Saturday, February 02, 2008
Last weekend was January Critical Mass in NYC. There were a whopping total of 20 people on the ride braving the freezing cold and the 4 year grudge of the NYPD's war on a bike ride. Let's not forget this hatred of bicycle freedom has also extended to the police setting up sting operations a few blocks from Union Square, ticketing as many cyclists as they feel like, in the hopes of dissuading anyone from biking, let alone participating in a group ride. Sneaky and dirty. This is what you get when you elect billionaire mayors who hide behind police chiefs who put personal grudges ahead of responsible civic duties. That Friday I got home from work around 8:00pm and was enjoying a cold beer. Then it dawned on me, its critical mass and I'd better call and see if anyone is on the ride. Then I realized, why am I sitting here when I could be participating. I threw on more warm clothes and headed into the city. It was so nice to ride without being encumbered by a heavy bag which usually weights me down on my daily commutes to work. I felt the crisp air in my face as I speed across the Williamsburg bridge. The ride in reminded of the exhilarating concoction of excitement and fear I used to get going to critical mass back in the good ol days. Would I get arrested? Would they steal my bike or door me? I was really thinking about if I could even find the ride. One informant told me critical mass was down to 6 people, around the 20's and Park Ave. I finally caught them in Time's Square. Then we were 7. Oh, how low we've gotten. 7? Albany Critical Mass has more people. Well I still respect all those who came out anyway despite the harassment, intimidation and bs of the boys in blue. It still gives me a little satisfaction to have a few squad cars following around 7 people on bicycles...just in case we decide to start exercising something dangerous like: "free speech." Now granted, I wasn't even going to critical mass, I was all content to just drinking a beer and hearing from a friend how the ride was going while nice and warm in my apartment. I haven't been to critical mass in months. The last time I even got near the ride I got a summons for "not riding in the bike lane," back in November 07. I don't blame people for not going because its a real pain in the ass...exactly what the NYPD wants. I just hate giving them the compliance. Thats all. So if I get the chance, I'll be there again.