Thursday, March 03, 2005

A reflection from the 2/25/05 Critical Mass in NYC.

A little late...

Here is what one fellow bike rider in NYC had to say about her recent experience at critical mass. This was the most recent CM that occured on: 2/25/05

The Police were once again very aggressive and made 15 arrests.

There are 2 critical mass bike rides in NYC.

Brooklyn's is the 2nd Friday of every month, the next one is 3/11/05

Manhattan's is the last Friday of every month, The next one will be the 25th of March. Meet at the North End of Union Square 7:00pm

Here is that post from:

Leah B. Rorvig

Hello my fellow cyclists,

As many of you have noticed, I've been a bit out of the XUP world as
of late, mostly due to increased responsibilities at my job. This
morning I felt compelled to write a brief "manifesto" of sorts about
my Critical Mass experiences. Last night I had an amazing Critical
Mass. It is the first Critical Mass in a very long time that--for
me--has had the same energy of the first CM I ever attended, back in

At my first CM, it was pouring down rain and there were maybe 200
dedicated cyclists. I was with a very good friend of mine from
college, and it was the first time I had ever participated in a
cycling "event' of any kind. I had just started riding a bike in NYC a
month before, at the urging of my then bike messenger boyfriend. The
energy that night was incredible. The 200 of us rode through the
streets like a whirling dervish, whooping and hollering, sticking
together even in the rain. I screamed my head off until I was hoarse,
and more than any other time in my entire 5 and a half years in New
York City, I really felt like the city belonged to US--this random
group of people who got together on a Friday evening to ride their
bikes through midtown, this community of people on two wheels. I felt
free, I felt unstoppable, I felt a part of something wholesome,
healthy, and fun. "Whose streets?" we asked. "Our streets," we
answered, and in this city of isolation, of loneliness, of dirt, of
homelessness, of struggle, and of unimaginable wealth, of subways and
of skyscrapers, I actually felt like they were our streets.

I immediately began volunteering at XUP and participating in CM every
month for the sole reason of wanting to give this gift of Critical
Mass to as many people as possible. Not only that, I wanted to
recapture this amazing CM feeling for myself as frequently as
possible. When I was tired, cold, doing TV interviews at 5AM, and even
in jail after being arrested at Bike Bloc, what kept me going--what
kept me believing in Critical Mass despite the uphill battle it has
been to keep it moving forward--was the feeling I had at my first CM.

After being arrested at Bike Bloc on August 29, my Critical Masses
have been marred by fear of arrest. Sad as it is, the free feeling I
had on that first rainy June night was stolen away by the threat of
plastic handcuffs and months of court appearances. But last night I
had simply had enough. I wasn't afraid. I thought, if I get arrested
again, I get arrested again. So be it. And I had one of the more
amazing Critical Masses of my life.

I know people were arrested at the beginning of last night's ride, and
I know people were arrested at the end. I have no idea how many people
were snatched up by the police, but I know that without them I could
not have had the experience I had last night, of once again being
free, of once again owning New York City streets. The threat of arrest
may have temporarily stolen away the free feeling I used to have at
CM, but it has also made it that much more precious. I am also still
amazed at by the fact that every month, people come together, despite
the freezing cold, despite the risk of arrest, and despite actually
having been arrested before. It is a true testament to the infectious
power of the unstoppable CM. No matter how intensely our beloved ride
may be criminalized, we will all still be there on the last Friday of
every month.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for all of you who have worked
so hard for many years to make this happen and to allow me to have
these amazing experiences. And many thanks for reading this entire
cheesy but sincerely heartfelt email. STILL WE RIDE!

infinite peace and love,



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