Critical Motorcade

The most successful group ride in the world is Critical Mass. It is also, at the same time, the most loved, reviled, and disputed ride.

First of all, few people really know what Critical Mass is all about.

The main point of Critical Mass, according to the founders in San Franscisco was that it was about whatever the riders wanted it to be about. There’s no main message rather it’s subjective.

Thus, Critical Mass is like an ink blot test where people project their hopes, dreams, fears, frustrations, and hatreds of bicycles.

And that is beautiful.

People who are green and liberal tend to love it.

People who are conservative tend to hate it.

These rules aren’t absolute.

People’s feelings of Critical Mass and bicycles in general are far from being written in stone.

Critical Mass is not the devil and it’s not a savior.

But it is fun.

In general the more experience someone has with Critical Mass the more they like it. The people who hate it the most are those who saw a ride, one time, and had a bad experience not unlike those cases when a new minority moves into a neighborhood and everyone judges their whole country based on the actions of one dude who might not even be sane back home.

Those who want to “control” it make is “safe” are those who don’t ride it regularly. It’s like the pope wanting to make the rules for a game he doesn’t play.

Those who ride it just ride.

I usually shy away from Critical Mass because I don’t wish people to think I’m a loon. I usually refer to it as a popular group ride, which it is.

The take home message from this is that Critical Mass doesn’t define cycling in most people’s minds. Most people are far more intelligent to sum up the entirety of cycling by one person’s actions.

Finally, people’s minds change. I have personally changed the minds of several people who hated cyclists by the power of facts, reason, and deep emotional manipulation.

So if you like it ride it.

If you hate it don’t bash it.

If you want to get your drink on in downtown San Diego be mindful of the date, and plan accordingly just like you would do for a Chargers game, ComicCon or any other city sanctioned recreational event.


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