Fun CM ride even made the news
(updated: Jun 28, 2008)
It was a rough week at work so I was really looking forward to the Critical Mass ride. I parked on campus and changed in my car. A family with a college aged daughter walked by and I felt like jumping out of my car half naked and running around yelling "bikes rule" or something thinking that might discourage the girl from attending the asphalt and car loving university. Actually I shouldn't blame UNCW but the heartless Chancellor DePaolo.
Anyway, I was excited to do the ride on my latest addition to the stable, the Masi Speciale Commuter. I bought this bike to ride 3 miles to the grocery store and back, and also to tow my kids around and take them to their grandparents house, and because my motto is "if you can get another bike, you need another bike". I left the reflectors on because I ride at night sometimes. It's a commuter. I'd like to ride it to work but the only way for me to bike to work is on Sidbury during the rush hours, or on the 17 bypass, which I know if I tried I would be pulled over by the authorities. Both are dangerous routes. Major bummer. I'd like to propose a bike lane addition on Sidbury to connect to the planned lanes in the Blue Clay Corridor Bike Plan, but that could be years before anything might happen. Better to hope that gas prices rise to $10 a gallon in the short term. Then the roads would be much less crowded. But then would I have a job to go to?
The Masi Speciale Commuter
I added the cup holder
However, I'll spare my ongoing effort to warn everyone of the unfolding energy crisis and stick to my ongoing effort to promote cycling as a fun, healthy, legitimate mode of transportation that should be recognized as such and promoted by the elected leaders in this town, assuming there are any. I don't think there are at this point. In fact, I don't think there's any leadership in this country.
The gathering. There is a troublemaker in this photo. Do you know who?
So if there are no leaders, why not participate in a ride with no leaders. I liked how the news reporter was asking who the ride leader was and was told that there wasn't any. That was great. They did a short story on it last night on the news. They showed everyone riding and said something like a hundred riders took up one lane to promote cycling awareness. They interviewed one woman from the ride - I forget her name. For the most part we only took up a single lane except when we got downtown and part way up Market. I'm not sure why in that area but it could be because it is narrow.
Personally my feeling is that we try to only take up one lane. I mean, a single lane is definitely sufficient, and it allows drivers to pass. Taking up all lanes and making motorists wait, like the poor shlep who just wants to go home after a long day and see his kids, in the words of Rambo, "you're not changing anything".
I suspect one of the reasons we made the news was due to the increasing focus on high gas prices in the media, currently in the blame stage. Soon, as the slow realization hits that we are totally f*cked thanks to a more than 60 year mindless build-up of cheap oil-based infrastructure, which is amazingly still going on, we will enter a panicked drill everywhere, drill now, burn everything stage, quickly followed by a "if you don't give us more oil, we are going to take it from you by force" strategy. But I applaud the media for bringing more attention to cycling, even if it took high gas prices to do it.
High gas prices are helping us, which shouldn't need to be the case, but people only see the direct costs. Health benefits don't take money out of people's pockets, until the day that they end up in a hospital and the doctor says, "you're f*cked". Actually, the way that our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is defined, increased medical spending actually *raises* the GDP and is therefore considered economic growth. That's totally f*cked up.
I have a suggestion for a route for next time, College to Market and north on Market all the way to Porter's Neck, turn around and back down Market to Military Cutoff to Eastwood and back to campus. That's about 18 miles - a long one. It can be shortened by turning right at Military Cutoff instead of continuing to Porter's Neck. The reason is that Market is a better road to raise awareness and heading out to the 'burbs is also better than riding downtown. It is my belief that folks who live in or near downtown are way ahead in terms of being bike aware than those who live in the suburbs.
Until then, get out and ride.
Update: I just picked up two copies of the local paper. It's got a nice picture of the ride on the front page. I can see myself in the photo. The caption reads:
A group of approximately 100 cyclists ride down Oleander Drive during a Critical Mass bike ride Friday. Critical Mass is a gathering of cyclists typically held on the last Friday of each month in cities around the world. The gathering welcomes all riders to join in a celebration of riding bicycles. For more information on their monthly adventure, check out www.myspace.com/cm_wilmington_nc.
I bet dollars to donuts we're gonna see some interesting letters to the editor from the locals.
1. Rock Head said...
What happened to the $230 billion from the 2005 highway transit bill that included funding for bike paths? I don't get it, there are so many people out there that are ready to tap into a huge engery resource, which is just above our beltlines, but nobody wants to ensure a safe and consistent venue (Like the cities of similar tax base). For me personally, I have reached the point that I don't even like to drive; and I have a small 4 cyclinder pick-up.
Jun 29, 2008 @ 4:39 PM
2. SBA said...
This is what happened in Atlanta after it made the news. The lesson here is to obey the law, and stay in a single lane.
Atlanta Police stalk Critical Mass
Here's the link to the page so you can read some of the comments:
Jun 30, 2008 @ 10:32 AM
3. Randy said...
Remember that the police have stopped mass rides in Wilmington before, but they have not done anything yet this year. Don't let fear of law enforcement hold back attendance. The more people, the safer we are as individuals.
Jun 30, 2008 @ 11:03 AM
4. peter said...
Lots of lidless riders I see. Whassup with that?Pushing the envelope? Safety in numbers? One crazy dude plowing into the pack to prove his or her's point will end in trajedy. I will stand by this though, Act locally, think globally. Pressure to bring on bike lanes is the only logical solution. We were in St Augustine , FL this weekend and its an amazing bike friendly town. One could get anywhere on a bike, in a bike lane, even on the bridges. So what is the problem here? Curious minds want to know.
Jul 1, 2008 @ 5:35 PM
5. NURSE NORA said...
WHERE ARE YOUR HELMETS? I THINK THIS IS AN AWESOME IDEA, AND AS SOON AS I GET A FRIDAY OFF,FROM MY 12 HOUR HOSPITAL SHIFT, I WILL JOIN Y\'ALL, BUT NOT WITHOUT MY HELMET.
IT\'S TOTALLY INSANE TO RIDE ON A BUSY STREET AT RUSH HOUR WITHOUT A HELMET.....GO SPEND THE WEEKEND IN THE ER ON A FRIDAY OR SATURDAY NIGHT! BE SMART, DON\'T LET THE SUV\'S PASSING YOU IN THEIR GAS GUZZLER\'S THINK YOU\'RE ARE A BUNCH OF MORONS. THERE ARE PLENTY OF THEM WHO OUT OF JEALOUSLY WOULD LOVE NOTHING MORE THAN CRASH INTO
Jul 1, 2008 @ 5:47 PM
6. SBA said...
Actually, state law only requires riders 16 and under to wear a helmet. I'm not agreeing with it, but that's what it is.
Jul 1, 2008 @ 8:19 PM
7. vakos said...
We really do need to only take up one lane. there is no need to completely block traffic. The rides really needs to remain positive. We have been getting alot of press lately and most all of it is positive. I personally would really like to see it stay that way. If we take up more than one lane than we are go to draw negative attention and therefore hurt the cause we are trying to promote.
on a side note helmets are a personal choice. there have been just as many studies that have found they do nothing tha
Jul 3, 2008 @ 7:25 PM
8. vakos said...
completely disregard that bit about the helmet. I was going to rant and then decided not to and then hit the submit button halfway throught the delete process. Oh well helmets are cool. all in all, do whatever makes one feel safe.
Jul 4, 2008 @ 7:56 AM
9. dungeonmaster said...
yes. take up one lane, don't pass in front of people turning at green lights, swarming moving traffic, and gving us all a bad name. there are at least a dozen jerks who like to get outside our lane. radicalism will get the thing shut down, so let's behave ourselves kids. it's too good a statement to let it be ruined by a few.
Jul 10, 2008 @ 10:08 AM
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