Friday, September 12, 2008


A spontaneous evening goes awry, leaving skid marks on this cyclist's view of his city. > By Stuart Post

Editor's note: Using a bicycle for transportation on the streets of New York City can be an intimidating, and downright dangerous, endeavor. The Bloomberg administration is working to make the city more bike-friendly – through newly designated bike-only lanes, to cite the most visible example. But how bike-friendly can a city be if its premier grassroots cycling event operates in an atmosphere of police hostility? That's one question that occurred to self-described "accidental anarchist" Stuart Post, a 48-year-old resident of the Gramercy Park area, who joined last month's Critical Mass bike ride.
Begun in San Francisco in 1992, Critical Mass is a deliberately leaderless happening (thus its anarchist cred): a regularly occurring, yet informal, group bike ride. These days it's taking place in hundreds of cities around the globe. It started up in Manhattan in 1993; currently it leaves from Union Square Park at around 7 p.m. on the last Friday of every month, destination unknown. "Because I went on the ride, I was able to get used to riding in traffic," says Barbara Ross, spokeswoman for the bicycling and environmental group Time's Up! Acclimating to city streets is something the administration presumably would support. But, Ross said, "Our feeling is that since 2004 the city has been trying to stop the ride, or at least the NYPD [has]." On Aug. 27, 2004, just days before the last Republican National Convention opened here, the ride took place with thousands of participants – and mass arrests by the police. read more here


Peter said...

Would someone please explain to me the logic behind ticketing a random few as the Critical Mass was nearing an end? - Calling the cops &$#% facists isn't good enough. It's too general and doesn't answer the question. What would they have to gain by ticketing? Revenue for escorting the Critical Mass in the first place? Are they trying to look good to the citizens of NY who don't approve of cycling? What gives?

Bello Velo said...

Take a look at this movie it is about 25 mins and it has 4 parts. It really explains it better than I could.

This has more to do with our right to assemble and the attack on dissent.

Anonymous said...

I watched the videos - thank goodness for YouTube and thanks for providing the link.

This is very distressing. I've never viewed myself as an "anarchist" and never felt that Critical Mass was an anarchist activity. It's frightening that there are officials with power who do feel this way - either because they don't understand or their lack of willingness to understand what it is about.

I suppose there is some comfort that in Huntspatch AL, Critical Mass is not heavy on their radar like it is in NY.