Critical Mass, August 2007

Scattered observations.

The negatives:

Massers who go out of their way to antagonise motorists. Riding right by their windows to jeer at them, weaving in and out of stopped traffic, etc. I think the guy with the loudhailer who makes snarky remarks (“too bad about your SUV”) in a non-aggressive manner is fine. But there are plenty who do show aggression and hostility.

Massers who drink and ride. There was a long discussion on the CCM listhost on how permissible this was. I would say at least that it is just as [im]permissible as drinking and driving. But maybe the massers who drink and ride think it is fine to drink and drive. Mettle to them, then.

Massers who litter. Self-explanatory.

Massers who ride on sidewalks. This is completely unnecessary and does not help our “cause” (insomuch as we have one, a perennial heated issue on the CCM listhost).

These negatives are not particular to this ride. Just things that I’ve noticed over the masses I’ve attended.

The positives:

The girl who rode naked. This seemed to have a generally positive impression on passer-bys. People who were formerly angrily frowning at the mass started laughing instead. But there were a few people who were shocked in a negative way. I particularly remember one family where the mother said “oh my god” with that disgusted look. Whenever people reacted in that way the massers chuckled amongst themselves.

Stopping for the ambulance. Granted, it took a few “leaders” to get the rest to back up and let it through, but it did happen fairly quickly. Same when some police cars that wanted to get through.

The route. Immense fun and liberation going down Michigan Avenue. Perhaps a tad too many small roads, but generally fewer bottlenecks than the April and May masses. I was not particularly excited about going so far north, and was afraid we’d end up in the far northwest, diagonally opposite the end of the city where I live. However, we ended on the lakefront, near the end of the lakefront bike path. This meant a straightforward, safe, and easy ride back on the bike path. Once again I am grateful that by sheer chance the university that I chose and love is situated so near the lakefront. Hyde Park is an unfairly maligned neighbourhood. If I ever live in this city again I will almost certainly choose to live in Hyde Park again.

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