Critical Mass - November 2008

"Happy Black Friday" ride story.

Positively speaking, the heartiest 25% of Critical Massers came out despite mid-20s weather. First time I've arrived after departure and had to catch up. A phone tree test by fire of sorts (speaking of radios), I called some four people, finally reaching one who said State, and there y'all were hootin and hollerin. Reminder, keep your phones on and at top volume, and/or use earpiece.

I did head to tail a few times loosely, and would guess 300++ (maybe as high as 500), which is a 75+% dropoff from prior month estimated 2000+ for Halloween. I treated this as a second "Skate Winter" trial (1st being Karaoke ride). Details of that project are accumulating elsewhere. Thanx to you sporty winter cycling proponents, were this any prior year my inlines would be away until March. But appropriately bundled I've actually been too hot. I now see any winter events as potentially inline skatable, dependant mostly on snow+ice+wind, followed by extreme cold. Thanx for the several/many serious kudos/shoutouts I got for skating, I'm smiling ear to ear. Sorry to several I had trouble recognizing with so many features covered.

The mass seemed mostly unrouted/unplanned, other than a consensus to startout through downtown shopping boulevards, and a few decisive turns by H'wrad, so I was pleased as a puppy that we headed mostly North (in big saw tooth steps), where I could eventually just split for home-warm-home in uptown, completing some 10+ miles. Spirits were high (too high in a few), but muffled. We rallied at maybe 3 intersections, and W'hoard's dance mix was intense as usual. CCM's audio for me fills the hole left by roller-rink die-offs. Please H'rawd, post an MP3 of the Critical Mass mix.

I saw one uber threatening moment (out of car man spewing ape rage) which may be same mentioned before on the list. Also heard of/saw after at least 2 taps by cars, resulting in bike damage? And a number of extreme corkings in progress, usually with SUVs. Saw some 3 speeders, and maybe 7+ dimwits turning into or trying to cross the mass. Encounters with suicidal pedestrians was high. I personally had to avoid direct collisions several times with people so careless I can't fathom it. I've gotta suspect that turners and crossers were high because of the smaller mass.

Massups at lights were excellent. Honking, embedding, long jams and blockages to cars seemed lite. I haven't heard of yet nor saw any violence to cars. Note that the above counts are not proportionally lower with mass size than noted in prior months. Police cars helped at a few intersections, but I saw no bike cops. Sorry to sound grownup, but the few incidents we did have would have been less likely with some escorts, but that might also cost some riders. I again urge taking a flash photo of license plate visibly to the driver as the most practicable means to brake a spiraling rage.

See y'all on Boxing Day! (weather willing)