I didn’t make it to last week’s May Critical Mass, but I understand it took the Viaduct. Pretty cool. Next month why not take over the Battery Street tunnel, and then after that maybe the I-5 expressway?

This week, however, I did have a little run-in with a motorist and held my own personal Critical Mass. (Can I call it that?) Anyway, just some older, heart-attack awaiting, dude who felt the need to accelerate and not let me pass him and subsequently cut me off by the construction near Westlake Ave and Denny. Not being too daunted, I zoomed around his back, passed him on his other side and got in front of him, limiting his forward progress to my speed for a block’s length. Hopefully, but I doubt it, he got what my point was: that you’re not getting anywhere faster by driving aggressively and intimidatingly. I hope this point was emphasized by the next block or so of traffic. A cluster of busses queuing into the bus tunnel entrance. Another red light or two. Or the line of stopped cars idling to get onto the expressway only to wait still longer in the parking lot that that expressway has become. After that first block of hindering his speed, I rode off on my own speed, noticing this senselessness of traffic and how nice it is to be nimble and swift on two wheels.

This personal Critical Mass was just a reminder that there is no rush and that driving aggressively like he had was pointless as he didn’t gain any ground; it isn’t a race and no, you cannot drive like they do in the commercials. Hopefully it was a reminder that I belong on the streets too, and that riding a bike is an accepted and positive method of transport. Was I wrong to do what I did? Was there any point to it? Is there any point to Critical Mass anymore? Should it be riding on the Viaduct? Or impeding buses or traffic in on-coming lanes? I haven’t been on many Mass rides lately, other things have been coming up, but I’m beginning to hear it’s validity questioned for some time now.

2 thoughts on “PCM

  1. Riding on the viaduct for two exits was stupid. We blocked traffic for way too long trying to get, uh, our point across. Only the first couple dozen cars would have any chance at seeing cyclists were the delay anyway, so why not get the hell out of the way after they were slowed? Should have gotten off at Safeco.

    I don’t think personal critical masses help “teach motorists a lesson” any more than motorists cutting off cyclists helps “teach bikers a lesson about not riding in the street”. Drivers don’t know the law, and assume it’s bullshit for us to be there.

    This happened to me just last weekend. I suggested the driver call 911 to report my “lawlessness” rather than trying to kill me. He didn’t, perhaps realizing I was right, so it seems like it worked.

    Anyway, I think the point to CM now is to just be a giant party on wheels. Wave to the people, say hi, and throw out one-liners to flirt with anyone cute because cycling is fun.

  2. There was a bit of discussion about riding on the viaduct. It’s thrilling the first time you ride on the viaduct, but the road surface is pretty terrible, and since bikes wouldn’t be normally riding on the viaduct it essentially amounts to terrorism. Maybe that’s the point, but I ride because it’s fun, and fast, and not because I want to make everyone get out of their cages and ride and stop eating meat and using fossil fuel.

    I know this won’t happen, but my personal dream is to have a CM ride which goes from one place to another, like downtown to golden gardens or something like that, and then everyone has a big fire and grills and drinks some beers and has a good time! I agree with Kevin that we might as well just have fun!

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