Nice Short Video

November 25, 2009 at 1:39 pm 12 comments

Here’s a very handsomely edited short documentary about Baltimore’s Halloween Critical Mass put together by a MICA student:

Critical Mass Short Document from Clayton Lee on Vimeo.

Handsome enough, in fact, for me to post even though Critical Masses can really piss me off. I apologize for posting a video of a mass of cyclists running a red light without so much as even a symbolic stop, but I really liked how the city photographed. I noticed an odd thing about my reaction to the interviews. When the adults were interviewed I had a positive reaction and was somewhat prone to agree with them, but the kids really made me angry when they were extolling the virtues of taking over the entire road. Oh well. I guess that means I’m an adult or something.

[via cyclosity] who contributed photos and some of the ride shots. Apparently, there’s a Black Friday Critical Mass, which, as cyclosity said “word on the street says : relaxed and friendly. Less macho-shit than at the Halloween ride.” I won’t be there, partially because I heard the same thing about the Halloween ride, but I’m willing to pass the word.


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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ratherbebiking  |  November 25, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I noticed the same things. It’s very easy and likely for a critical mass to fall victim to certain people who don’t appreciate what it is to go slow and stop at red lights to regroup.

    • 2. dukiebiddle  |  November 25, 2009 at 2:17 pm

      One of the reasons I like to stop at red lights is because I’m tired. 🙂

  • 3. Giffen  |  November 25, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I’ve never participated in a Critical Mass ride — I find them somewhat off putting. I can’t help but think that the participants would do more good if they spread out over the city and rode around in smaller groups, obeying the law, smiling at pedestrians, and waving at motorists. That’s what I do. On my fake Dutch bike. Everyday. I try my best to look as happy and friendly as I can.

    I want cycling to be perceived as inclusive and enjoyable. Smug and self-righteous cyclists sitting on mini-anvils riding dangerous (yes, dangerous) bikes do more harm than good. They make drivers hate bikes and promote the idea that cycling is a dangerous, fringe activity.

    Just a footnote. Fixies are, in fact, very dangerous. Just imagine what would happen if your foot got caught in the chain.

    • 4. dukiebiddle  |  November 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm

      I’m pretty much in agreement with you on the Critical Mass rides. I could get behind a Critical Manners, but with Critical Mass, no matter how positive the intent of the organizers, there are going to be aggressive overly excited political youth there who think it is about demanding whatever, and pretty much making my everyday transportation cycling hell by antagonizing the cars I want to share the road with. It’s a pity, because I’d really like to take part in the positives, but with all the corking and red light running, I’m sure disconnect from the group and go home within minutes of the ride beginning.

  • 5. Giffen  |  November 25, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    BTW, great idea for a blog. I love the focus on pretension and snobbery excluding practicality. 🙂

    I will be a frequent visitor as I go on my daily cycle chic prowl.

    • 6. ratherbebiking  |  November 25, 2009 at 6:00 pm

      Which blog?

      • 7. Giffen  |  November 25, 2009 at 6:14 pm

        Proletarian Machines!

        BTW, I hope the ambiguously symmetric double entendre is recognized as a joke and no one takes offense.

    • 8. dukiebiddle  |  November 25, 2009 at 7:35 pm

      If there was a specific motivation for maybe putting a page like this together (honestly, I don’t know if I’ll be motivated to commit to it) was a few weeks ago when I had to go into D.C. for something. At the train station I saw the new BikeStation, which was somewhat controversial in that the DDOT, in partnership with whoever, spent 4.5 million to build a bicycle storage facility, which costs members $116 per year to store their bikes securely. Lacking a shower it is somewhat limited, but from the member standpoint, not unreasonably priced for a secure bike locker, which is basically what it is. Inside, there were about 20 or so bikes that I suspect were very nice… the sort of bikes you would be willing to pay extra for the security. Next to the BikeStation was the train station’s bike racks, holding over a hundred beaters… the sort of things which paying for extra security is ridiculous, which just got me thinking about all the attention that is paid to the upper end of the market while all of the workhorses, and the users of workhorses, are being totally ignored. I mean, seriously, why did the DDOT and whoever spend all that money on what is basically a security subsidy for the upper crust? How many miles of separated bicycle lanes can a Department of Transportation make for 4.5 million? Even if it is only 1 mile wouldn’t that be a better use of that allocated money than a bike locker for the few who like to commute to work on 4 digit bikes?

      …well, that and I just really like beaters. No two are exactly alike and each one has been personalized to the specific needs of the rider. Besides, bikes are like women: the ugly ones have a tendency to stick around and love you back, while you never really know when the beautiful ones are going to leave you, unless you have a really good lock. hahahahahahaha! I kill me.

      • 9. dottie  |  November 28, 2009 at 11:00 pm

        Interesting. Chicago recently announced that a second Bike Station will be built downtown (secure parking, showers, lockers). Good for white collar workers downtown, but I’m sure the money could be used for other things. Maybe the issue is more political support than money – as in, it’s much easier for the city to let us build a structure than to take over part of the road with another bike facility.

        About Critical Mass – I have mixed feelings but if I had to pick a side, it would be “pro.” That said, I’ve heard that some young aggressive guys have been trying to take over the ride lately. I’ve only ridden in two, the last one nearly a year ago.

      • 10. dukiebiddle  |  November 29, 2009 at 7:16 am

        Having a shower, even if you don’t often use it, makes a huge difference I think when deciding whether you want to pay the fee. I like Giffen’s use of the word quixotic when talking about the BikeStation in D.C. particularly. A well thought out bike station, even with a shower, should not cost anything close to 4.5 million if it only holds about 100 bikes. If you used a vacant storefront couldn’t you build this for under 200,000? It definitely sounds to me like the wrong people were prioritizing the wrong things during the planning process, and I can’t help but presume that 4 million in funds were wasted.

  • 11. Giffen  |  November 25, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    That kind of quixotic design really cracks me up (depresses and angers me).

    If I had to spend $500 to get a bike, I would have never gotten one. Hell, if I had to spend $50 to get a bike, I probably would have never gotten one. (Of course, over time I’ve spent more than that on biking, but little by little.)

    I only got into biking when a friend of mine gave me her old Schwinn Varsity for free along with a faded pink cable lock. Apparently she was embarrassed riding it and was only too glad to get rid of it, but hesitant to give it away because she didn’t think it was safe (it wasn’t. :p ). My friends made fun of me for riding it and the guy in the bike shop would always point out how heavy it was (um?). But guess what?

    That. Bike. Changed. My. Life.

    Never in my dreams could I afford a car, but the olde Schwinn got me around. I spent so much time exploring, photographing. I biked hundreds of miles on it. It made the following summer the best one in my life.

    The only real (bad brakes, weird noises and wobbly wheels don’t count) problem I ever had with it was one tire that went flat after I left it outside for the whole winter.

    Even though it eventually got stolen (!!!) it kept me biking.

    When I go to a bike shop and hear that my bike is not good enough (I used to take them seriously) I get so angry. These guys are so fucking ignorant. The value of a bike has nothing to do with the profit margin it generates, or the quality of its frame. All that matters is what it means in the rider’s life. And that’s personal.

    • 12. dukiebiddle  |  November 25, 2009 at 11:46 pm

      Thanks for that comment. Your story made me really happy. Seriously. I feel exactly the same way about my utility bike as you do about that Schwinn.


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