Critical Mass makes me happy

gabriel's picture

I've missed several CM's, mostly for ungood reasons like being out of town or working late, and I kind of didn't care. I guess I was a little burned out or something. But tonight was fabulous and reminded me why I love mass. I started CM early with commuter breakfast and a ride to a friend's garden. Then was work....blahblahblah - followed by a fantastic ride from midtown to woodruff, splitting lanes with two pumped up first-timers. At the corner of Peachtree and Auburn I counted 426 folks on bikes, which I think is an ATL record. During the mass I saw old friends, met exciting new people and admired loads of gorgeous bicycles. I corked intersections and raced a man in a beautiful green dress to the front of the mass. I made plans to chase Jase's sweet hiney up Mary George hill early tomorrow morning. When it was over I celebrated a friend's birthday at a cheesy bar and went to hear some other friends' band play at wonderroot, a very cool place. And I did it all on my bike. what's better than that?

How was your mass?

Alex's picture



Jeff's picture

Good times!

Hotlanta is a good place to be.

TimothyJ's picture


Huge Crowd. This photo is from about 1/4 from the front. The crowd goes all the way back to the top of the hill.

Going down Peachtree a police car stopped us from massing through a red light, and broke us into two groups. This was the first time I had seen that. From what I have seen before they usually try to let us through.

And the one gentleman had a seizure. I hope he is OK? I believe I read he has them fairly often?

c0urt's picture

yeah i cant believe that

yeah i cant believe that asshole held up mass with his medical problems, who would do some crap like that.

didnt even take the time to go lie down on the side walk first.

actually I am fine i was out of the hospital a few hours later they just gave me a bag of saline and a bag of orange juice. I caught the train to midtown and got my bike went to bar and got dinner.

it was mostly a combination of riding really really hard. I was doing a lot of corking because several other people were but considering the size of the mass me needed more corks, I was sprinting from the rear of the mass to the front over and over to cork. and stopping to help people who were having bike failures or just couldnt make is up the hills. and all that effort just caught up with me.

Dfunk's picture

Dude I saw you

Nice to put a face with a name! And I have a lot of respect for you for having so much heart to want to ride so hard in spite of your medical concerns. Glad you're ok. But if I may be so bold, (and run the risk of stating something you've probably heard a lot already...) I'd like to suggest that you pay attention to your limits. Nobody wants to see you have a seizure while a semi's bearing down on you or something like that. Better to ride a little conservatively than to not ride at all, ya dig?

franx's picture

my mass


every mass i see less faces i recognize, which makes me feel old. I think it's because as we grow older we find more and more reasons to not ride mass because of how many people it pisses off.


regardless of all feelings about mass, and what it means to you, and what it means to society, and regardless of what it means to europeans, regardless of age or demographic or political philosophy... i still say more bikes = more awesomeness

happy friday haterssssssssss!!1

Roadie Gave Me the Finger!

Other than that, awesome CM. Wonderroot made everything even more badass. And I road my first alleycat on Saturday!

c0urt's picture

actually, I am going to be

actually, I am going to be hanging up my bike for a week or two. I may have broken my jaw and I kinda tore myself, when I crashed out of the alley cat last night. I am going home to alabama see a few doctors next week and they may be able to help we will see. but odds are they will tell me the same thing my other doctor told me. I need to quit riding my bicycle. and as some of you found out I would rather they pry my bars from my hands.

over all I had a great time at mass

from another board...

thisisnotadril posted this on June 1st, 2008 @ 11:28:17 am
its the "Cars own the streets for 718 hours of the 720 hours in a month and bikes by virtue of the size/force differential have no choice but to play by their rules but during these 2 hours cars will be forced to play by the cyclists rules" civil disobedience 'what its supposed to be'.

she-hulk posted this on June 1st, 2008 @ 11:52:12 am
i get that 718/720 'what it's supposed to be'. it think it's a noble power to the poeple-y kind of pursuit/intention. but my issue with this, is:

1.bikers are taking back the streets for 2 hours a month
2.based the size of last night's ride, it's certainly for much more than 10 minutes of delay for the average driver
3.there's an element of antagonism towards drivers

given the above, the CM is effectively punishing average joe, when the inability to bike safely the whole month is a government issue that can (and should be) be addressed by inconveniencing those in power.

to me, it seems like going into a mcdonald's and screaming at the cashier b/c you have an issue with globalization. you might be in the right place (sort of) but you are potentially fucking with working people's lives. also, to me, it smacks of cowardice.

My question: where is she-hulk wrong?

gabriel's picture

my question:

why don't you turn off your tags?


the lines breaks were killing them, so I simply reopened them at each new paragraph (this was in or around safari).

Page appears fine in Firefox as well.


ps nice strawman

gabriel's picture

good call

though I'm not really in this discussion, so I wasn't trying to distract...

I haven't been interested in this debate in at least a year. I ride mass because I enjoy it. When I stopped enjoying it, I found a lot of other things to do the last friday of the month. This time I showed up, and I loved it.

where is she-hulk wrong? are

where is she-hulk wrong?
are you sure she-hulk is wrong?

these debates go on and on. CM is both positive and negative.
it's fun for cyclists / pisses of drivers
raises cyclist awareness / raises drivers' ire
civil disobedience / breaks the law

CM is good and bad, both things. One can argue CM is bad because.... and they are right. Another argues CM is good because.... and they are also right. The more pertinent question is, does the good outweigh the bad?


are you sure she-hulk is wrong?

Definitely not. I'm inclined to think she-hulk's right at the moment. In my opinion, if CMers really wanted to raise awareness of cycling, they'd ride as responsible individuals.

Mob mentality is one of the nastier aspects of human nature, IME.

franx's picture

Speaking of awareness

Everybody's heard the expression "There's no such thing as bad press." Couldn't the same be said about Awareness?

Even IF Critical Mass is generating 'bad' awareness for cyclists, it's still awareness... Which means it's making motorists more aware of the existence of bikes on the road and therefore less likely to unintentionally hit them. I see this as a good thing.

'xcuse the tone


"An interesting fact about white people is that they firmly believe that all of the world’s problems can be solved through “awareness.” Meaning the process of making other people aware of problems, and then magically someone else like the government will fix it.

This belief allows them to feel that sweet self-satisfaction without actually having to solve anything or face any difficult challenges. Because, the only challenge of raising awareness is people not being aware. In a worst case scenario, if you fail someone doesn’t know about the problem. End of story."

durkie's picture

the government is made of people

someone not knowing about a problem is potentially huge. is protest/"raising awareness" any less legitimate than calling up your senator?

i agree that protest/demonstration can be a cop-out or a way to meet girls. but it has also been an effective instrument for change in the past.

c0urt's picture

does anyone know how the

does anyone know how the higher ups in office feel about mass?

the cops seem to have a fairly live and let live attitude as long as we dont cause too much trouble.

but is there a long----long term goal from mass?

greggroth's picture

"long term goal from

"long term goal from mass?"

mass has no goals. unless getting drunk and riding around town in mob fashion counts as a goal.


but go up to one of the folks who just got their sweet new fixie gear tarck bike with narrow bars what they're going to do about anything besides ride CM. My guess is not much.

Also if I had to guess, if someone has the clout to sway a city council member or any other politicians, (s)he is more likely to be in a car than on a bike during CM.

Not saying that everyone who rides a bike isn't important, or even that important people don't ride CM. Just that all those people writing their senators would be wayyyy better than CM, IMO.

gabriel's picture

For what it's worth...

City council members are not that hard to sway. I have called several of them and they tend to call back - way more than state legislators.

Most city council members actually want to improve the city. All of them want to be re-elected, or become mayor. Do you know who your councilperson is? {by you I mean everyone, not just Paul}

Also, do you know which NPU you live in? Each NPU holds a monthly meeting to handle neighborhood business, vote on zoning changes for developments, and discuss public works needs. It's worth showing up at least once.

While I'm on a soapbox {sorry}, are you registered to vote? Folks in their 20's and 30's move around a lot, and it's easy to forget. Now you can do it online....

Teh Black Hole's picture

+1 on knowing who your city

+1 on knowing who your city council member is and what NPU you live in. The council member always lives in the same neighborhood as you and so your concerns are always their concerns as well.

greggroth's picture

oh nice

that NPU map's also a nice reference for knowing where neighborhood borders are.

greggroth's picture


i never knew there was a Pittsburgh in atlanta...

5 points to the person who knows what NPU it's in.

that's easy, its NPU V,

that's easy, its NPU V, right next to Peoplestown and Mechanicsville. Of course we also have an Oakland. People should pay attention to SW Atlanta, its gonna explode(ie. in a good way) in the next 5-10 years.

greggroth's picture


did you already know there was a Pittsburgh or did you stumble on it like I did?

btw, more important than there being an Oakland, there's Sherwood Forest.

AND a neighborhood unashamedly named "Blandtown"

IndyFan's picture

Sherwood Forest rocks

The Thursday night ride from CVS Pharmacy in Decatur rolls through Sherwood Forest. It's a beautiful neighborhood off the beaten path.

greggroth's picture

it's not anything

it's got nothin' with out the major oak, home of Robin Hood.

that's a big tree.

franx's picture

bread crumbs...

this led me to click "Famous Trees" which led me to search "Georgia" which lead me to The Tree That Owns Itself

ckdake's picture

austinisnorobot's picture


and all the roads are named after shit from robin hood. seriously.

Teh Black Hole's picture

Pittsburgh is rough. It's

Pittsburgh is rough. It's getting better, but it's still sketchville.

I've known of Pittsburgh for

I've known of Pittsburgh for many years.

Everybody assumes Hotlanta is the yuppie paradise of the golden northern triangle, but the southside is quite interesting.

Jase lived in Capital View awhile back, Jenny's neighbor is moving back to Sylvan Hills and the guys doing the big renovation on Powell Street just finished a project in Pittsburgh, where the locals thought they were undercover cops at first, the back story of that was recently in the AJC, but with the return of Fort McPherson back to the city all those neighborhoods are gonna change. ie. Sylvan Hills, Adair Park, etc. which are all on the route to the velodrome, btw.

Here's an NPU query for you/anybody, which NPU contains all of the following?
a) Harold's BBQ
b) Joyland neighborhood
c) the best southern view of downtown, ie. Hill Street off of Milton, formerly a great rave location, now just condos.

love Harolds.

love Harolds.

franx's picture

I see what you're saying

I'm not talking about the metaphysical idea of 'Awareness' that white people like so much. I'm talking about 1 person in 1 car noticing 400 bikes roll by and thinking "Wow, there are a lot of people on bikes in this city. I'd better be careful not to hit one." Or I'd be fine with 1 person in 1 car thinking "Fuck all these bikes! They're making me late for spin class! Dammit! I'd better not hit one or I'll have to stop and talk to the cops and be even MORE late! Fucking shit!"

My point is that they see us whether they like it or not. And whether they realize it or not, they are becoming more aware of our existence. Once a month we constitute what motorists would call 'real' traffic. That makes the road safer for us.


makes sense to me.


Two or three times a day, I'm real traffic too. I go when the light is green, roll through neighborhood stop signs, etc.

If all of those people were commuting everyday, motorists would be even more aware of them, and probably less pissed off. We've ventured to the land of speculation, so let's bring it back.

Two or three times a day, I get on my bike and ride amongst the cars all by myself. I commute to Tech from Kirkwood 7 times a week (ugg, almost over). My point is that I probably interact with -- let's say -- 25 cars each way. That's 50 cars a day, 350 cars each week (conservative estimate, but I'll count for the rest of the week).

An overwhelming majority of my commutes go by without incident, but let's be pessimistic and say that 1 car is a total douche every day. That makes it 1/50 or 2% of motorists that I encounter are "unaware" of cycling. That ain't bad. Personally, I don't want the other 98% to get pissed off/apathetic & jaded as y'all reach out to a pretty dern stubborn 2%.

Teh Black Hole's picture

It's not worth arguing...

I've taken a new stance lately Paul... sometimes the saddle sore that makes your ride suck is gonna be cuntgoggle in a Yukon, and sometimes it's gonna be a cockswaggler on a Pista. Win some, lose some.

good vs. bad

still makes me wonder if good outweighs the bad. for sake of being optimistic - not arguing... i would think the overall vehicle community impact of a 2 hour ride through a city once a month is very small. i don't even bother riding CM every month, but when i do i just don't even get much of a negative vibe. from what i can tell, it feels like ~95% positive from the cars and gawkers.

but... consider the number of newish riders who get their confidence at CM and because of this discovery actually become model citizens such as yourself and commute and interact with traffic on their own. think if each of these new riders begins to reach 50 cars a day... every day of the month... bikes win!!

thats enough optimism for me today.

TimothyJ's picture

I like!

And not only do the people gain confidence, I think it is an opportunity to meet other cyclists they can ride with. A lot of networking can be going on. People realize there are others who just like to cycle about town. They realize that there are more rides to participate in other than squid rides.

As far as negative vibes from drivers- they are the ones that are going to give cyclists crap no matter what. I have been riding single file on roads by myself, all the way over to the right line, and I have had stuff thrown at me, I have been yelled at, I have been buzzed and I have had people tag me with the side mirrors. I see less crap like that when riding in a big bunch.


This is my view - I've introduced a few people to cycling through positive experiences at CM. One of my friends got rid of his car a few weeks ago in favor of a bike.

franx's picture

You're real traffic to you

Not to motorists. They see a lone rider as little more than a fast moving jaywalker. That's my speculation anyway, or at least that's how I feel I am treated when riding solo.

400 cyclists taking control of the road grabs their attention (the good or the bad kind) in a way that one rider or two abreast simply cannot compete with.

TimothyJ's picture

Love this....

Timothy L Hollingworth, website, writes about Critical Mass (also posted on the AJC):

Critical Mass really isn't about cycling and I hope that the general public understands this.

I sure hope that ordinary citizens recognize the difference between a rider on a five thousand dollar carbon frame rolling through a stop sign on the way to work at a law firm in Buckhead and three hundred drug addicted sopo bike communists who want to disrupt society because they think that I somehow don't deserve to drive a nice car and send my kids to private school. The fact some of us have worked 80 hour weeks for 25 years to be able to do so is not relevent to the people who attend CM and and a bunch of kids who won't work hard engough to be able to afford a used Honda trying to make the rest of us feel guilty for driving nice cars is really what critical mass is all about.

Both the rider on the way to work and critical mass blows stop signs. The former is stupid, the latter is an in-your-face protest against what we have built as a society, what we have worked hard for as individuals and our shared lifestye (such as it is). Regular people who pay taxes, schlep to work every day and actually bathe on a regular basis need to recognize why you don't see too many Pinarellos or custom Serottas as CM.

I was mayor I'd order the cops to route the next critical mass ride straight into the Chattahoochie river and then throw in some Dr. Bronners hemp scented soap.

Just one man's opinion.


Funny how a guy with a $5000 dollar bike, oops, frame not bike, send his kids to private schools and works 80 hour weeks needs to use a crappy free website service.....

His blog is pretty hilarious, even forgiving the spelling issues. He doesn't seem to like any cyclists, even though he is one. He doesn't seem to like anybody, for that matter. (BTW- he is not a lawyer, but a network engineer. His name and job are listed on his blog. Proudly.)

Teh Black Hole's picture

All I have to say is... only

All I have to say is... only dentists ride Serottas. BSNYC has taught me this.

That and the guy wears his MCSE like a badge of honor... having an MCSE is tantamount to having herpes.

pwnela's picture

lonely little blog

not a single comment that I could find.

Dfunk's picture

Oh, the inanity!

We could give him some love if we wanted. It's oh so tempting to inform him that his precious European-branded tires are made on the other side of the silk road from the old country. Or maybe we could use his blog as the new "nobody cares" board.

*edit* Oh oh! And not only does he talk so much trash in spite of being unable to change a FRONT derailleur cable, (not to mention not knowing to do it before it snaps..) he takes his hi-dolla machine to PERFORMANCE to get it done! LULZ!!!!!1! This is just comedy gold. Can we nick-name him squidsnobATL?

TimothyJ's picture


He links to an old blog I wrote when Cobb County was trying to ban cyclists at Columns Drive, and has since laid dormant until yesterday- BikeCobb. He calls it an "excellent blog!" Sadly, I can't return the compliment.

Ok, here's the deal on

Ok, here's the deal on "actually bathe on a regular basis", thats overrated, plus we're still in a drought.

Secondly, re:"need to recognize why you don't see too many Pinarellos or custom Serottas as CM".

First off, I've never cared much for any Serotta, so nix that, but he shoots himself in the foot by trying to insult our intelligence/wealth with his comment, cuz everybody knows CM is merely a predicate to drinking, dancing etc. Thus is makes no sense to be riding home at 5am like a drunken madman on your mac-daddy ride. js.

PS. If this guy actually knew the story of how Pinarello got started he'd realize that it was a poor choice, hence an additional irony. viva la maglia negro!!!