Tonight I took part in New Ark's Critical Mass bicycle ride. I must say, it was overall a very delightful experience. Pictures here: picasaweb.google.com/forty15/CriticalMass.
In my past life, I took part in the Albany NY Critical Mass, and was left with very mixed emotions. I do truly like the ideals for which CM rides stand: bike equality, cyclist rights, "share the road", bikes as viable forms of transportation, community togetherness, etc. It is also amazingly freeing and fun to ride at a slow parade pace through a nice city. The roads are so wide when there are no cars with which to compete. It's kind of like when Kramer paints over the white lines on the highway. "Ah, you know how in planes they got first class? More leg room, better ride? Well, I'm bringing that concept to mile one-fourteen."
Albany rides tended to have more mayhem and anger than I witnessed tonight. The ride was a meandering stroll through downtown Newark, along Main, Delaware, Cleveland among others. The laws were mostly obeyed. Red lights were waited upon. It was cold, but everyone was happy to ride. I will probably go back next month. But with flyers to hand out to drivers, standers-by, pedestrians. Invite them, any bike will do.