Was there critical mass tonight?
I think I’ll make this my first CM as well, unless post-semester-ending celebrations get in the way.
Could I find more about the event details on this? I backtracked looking on the events calendar on this website, but found conflicting times. I’m assuming it’s the 5:30-7:30 pm slot, not the 2:30-4:30 one correct?
I get the meeting at Dippy outside the Carnegie Museum in Oakland. Any details of the route? I suppose the route could be amorphous/spontaneous as the ride could seemingly go only until all but a small group remain riding around.
ndromb, where does midnight mass meet? i can’t make it this week – i have to work. but that job will be no longer after this weekend so hopefully i could make it next month…
Impala26, there is no fixed route. I’ve been on maybe 10 of these rides, and we never take the same path twice. We usually loop Oakland (Forbes, Craig, Fifth, McKee-or-one-of-those, Forbes again) and then go somewhere. Often we end up on ECarson and/or Downtown. The last one I was on we ended up in Manchester. Once we kinda ended by the 40th SB. We did Herr’s Island once. I recall heading through Friendship on another ride. There’s just no telling.
Gather 5:30, shoot the breeze until 6, and then we somehow all start riding.
I haven’t done a Midnight Mass yet. The 10-mile ride north on DUI-filled highways afterwards has never been a big draw.
Midnight Critical Mass meets under the dinosaur at the Carnegie Museum and Library in Oakland, as does the rush hour Critical Mass. If you find yourself out of town on any given last Friday, you can look for the nearest Critical Mass on this website: http://criticalmass.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_rides
Midnight mass is the first Friday of the month (next one is May 7th).
Critical Mass starts meeting around 5:00-5:15, and leaves anywhere from 6:00-6:15.
Like Stu said, there is no set route. It just goes where it goes.
It seems like there is going to be a good showing of like-minded massers this month. I am looking forward to it, I just need to get some grips brake cables for my tall bike.
Thanks for the info guys. I hope to make it. I could probably hang on with the group for awhile if we’re doing general big loops right in the area because I live within about a 5 minute bike ride of Dippy to my place in South Oakland. Even if we ended somewhere odd, Oakland is central enough that it’s not very far from anything.
After CM think about circling back to the start, WYEP is having a concert at Schenley Plaza, band – Elizabeth and the Catapult (I dunno), Emily Rogers band. That’s usually a chill fun time.
Who’s going to be there? The weather can’t get much better than today.
Unfortunately, I’m not. No bike. Chain problem.
I’ll be there. Riding to Oakland from Larryville for the first time. Should be superfun.
I’ll be showing up at Dippy at around 5:30… is there also a midnight critical mass tonight as well and is it at the same place?
Midnight Mass is first Fridays. CM is last Fridays.
I wanna make it to one of this but not tonite!! Saving my juice for the race!
Although I should hopefully be less-sore for May 7th – Midnight Mass
Critical Mass was pretty good, insofar as, platooning. Stopping at intersections, single lane grouping and holding intersections open through red lights. Not letting the H3 Hummer pass was a nice touch, though…
Oh and Ian on his hybrid is taller than Nick on his tall bike. Dunno. Just an observation.
Our mini-mass that broke off to obey laws was awesome. We rode with bumper bike, pushed a broken down suv off the street, stopped by filmmakers for a bit for drinks, and finished off at OTB.
It was great meeting you guys, I’ll see you at midnight mass!
Awesome picture, Rob!
I agree, our five-person, helmet-wearing, blinky-blinking, SUV-pushing, bumperbike-included massette was AWESOME.
I had a ton of fun on the five person mini-mass. Meeting bumper bike was the highlight of my week.
Here is a lousy cameraphone video of Mick on ndromb’s tall bike:
bumperbike + critical mass = all kinds of effin’ awesome. i’m there next month for sure!!!
Mini-massing was a total blast. It was so great meeting some bikepgh-ers in person. And hanging with our friend
I was the one early on in the back yelling at people to stay in lanes.
Some chaos ensued going down Fifth around Halket and Craft, I think once we made the first loop around Oakland things improved, though it seemed like there was the constant turmoil of the people in front pushing forward and hoping the back riders treat the group as on big vehicle (think of it as a funeral procession) and the folks in the back wanting to not run red lights and stops signs…
All in all though, it was a great time, and I think the most positive-viewed areas we went through was Penn through the Strip and Downtown and Carson Street.
Mini-mass was awsome. See you next week for midnight mass – mom will be pleased I’m at church!
I’d like to thank you guys again for sticking with me. Honestly, I feel like an ass for having to call people out on this stuff, but I feel like it is needed. We all get viewed the same, so when a group of cyclists do dumb things, it hurts us all.
Speaking of critical masses, just a half hour ago I saw a critical mass of sorts composed entirely of motor scooters. Not hogs, choppers, or power bikes, but motor scooters of the Vespa and vintage and classic variety. It was the first of its kind I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen processions of motorcycles, but not scooters like this.
There had to be at least 50 of them, I saw them right here in South Oakland coming up Dawson from Swinburne and turning right onto the Boulevard heading up into Schenley. They were content to follow the road rules individually as well, splitting up from the light and rejoining as best they could and about 90% of them were wearing helmets. I thought it was cool enough to share anyway.
Thought I remembered something about this on Facebook.
Via PIper’s Pub:
Piper’s Pub welcomes all participants in Pittsburgh Vintage Scooter Club’s 10th Annual Scooter Rally this weekend! Have a great time!
Critical mass was awesome, as soon as we got out of oakland. Since this was the weekend where finals ended and kids moved out of dorms, tempers were high, especially the parents. Combine that with a Pens game and rush hour traffic, I felt very uncomfortable with pissing off so many people. However, once we went to east liberty and the strip, I had a legitimate great time. Maybe I’ll come next month and just pick up the group on Ellsworth. (by the way, it was me and my fiancee with the great Pitt kits)
PVSC! It is all vintage Italian scoots–Vespa, Piaggio, Lamberetta.
I was going to go to that rally, but I had to work (and they don’t care for my modern direct injected Italian bike). You should see the Scoot’n Yinzer rallys–it is a bunch of retired guys on maxi-scooters.
NICK! thanks for letting me ride your tall bike!
I wish the the law abiding mini-mass had stayed with us.
Critical mass is an ongoing event. It isn’t going to instantly change character because half dozen folks show up once. Regular attendence by that same small group might make a profound change, though.
I think we were all happy to leave.
Mick, you should have come with us! It was a blast!
@ndromb Mick, you should have come with us!
Uh…. i wasn’t invited…
It’s tough for me to get to these due to family responsibilities, and last week was a particularly rough day, but I wish I was there with you law abiding massers. I’ll get out there one of these times.
Nick et al, you guys are on the right track. Lead by example and people will get it. Big thumbs up.
We just kind of kept going straight on Ellsworth when everyone turned because I was getting extremely aggravated with a few people in the group. It just happened that Stef, Mark, Dan, and Rob were behind me.
I understand the criticisms of Critical Mass, and don’t want to get into it again. I dug this up that I wrote a while ago, that still seems pertinent to this discussion.
Critical Mass is all about community. The connections made through this monthly ride in cities across the world has led to partnerships that have forged systemic change for the better of all cyclists. Many people neck deep in urban cycling advocacy can trace their first meeting with like-minded folks to a given Critical Mass, myself included. Since the inception of Critical Mass as we know it back in 1992 cycling access has improved across the country and around the world due in part to the collective work of the CM community, not in spite of it.
With news outlets in American cities sporting helicopters to report on the recurring, utterly predictable automobile traffic of the morning and evening commute it is an uphill battle to convince me that the momentary inconvenience that drivers may experience from a passing Mass has any real, lasting negative impact. Nevermind the actions of individual riders—there are assholes everywhere, and no reason to believe that cyclesport is absent of them. Lumping all Critical Mass participants together with a few troublemakers is as logical as railing against all drivers because someone cut you off once.
You can read the whole point/counterpoint here: http://www.urbanvelo.org/issue2/urbanvelo2_p58-59.html
I remember reading that in Urban Velo.
Inconvenience is one thing. Offensively (not defensively, like trying to get the rear of the group through an intersection) blocking cars is dangerous for both parties, not to mention stupid.
I think CM last week was especially bad.
Regardless of inconvenience, I think showing drivers that cyclists think they are exempt from the rules is counterproductive.
Here is something I posted on the CM FB page:
I just had a customer at my work who does wholesale delivery. He and one of his drivers witnessed CM yesterday in Oakland and Shadyside. He said, “They put these signs up,’Share the Road.’ If you aren’t going to respect my rights to the road, I’m not going to respect yours.”
Keep in mind, this was a complete stranger who had no idea I am a cyclist.
He brought this up when I mentioned I lived in Oakland. This is a guy who drives for a living and has employees that drive for a living. To me, it is solid proof that there are consequences. Luckily, I wasn’t busy and was able to have a decent conversation with him about it.
Many of you know I used to be all about CM (and disregarding lights). What really changed me was a chat I had with Erok during CM last September during the G20 Summit. Although it is fun, and can bring people together, it is still counterproductive the way is was last Friday.
The positive effect of CM on cycling has been huge. CM was started by a small group of passionate individuals who wanted to effect change, the approach they developed I’m sure was what they believed would be most effective in the given context. Many others joined in who believed in the cause. I think CM has gotten the attention of the public discourse.
What we have how is a small group of passionate individuals who want to effect a positive change. The context has changed, progress has been made. Time to evolve.
I wholeheartedly accept the concept of critical mass. In theory it has every positive aspect people mention for cyclists in Pittsburgh and around the world. However, in its current state, I believe it is a significant disservice to the cycling community.
The first thing out of anyones mouth in Pittsburgh when I mention cycling is “those asshole cyclists run red lights and stop signs all the time!”. Well, sure, there are a few of us who individually do that on a regular basis, but I think the vast proportion of us don’t. At least I don’t. My issue with critical mass is that we uphold this image on a grand scale. There are a few people who think critical mass is “fuck up the traffic friday” and do everything they can to achieve that goal. Drivers notice. Shoot, even people sitting on a bus notice. I’ve had my butt planted on a bus seat sitting behind CM in Oakland a few times listening to the people grumble about the “idiot bikers”. I’ve participated in mass in a number of cities, and not often am I really disgusted with what I see. This last Friday was an exception. There were a few folks who insisted on running every light possible and blocking extra lanes on Forbes and Fifth. If you’re in SF and you have 3000 people, fine.. take up the whole road. When you only manage to bring in 40 cyclists because everyone else is sick of the BS, then maybe you shouldn’t. When you’re in the front of a mass of cyclists and the light turns yellow, perhaps you should stop instead of corking the intersection and yelling for everyone to “keep going!” It isn’t just the cars you are messing with (cars that will right hook you, pass with inches to spare and honk next time they are behind you) but the pedestrians too. I felt like the worst human on Earth when I went through a corked intersection on red and some lady was trying to push her stroller across the cross walk with her little 2 year old walking next to her. I couldn’t really stop either, since the person behind me likely wouldn’t notice and either go around me and hit them, or run right into the back of me. Wait till some masser goes through a red light and plows over a 2 year old in a crosswalk. No way I want any part of that. We aren’t brighting their day, I can promise you that. Making more enemies doesn’t seem like the greatest cycling advocacy move we could make.
My proposal? If the people that ride up front made an effort to keep the group together, they could stop at yellow lights and let everyone bunch up, stop at stop signs and let a few cars through and wait for everyone to bunch up. We could take only one lane when appropriate and allow some cars to pass, in this case communication about WHICH lane would be very helpful. IF the mass is tight and there are no gaps and the light happens to turn red in the middle or end of the mass, fine then cork it and finish going through. If drivers see a big pile of bikes navigating the roads being even a little respectful it might make the positive impact we all hope it will.
CM last Friday started out horribad, but once we were out of Oakland and Shadyside the communication was there and we were able to clear intersections through green lights and bunch up into a single lane to permit motorists to pass. Perhaps it’s the routing, but we were quite mannerly through East Liberty, Bloomfield, Lawrenceville, Strip District and Downtown.
Yea, I participated until I said sorry to peds and motorists about 2 dozen times, then I just said fuck it and followed Nick. I figured if biking was stressing me out more than sitting on the interstate stuck in traffic I probably needed to not continue. Glad to hear it got better though.
The point was driven home to me early Sunday afternoon at Smithfield & 7th Ave. I chose to stop for a red, braked rather hard actually, and with my wet brakes overshot the stop line by several feet. In backing up so as not to be in the way of 7th Ave traffic, a pedestrian had to choose which side of me to walk, and said to me, “Thanks for stopping. At least you know the difference between red and green.”
So, yeah, what edmonds59 said, the context has changed. There are enough cyclists out there who screw the rules, so we need to set a new standard or else change the rules, and it’s a lot easier to do the former than the latter.
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