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Sacramento Critical Mass This Friday Dec. 6, 2002!
by Jason Meggs
Wednesday Dec 4th, 2002 9:49 AM
Whooping, cheering cyclists on bicycles of all shapes and sizes rolled through the streets of Sacramento last November 1st to an inspired 80's theme sound track. Bystanders on foot, pedal and even in motor vehicles cheered and applauded, danced along to the music, and eagerly accepted flyers describing the event. The ride occurs again this Friday, December 6.
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
SACTOCM November 1, 2002 Ride Report
with TWO-PART VIDEO!

Whooping, cheering cyclists on bicycles of all shapes and sizes rolled through the streets of Sacramento last November 1st to an inspired 80's theme sound track. Bystanders on foot, pedal and even in motor vehicles cheered and applauded, danced along to the music, and eagerly accepted flyers describing the event. The ride occurs again this Friday, December 6.

Sacramento Critical Mass, a rolling pedal-powered demonstration and celebration, occurs every month in the Capitol city of California. The right to ride has not come easily. Due to egregious civil rights violations by the local police, along with animosity from a small but vocal group of influential bicycle advocates, Critical Mass efforts have come to an early and unfortunate demise repeatedly over the past decade.

Due to an extended campaign by the Bicycle Civil Liberties Union (BCLU) and individuals from Sacramento and the Bay Area, culminating in a BCLU lawsuit directed against the Sacramento Police Department, a relative truce has emerged allowing this special form of peaceful protest to have the chance to flourish in the Capitol city as it has throughout California and indeed, the entire world in over 300 cities. The movement has just recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary in San Francisco. The loss of beneficial effects Sacramentans would have received from Critical Mass had police not suppressed the demonstrations beginning in 1993 is a true tragedy.

Given the tremendous bikeability potential of Sacramento -- flat, with a good climate, and significant progress on a bicycling infrastructure for a U.S. city -- along with the huge number of everyday cyclists throughout the midtown area -- Critical Mass here has an incredible opportunity to thrive. The many bike lanes and paths are due in large part to the ardent efforts of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA), a group which unfortunately has refused to discuss the Critical Mass phenomenon.

GETTING THERE:

The ride occurs every first Friday of the month, gathering on the north Capitol steps from 5-6 PM and riding after 6 PM. From the San Francisco Bay Area, the main group meets at the Emeryville Amtrak by 1:30 PM, using a discount ticket pass. Some riders get on at other stations (e.g., Richmond, Berkeley, Fremont, San Jose), and it's possible to leave on a later train. Returning, the last train back gets in around 10 PM. In the Bay Area, the San Francisco Critical Mass (frequently numbering in the thousands) takes place on the last Friday of the month, gathering from 5:30 PM to depart after 6 PM from Justin "Pee Wee" Herman Plaza at the foot of Market Street. In Berkeley, riders gather every second Friday on Constitution Plaza above the Downtown Berkeley BART (http://www.berkeleycriticalmass.org/)

A police vehicle followed the ride throughout the evening, which undoubtedly reduced the amount of motorist aggression experienced. Whenever the police car fell behind or to one side, potential problems began to appear. Sacramento drivers with their wide car-first, freeway-like, one-way streets and lack of first amendment activity is still getting used to the existence of Critical Mass.

VIDEO PART ONE HIGHLIGHTS

Begins with a drumming improv session on Amtrak to Sacramento from the Bay Area.

Speeches are made about sticking together and flyering, and about the potential for literally thousands of people to enjoy the ride every month.

The ride kicks off with one rather maniacally happy young woman falling to the ground and dragging from the four-seat home-made car bike she was pushing. "That video should be shown over and over and over again!" she proclaimed. (Not this edit :).

The music mysteriously cuts out just as riders are "corking" a major intersection to keep it safe for the entire group to get through. The sound system crew jokes about people who cannot understand the ride while restoring the system. "I want to be one of those people who calls 911 all the time, oh no, it's an emergency, there are bikes everywhere!"

A driver flagged as aggressive is told about why the ride is taking the street.

Folks clap and cheer from a sidewalk cafe as a woman holds her baby up, waving together.

A woman in a car cheers, "Right on -- you spoke for your generation after all! This is great!"

A poetic visual speedup through a maze of cars to the words, "I've got to get away...".

A bystander who wondered if Critical Mass was a band -- followed by hamming it up to "Feel the Noise" by Quiet Riot due to the ride's new status as rock stars.

A long interview about the misperceptions about Critical Mass, after someone outside Pacific Bicycles called out that the ride gives him a bad name, how a cyclist was hit three days earlier in a hit-and-run, and related issues. Guarantee you he's never even been on a ride.

People dilligently handed out informational flyers to bystanders. Only a small fraction of the many amazing and acrobatic hand-offs of flyers were captured or included here throughout the two parts of the video. For instance, an impressive handoff from a woman on a supertall bike to a man out strolling. And, kids in a bus stop reading the flyer. "Thank you for using public transportation, don't be afraid to care!"

Cheers from sidewalk restaurants, bars and cafes.

Another conversation with a motorist. This one who says the riders should go try to save Tibet and let him have his RV.
Bike dropping bike grease, plastic helment, and camera probably made by slave labor. He told the folks on the four-seater car-sized bike, "Get a job you fucking tree huggers".

Enjoy and don't forget part two!

Add Your Comments
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
HERe's part two of the videoJason MeggsWednesday Dec 4th, 2002 1:25 PM
Beautiful!emmaWednesday Dec 4th, 2002 1:09 PM
Go CMScarry Bent RiderWednesday Dec 4th, 2002 12:08 PM
how to get the player for the videoJason MeggsWednesday Dec 4th, 2002 10:03 AM
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