|Next Regularly Scheduled Ride|
|Friday, October 31, 2008|
|6:00PM at the Liberty Pole or 5:30PM at the University of Rochester Dandelion Square (clock tower) when classes are in session|
Critical Mass is a group bicycle ride which takes place at regular intervals (usually on a monthly basis) whose purpose is to "celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists' right to the road." Although it is a nationwide movement, there is no centralized organizational structure, and there are no official leaders. The CM group in Rochester has been in existence since 1998.
The CM website describes the concept thusly:
Critical Mass is a monthly bicycle ride to celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists' right to the road. The idea started in San Francisco in September 1992 and quickly spread to cities all over the world. Critical Mass has no leaders, and no central organization licenses rides. In every city that has a CM ride, some locals simply picked a date, time, and location for the ride and publicized it, and thus the ride was born. CM is an idea and an event, not an organization.
Critical Mass originated in San Francisco in September of 1992. It spread to Rochester in 1998 when University of Rochester graduate student Mark Anderson began organizing rides originating in River Campus. Rides grew to about 50 cyclists by summer 1999, but many first-time riders expressed dissatisfaction and felt turned off by illegal riding and the hostility toward cars and never returned. By winter 2001 the rides had fallen apart, and occasional riders would send mail asking where everyone was. Mark finished his doctorate in May 2002 and departed to teach in Geneva NY.
Tobin Fricke arrived fall 2004 as a graduate student in physics, and shortly with Robert Polyn and others co-founded RocWiki and Ant Hill Cooperative, and along with Andrew Hall of Cooperative EcoHouse revived Critical Mass in Rochester. He penned this contemporaneous post.
To plan critical mass rides in Rochester or to find out when the next ride is happening, sign up for the Rochester Critical Mass mailing list or send an e-mail to [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Critical mass rides occur on the last Friday of the month. The ride departs from the Wilson Commons clocktower on the UR campus at 5:30pm and from the Liberty Pole (downtown) at 6:00pm, as agreed on the April 2006 ride. There have been rumors of making the ride once a week, rather than once a month, as Rochester has weekly rides three other nights of the week.
Rochester Critical Mass MySpace page: http://myspace.com/rochestercriticalmass
Photos of Critical Mass worldwide: http://flickr.com/photos/tags/criticalmass/
Want to know more about Critical Mass? Wikipedia has a great article.
Past Rides and Pictures
Syracuse — Critical Mass was organized in Syracuse in September 2005, with a hugely successful inaugural ride on Wednesday, October 5th. See the movies and a picture!
Buffalo — There are Critical Mass rides seemingly every week in Buffalo. Flyers and word-of-mouth have turned these events into usually large gatherings, including an off-shoot group that normally rides in various levels of intoxication at midnight. It is appropriately named "Midnight Mass." Rochester should totally do this.
Bicycle laws, rules, regulations
Sharing the Road — New York State Bicycle and Pedestrian Laws (PDF format)
New York State Code, Title 7, Article 34
Community Bike Alliance
The Community Bike Alliance exists to create community, solidarity, and safety for all on the roads through the use of direct action, education, and legislation, while fostering personal responsibility, growth, and autonomy. The CBA doesn't appear to be meeting right now.
National Critical Mass website