Monday, September 29, 2008

Critical Massholes.


I'm probably too conflicted to even try to write about this, but I'm going to try.

So, on Friday my friend Pat (friend: regular at the bakery who sometimes buys me a beer and gives me free tech support) had a bit of showdown with the kids doing Critical Mass. From his side of the story, they were being purposely aggressive and he had a wedding to get to. They were taking up the whole road (which is the point of Critical Mass) and harassing him. According to him. I like Pat, and he does ride bikes, but he is also a SUV-driving Republican.
I'm going to assume that both Pat and the bike kids were in the wrong here. I agree with the principles of Critical Mass and was even thinking about going on the ride. I believe in direct action. I have done Critical Mass before and I think it's a good way to make a statement about how unfriendly cities are to cyclists and the enjoyment of life in general. For me, group rides and Critical Mass especially have been about showing how much fun bikes can be and that commuting to work or wherever can be a joyful experience. It's not about making people driving feel like jerks.

It goes without saying then that I strongly disagree with the Critical Massers who looked up Pat's address and then went out and SPRAYPAINTED HIS FUCKING CAR. How are we supposed to get anything accomplished if we repeatedly prove to this city what assholes bike riders are? Yes, I know we are better because we ride all the time. So start acting like it. Don't let your anger control you. If you want to spraypaint something, spraypaint the fucking slaughterhouse. Or McDonald's or something. People in cars aren't the enemy.
They're just cyclists who don't know it yet.

And next time you're on the internet, try doing some reading about Critical Mass and direct action. We need to make this look easy and fun and we need to look good doing it. And that'll prove a bigger point than defacing my friend's car.

Unrelated 'Firefly' tirade:

They killed Wash! I can't believe they killed Wash! He was my favorite character. (Yes, I know I'm a bit late to the whole 'Firefly' thing. I get there eventually.)


Anonymous said...

There is no way you are talking about the critical mass that happened a few days ago. Is this a joke?

milkyboots said...

It's not a joke.
What happened?

Anonymous said...

There's not a lot of detail in your post. How did they get into a confrontation? And how would any normal person be able to "look up" an address from a license plate?

Anonymous said...


Critical Mass Road Rage & Auto-Domination


milkyboots said...

I don't know any more detail. From Pat's story, they surrounded his car and were purposely keeping pace with him - running some lights and not others.
Maybe it wasn't even critical mass? Is there another ride i don't know about on friday nights?

It is possible to look up people's addresses, I think via insurance info? That's how my old boss got sued (for an accident I was in, whoops.)

Looks like I've pissed off everyone who wasn't already pissed off about the Velocity article!

milkyboots said...

Doesn't anyone care that they killed Wash?

Anonymous said...

wow, anon @8:51 - 1) it's a blog...2)it's a very important thing for everyone to know and if Critical Mass is going to be effective it needs to control its bad eggs, 3) the guy/girl isn't just an asshole, they're a vandal, and 4) it's not and never could be slander, it could at best be libel, so if you don't know what you're talking about, please keep your mouth shut (please don't spraypaint my car)


Anonymous said...

I was at critical mass and it was a lot of fun. I don't think anything like this happened. weird.

Anonymous said...

Well, that didn't happen.

milkyboots said...

All right, this is the last thing I'm saying on the topic.

1. Yes, my friend is an asshole. If you read what I wrote, I mention this. And I also say that I assume BOTH parties were in the wrong.

2. Critical MASS. If it was indeed people who had participated in the Critical Mass who spraypainted his car (which Pat believed it was, and I believe him), my problem with that action is that it's singling someone out. If you're going to spraypaint a car, spraypaint all the cars on the block. People can dismiss actions perceived as personal pretty easily. But if you hit up every car on the block, they might consider it a statement. They might think about. Instead of being angry and then getting on with their day, which is what Pat did.

So basically, it's not that I disagree with this sort of action as a whole, but its specificity in this case.

And I'm not trying to say that everyone who went on the Critical Mass ride participated in this. But whoever did it, and it seems quite likely that it was one of the cyclists Pat interacted with that night, was being irresponsible with his or her statement making. And that's my opinion.

milkyboots said...

One last thing:

The gist of my whole thing is that when you're on your bike, you're representing our 'culture'. You're selling it. Making it look good.

Please, make it look good. Be good. Be courteous and responsible as you can, and eventually drivers will get it.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I too am glad you no longer live in Louisville, Kayti.

Stephanie said...

well said gal. just how people are, they associate one person from a certain 'sub-culture' and bunch them into one large group, whether it is with people on bikes or religion or a family from a certain culture. you don't gain respect from being disrespectful. you gain attention, yes, but not respect, and unfortunalty, you gain negative attention for ALL bikers.
i miss louisville and i miss biking, as atlanta isn't very bike friendly. i feel louisville is way ahead in being aware of bikers than just for some encouragement, louisville isn't too far behind the times.

Unknown said...

Just in case people weren't aware, there will be an additional CM this month, although obviously we hope without the constroversy. This one is in memory of Jen Futrell, a bicyclist that was hit on Bardstown Rd. on Sept. 30th. See