[*BCM*] Thoughts on last night's ride
Thomas John Vitolo
tjvitolo at bu.edu
Sat Jul 1 07:22:58 EDT 2006
Good folks of CM:
I enjoyed the ride very much last night, although I had to leave a bit early
(when we crossed the Mass Ave/Harvard/Smoots Bridge back into Boston at around
8ish). The weather was beautiful, the people were fun, and the roads were
car-free for a small sliver.
I do have a few observations, comments, and the like, so I hope you'll bear with
me. Also remember that these are how I percieved things -- maybe it's how it
went down, maybe not.
1. There's a guy who's "willing" to get hit by cars. From what I saw, he saw
that a driver was getting agitated and harassing a few cyclists near the back of
the mass, and he shot across the street (from right to left) and intentionally
put himself in a postition to get hit. Sure enough, he did get hit, and ended
up on the road. I don't think this was the first time he's done this. This
particular incident happened near Soldiers Field Road on/near Cambridge Street,
just south of Harvard Stadium (IIRC).
If you are this dude, or if you know this dude: KNOCK IT OFF. We like you, and
we want you to stay in one piece. I could give two flying fucks about the car
-- it's an inanimate object. I don't really even care about the potential
damage to your bike. What I care about is your bod. You're going to get hurt,
and you're one of the good guys. It's just not worth it, to you or to the rest
of us. I understand that part of it might be a bit of street theatre/stunt, but
the net result is
* You might get seriously hurt.
* You are sending the message that the CMers don't care about their own
physical well being.
* That if a car hits a biker at low speeds, the biker will be just fine. After
all, you spring right up off that pavement as if you were a two year old who
fell on his bum learning to walk.
So, there's no leader and no organization, and nobody can stop you from behaving
like this. All we can do is ask, and I (we!) ask because we care about you and
value your particpation in the ride.
2. I handed out about half of the CM booklets that Adam had given to me earlier
in the day. They are from Chicago CM, circa 2004. They feature some
interesting articles, safety and repair tips, facts and figures, and the like.
The second R is Reuse, and so I'm hoping to hand these out. If you got one, I
encourage you to read it and then pass it along to another. I'll be handing out
more on the next CM.
3. Adam also hooked me up with some absolutely beautiful posters celebrating 10
years of CM in San Francisco. I would love to get these to you folks, but they
were too big to take on the ride and too lovely to risk damaging. So, here's
the deal: I live and work near Kenmore Square. I've got the posters. Email
**me** (not the CM list please) and let me know that you'd like one. We'll work
out a time for you to drop by. I recommend bringing a poster tube; some of
these puppies are pretty big. They are all fantastic; I plan on framing the
poster I'm keeping.
4. There were a few run-ins with the police, in Cambridge. As an inexperienced
CM'er, I don't know the best way to deal with them. I'd really appreciate it if
we could have a chat about how to handle "discussions" with police during the
ride in different situations. Some folks on the ride handled them quite
elegantly -- no raising of voices, no tickets, no arrests, safety was
maintained, and the Mass wasn't compramised. Maybe it's natural for some, maybe
it's experience. I hope that they will share their wisdom with the rest of us;
I think it will help those who don't ride CM as often to navigate intervention
by police safely, elegantly, peacefully, and without arrest or ticket.
Many thanks, and sorry for the long text.
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