlyPie
Member
#

I still got my Friday afternoon ride in last week but had to pick my son up at daycare at 5:00. I was considering trying to get down to the dippy at 6, but it was going to be a rush.

* THE toughest part of the ride is claiming and keeping the lane AFTER that corner
* the second toughest part is getting directly in front of cars going 65 mph off the bridge and forcing them to slow to 15

One of my favorite routes Forbes from Downtown to Beechwood in Squirrel Hill. I actually enjoy the urban traffic route more so than the Jail trail. There is something about keeping up with the traffic through uptown in the lane that is more exciting than trail riding. This section is a pain in the ass though. If it is early to mid rush hour it is cake. The cars are mostly slow or idle. However, mid day or weekends the calming traffic down at 65MPH is frightening. Forbes to Oakland is a nice ride if something could be done with this transition. Most cars go up this ramp the same speed as I-376 even though it is a 25MPH ramp.


byogman
Member
#

I agree going back on Forbes is nice save for that transition, especially times like these when sidewalk based climbs are going to be an icy mess.

Will be leaving downtown at 4:15 if anyone wants to calm traffic through that spot together.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

I have created a group under MapMyRide named Critical Mass Pittsburgh. I will create and collect maps of rides there — past, present and future.

For example, here is the map for the 2/27 ride, which we will repeat 3/27.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Also created an event for the F3/27 ride.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

The event for April 24 is up!


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Canceling tonight’s C.M.
Too many severe thunderstorms popping up.
In fact, I might just catch a bus home, since I’m dragging a laptop with me.


Mick
Participant
#

A bit ago, I looked out the window and saw it was raining. I wondered how long it would last and looked at Weather.com hour by hour , which said that we had “0% chance of precipitation”…


Ahlir
Participant
#

Try Wunderground. With their animated radar display you can get pretty good at judging gaps in the rain. Observation beats forecast.

http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=40.431000,-79.922699&sp=KPAPITTS75


Steven
Participant
#

Accuweather’s Minutecast can also be very accurate for the immediate future, if you’re only concerned about a specific address. Animated radar’s probably better if you’re more interested in weather from point A to point B.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Bump for June 26. Details forthcoming. For now, just show up and we’ll ride somewhere. 6 p.m., dinosaur.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

This is still on for tonight. We might get rained on, but I don’t think the heavy rain will start until later.

Dinosaur at 6.
Tires on pavement 6:15.


Mick
Participant
#

Critical Mass was lightly attended on Friday – but it was a helluva fun ride!


ShooFlyPie
Member
#

I am not a group rider person. With my social anxiety I just like to avoid anything larger than groups of 3 people. Humans scare me when they are grouped together no matter what they are doing. I tried it last year in the every neighborhood ride and really wasn’t for me.

However, I would like to join a CM one day but it is just always at the worst time of the day for me on a Friday.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Stay tuned. We’d love to do something other than on the last Friday, and I’d love to do something other than a peloton-type group ride, even if said peloton is a tiny group.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

This is still on for today. I’ve done almost zero promotion.

Dippy at 6, brief speech & reminder of what we’re about, tires roll at 6:15.

Planned route:
* Forbes
* L Craig
* R Fifth
* L Aiken
* L Baum
* L Millvale
* R Centre
* L Neville
* R Fifth
* Loop back around Schenley/Bigelow and Forbes back to Dippy

Stop at reds. (I don’t think we have any stop signs on the route.) If we get split, don’t cork, but front group will hold beyond the light so we can stay together.

Take the lane, and/or take the right lane.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Would you believe nine riders?! I had met only one or two previously, and had done almost no promotion of this, but word apparently got around through Facebook, Bike-Pgh’s calendar, and word of mouth.

No horns.
No flipped birds.
No trouble at all from traffic.
No problem explaining the (very few) rules, and the point of the whole proceeding.
No objections from anyone about adhering to traffic law.

The ride was very short, maybe 25 minutes’ duration. We got split a couple of times at lights, but the front group paused to let the others catch up, just like Flock.

So: Short, sweet, successful. And at least a tie for the biggest turnout since 2010!


edmonds59
Participant
#

You got split up with 9 riders? uh…
Not being critical, it’s just a little uh…
Good job nonetheless.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

We weren’t corking, we were trying not to cork. If the front of the small pack was not the first in line at a light, it was hard to get all nine through in one cycle. Aiken at Baum was one, Baum at Millvale was another, and I think the triple left lane change on Fifth after Bellefield, coming back, got us split, too.

Our max speed was 17 mph, on Fifth, outbound. More commonly we were going about 12-13.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Top! This is still on.

Briefly:
5:45 – Gather at Dippy
6:00 – Try to be there by then
6:10 – Briefing
6:15 – Tires rolling.

Here is the route.

R Forbes
L Bellefield, left lane
L Fifth, right lane to McKee
L double lane change to left-most inbound lane
L Halket
L Blvd of the Allies, fully occupying the right-most going-forward lane
Continue straight onto Panther Hollow Rd through Schenley Park
R Greenfield Rd
R Greenfield Bridge (say goodbye to the bridge)
R bend onto Alger
L Winterburn
R Greenfield Ave

Those interested in returning to the start will come back up via Saline St and the trail. Everyone else can then hop onto the Jail Trail to head wherever.


Marko82
Participant
#

StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Critical Mass has a branding problem. Maybe I should call the ride Critical Manners, instead, as the one other person who showed up for last Friday’s ride suggested. The two of us ended up joining the Flock dance party ride.

Ironically enough, the roll-out path for Flock was identical to the original plan for CM, only that we turned right off of Bates onto Zulema instead of left onto Blvd of the Allies, and we did have to pull one big long lane change on Fifth Ave in Oakland with 40 riders anyway, just as planned for CM. So that worked out pretty well.

I cannot really comment much on the SF story. Don’t do stupid stuff like go the wrong way down a one-way street in the first place, and don’t complain about motorists complaining about it if you do. Is that really too much to ask?


gg
Member
#

Stu: “Critical Mass has a branding problem. Maybe I should call the ride Critical Manners…”

I agree. There is no room in Pittsburgh for that SF garbage. I hope we never have idiots like that here. There is room for everyone and just provoking motorists is going to make it worse for all. If some cyclist did that to me, I would have run them over and so would most people. You need to protect yourself and if you are in danger or feel in danger, you do what you gotta do.

Here is the video. We don’t need this crap here!


Marko82
Participant
#

SF Man Arrested for Critical Mass Attack
http://abc7news.com/news/neighbors-stunned-after-sf-man-arrested-for-critical-mass-attack/973365/

I think this is justified. The cyclists deliberately rode on the wrong side of the road in order to start a confrontation. I’m really only amazed that that woman wasn’t so scared that she didn’t run anyone over.

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