[dc-critmass-list] CRITICAL MASS THIS FRIDAY! - Note from Nik S
adam at mintwood.com
Wed Jan 3 06:39:20 PST 2007
*Critical Mass in Washington, DC takes place on the first Friday of
every month.* Due to the seasons, this month will be the darkest ride
of the year and to combat this we'll be *having a special
light-up-your-bike Critical Mass!* It's one thing to show motorists
that we are traffic, but it's another thing to show off our collective
Adam Eidinger has purchased a bulk order of Hokey Spokes (
http://www.hokeyspokes.com ) and will have them available if you are
interested in lighting up your bike. By purchasing them directly from
Adam, as opposed to the website, you do not need to pay for shipping!
To contact Adam, send him e-mail: adam at mintwood.com or call
202-744-2671. They run $20 to $30 each plus batteries. They look the
best when there are at least 3 per wheel. I currently have two hokey
spokes on each wheel (as many of you have seen). However, even one
hokey spoke provides increased lateral visibility at night. Remember,
*/Background on my Critical Mass participation:/* Nearly 4 years ago, on
April 11, 2003, shortly after the start of the Iraq War, I participated
in my first Critical Mass bike ride (/no blood for oil!/). As we rode
through Washington, DC (Dupont to GWU to the State Department to
Memorial Bridge to the Washington Monument), I used my tiny digital
camera to document & record the trip. When I got home, I sequenced the
30+ ten second clips and added Gary Numan's tune "Cars." You can watch
this "newsic video" here:
/(looks like fun right?!?)
/*WHAT: WASHINGTON, DC CRITICAL MASS - JANUARY 5th, 2007 - "The Darkest
Ride of the Year"
WHO: Bicyclists, skateboarders, roller bladers / skaters, etc.
WHERE: Dupont Circle
WHEN: This Friday, January 5th, meet @ 6pm, ride at 6:30pm
WHY: Because we can! No really--- because we can show the world that
living a car free lifestyle is one of the most sustainable & conscious
decisions we can make in our daily lives. Bicycles ARE traffic and we
deserve the same respect as cars when sharing (or taking over) the road,
so lets ride together!
:: *ABOUT CRITICAL MASS *::
Critical Mass is a bike ride typically held on the last Friday of every
month [DC is the first Friday] in cities around the world where
bicyclists and, less frequently, skateboarders, roller bladers, roller
skaters and other self-propelled commuters take to the streets en masse.
Critical Mass is not led, and has no officially-stated message, though
it is largely understood to be an effort to promote alternative
(non-motorized) modes of transportation and to raise awareness about the
safety issues that face commuters using non-motorized forms of
transportation when sharing the streets with motor vehicles.
Participants meet at a set location and time and enjoy the security and
companionship of traveling as a group through city streets. This can
cause a disruption of motorized traffic, but the general philosophy
behind the ride is expressed in the widely-used slogan, "We aren't
blocking traffic; we are traffic."
Critical Mass rides are self-organized, non-commercial and
non-competitive, and they operate with diffused and informal
decision-making, independent of "leaders". They are often also
unofficial, foregoing permits and official sanction from municipal
authorities. Usually only the meeting place, date and time are fixed. In
some cities, the route, finishing point, or attractions along the way
may be planned ahead. Participants demonstrate the advantages of cycling
in a city, and show how the city may be failing cyclists in terms of
facilities and safety.
Critical Mass rides have been perceived as protest activities. For
instance, a 2006 New Yorker magazine article described Critical Mass's
activity in New York City as "monthly political-protest rides", and
characterized Critical Mass as a part of a social movement; and the
UK e-zine Urban75, which advertises and publishes photographs of the
Critical Mass event in London, describes this as "the monthly protest by
cyclists reclaiming the streets of London". However, Critical Mass
has insisted that its events should be viewed as "celebrations" and
spontaneous gatherings, and not as protests or organized
demonstrations. This stance allows Critical Mass to argue a legal
position that its events can occur without advance notification of local
Critical Mass rides vary greatly in many respects, including frequency
and number of participants. For example, in what have been the largest
events using the name Critical Mass, the city of Budapest, Hungary holds
only two rides each year, and they attract tens of thousands of riders.
The April 22, 2006 Budapest ride participation was generally estimated
at 32,000 riders. Unlike in other cities' rides, many of which are
treated as illegal, Budapest residents are exhorted to attend by
significant civic entities, from political parties to tourist magazines,
and certain major roads are closed for the entire day (always on a
Saturday) to welcome the ride.
I've found Critical Mass rides to be one of the most empowering forms
for direct action, /and you will too!
See you Friday!
Nikolas R. Schiller
dc at nikolasschiller.com
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