Friday, October 26, 2007

Critical Mass Report - October 2007

It's been a few months since I made it out to Critical Mass, but today I decided to take some time out of my Friday night to ride my bike around slowly with hundreds of strangers!

I left my house at just about 6 pm, which is incidentally the same time Mass usually rolls out from Westlake Center downtown. But as I was coming down Pine St I could see Mass pulling out, so I knew I was in time! Sweet.

I'm not much of a costume person myself, but there were some pretty good ones - bunny suits, fake parking signs through the chest, all kinds of funky shit.

The route went something like this: West on Pine St, then Left (south) on 1st Ave - once we got down by Safeco Field we turned around, and THEN GOT ON AURORA! I'm always game for riding on one of the most forbidden roads in the city - the Viaduct. We went up an exit ramp, and all of a sudden Northbound 99 was CLOGGED with bicycles. We rode it through the tunnel under Belltown, and all the way up over the Aurora Bridge. The sun had just set so the Olympic Mountains were rad looking, and all you could see in front of you was bicycles and blinking lights.

I was surprised we stayed on 99 so long, as I thought CM was supposed to turn more often, so as not to clog the city too much - but F that, we went all the way!

After 99 we got off in Fremont and headed up Stone Way to Wallingford, where we took a right on 45th and headed East - I broke off on Roosevelt and went back to Capitol Hill. The total ride was 20 km, and the average was really slow, as CM usually rides at a pace of about 10 km/h, or 6 mph.

If you haven't checked out Critical Mass in Seattle, I suggest giving it a try!


Here are some good pictures from the Aurora part of the ride on the .83 forum.

And here are some photos from that forum:

and here's the pirate ship - how could i forget that?!

more of the beatiful view from aurora:


Anonymous said...

You missed the best part!!!

A dozen of us didn't get on 99. That's the craziest move CM could do. I do have (blurry) pics of cyclist on the viaduct with a mean red sky in the backgroud though.

We tried to follow the group up 1st and then on Westlake. Found out on a cell that the group was going to red square in UW.

We ran into the group just as they hit the UW on 45th, bombed into the square, where there was a HOMECOMING celebration. Well, there was going to be a homecoming celebration in 1/2 hour. But it was sweet, because there were free burritos, pizza, and other swag. The band started playin' at 8, I stayed a couple of minutes and took off to Montelake for the bus.

Sweet times.

Let's see if they bring out the chopper again next month.... :(

Joel said...

Look, I'm a cyclist and I'm all for critical mass, but going on Aurora really fucked up traffic heading downtown last friday. My girlfriend and I were heading to catch a Sedaris show and en route to my house she was swarmed by critical massers. Its one thing to take over the streets for a few hours, but Aurora is a major throughway for a lot of people. Its just flat out rude and inconsiderate and frankly no one is going to be doing cyclists any favors because of it. Just bati foolery.

matt said...

i did think it was too long of a ride on aurora, but once we were beyond the tunnel i think a lot of people wanted to go over the bridge to fremont. i've done aurora 4 or 5 times now, but we usually only do it for a mile or so. and while i do feel bad for the mile of traffic backed up in front of me, it doesn't seem so bad for once a month.

i did think there was some kind of 'rule' that critical mass would turn every few blocks in order not to tie up mass-transit & emergency vehicles, but i think CM is controlled more by alcohol than any coherent guidelines. for better or for worse.

while critical mass is leaderless, there are still people that more or less stay at the front and call the shots - but that can be anyone - it could've been you, even. if there were enough people on the front saying "no" to aurora then nobody would go.

btw cyclists aren't the only ones who take over major highways. in seattle there was a protest that walked onto I-5. imagine that backup!

"They'll keep parading and protesting, says King County Council member Larry Gossett, D-Seattle, who led a demonstration April 16 that shut down I-5. "Street heat counts," he tells followers."

and in the case of these truckers that stopped their rigs on I-5 and left them(!):

"Protests by drivers serving the Port of Long Beach, the busiest on the West Coast, snarled traffic on I-5 in Commerce when five drivers stopped their rigs on the highway and then left in private cars, according to the Highway Patrol. It took about an hour to clear the blocked lanes."

not to say that it's OK to snarl traffic, but protests aren't meant to be convenient to those not participating in the 'civil disobedience'.