Saturday, January 14, 2006

We came, we saw, we rode our bikes...

And weren’t treated like criminals.
Where you ask…Brooklyn Critical Mass!

Call it a throwback to the good ol’ days of this famous cycle gathering, but perhaps BCM is going to be the in thing for 2006. Imagine riding your bike in a group of people, celebrating this most ingenious form of transportation, and not feeling like the scooter cops are about to have you arrested for your actions.

Last night I actually completed a Brooklyn critical mass ride, which made a journey through several neighborhoods of these massive boroughs.

This ride had about 75 people on it, which was a combination of two meet-up spots, Williamsburg and Grand Army Plaza.

A moist fog was rolling overhead as about 25 people gathered in a park in the South Side of Brooklyn. This has become the alternate spot for Brooklyn Critical Mass, due to the police presence that escorts the ride, which gathers at Grand Army Plaza.

A few announcements were made about a recently killed cyclist in City Island and one person told of a friend who was killed in San Francisco. Emotions were still heavy from last weeks well-attended memorial ride and people reflected on the dangers and challenges ahead. Yellow flowers were handed in honor of those killed and we took off into the fog.

Soon after we got our bearings, we ran smack into the other crew from Grand Army Plaza at Dekalb in Fort Greene.

This part of the ride is always escorted by the NYPD. Generally 3-4 scooter cops and an unmarked police car in back, giving commands over a pa system.

People communicate with the officers about when decisions are made and YES, we do stop at most red lights. The police do their fair share to facilitate the ride and dealing with irate motorists.

Why then do the police need to have unmarked patrol cars following us? Why not use standard squad cars? We really have to get away from this, “Plain clothes.” Behavior. We have nothing to hide, neither should you. Small steps, but important ones.

We rode through the Fulton mall and waved at on-lookers who chanted along with: “More Bikes, Less Cars.” Then down Bedford Ave. towards Williamsburg again. The Hasidic Jews looked in amazement at this roving celebration of the bicycle as they walked home from temple.

Then the ride ended at Capone’s bar where they were gold sprints roller races for Ken’s birthday. (Ken runs the NYBMA website)

The Brooklyn critical mass is slow paced and mellow. Definitely refreshing from the war we have been having with the city in Manhattan. Let both rides be a lesson to each other and to the city that this IS a safe ride that just wants to show that bikes are traffic and can ride together in mass without needing a permit.

I hope the Brooklyn Critical Mass expands and becomes more festive.

Bring your kids, your energy and your creativity to Brooklyn Critical Mass, the second Friday of every month.

Gold Sprints at Capones, Mike D is running the show,(the guy with the dreads)

For 5 bucks you can race your opponent for a simulated 500meter sprint on stationary fixed gear bikes attached in the front and on rollers for the back wheel. I raced Brendt from the Bicycle Film Festival and thought I was gonna loose my free pizza and three Stella's I had just pounded. Not the best idea for someone out of shape.

The ladies, testing their skills.

This is Ken, he is a web designer and graphic artist who runs the NYBMA website. It was his birthday and he decided to celebrate with gold sprints at capone's bar on North 9th. This was a kick off event for 2 days of late-night racing in DC.
frost bite
This is a benifit for the Bicycle Messenger Emergency Relief Fund which raises money for working couriers hurt on the job.Bike Messenger Fund


Blogger mike said...

hey, what time did you start at the bridge? i was there at 730p and everyone was gone for this ride (feb '06). i started at grand army for the jan '06 ride...that was a blast.


8:51 PM  

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