cirtical mass this was the 10th anniversary of the founding and as I rode it brought up the usual mixed emotions.
the bad ones are always the same: guilt and fear. guilt at slowing people up, giving people a worse day stuck their in their car unable to move. or stuck on a MUNI bus, or unable to cross the street. fear that someone is just going to drive through the crowd, or the police will start wielding truncheons. there are plenty of asshole bikers as well as drivers and of course tensions flaired, the cops took some people down, some near fights broke out at intersections. A guy leaning out of his big fat suburban yelling "you're all bitches." an angry taxi driver losing fare. A driver being held back, so so so angry. Bikers standing off with cops, daring them in a way. Fewer fights than you might expect though.
Many drivers just battened down the hatches and sighed. Many beeped in support and waited it out. 3-5000 people, stretching 40 blocks of the city at one point! It was too big -- spent some time walking my bike.
The good emotions too are always the same, jubilation at being out on the street, some tourists stunned and happily overwhelmed, wild cheering from some people, restaurant patrons and staff pouring onto the street and cheering us on. Last night, two african american women singing a hearty happy birthday song, waving their arms.
We, me and a friend, passed out $30 of candy to bikers, drivers, pedestrians and MUNI drivers, a couple cops.
We ended up at Dolores park, spilling out onto the street, extending the car free day to the mission, milling about on the street. Riot police came, as a bluff I think, to scare people out of the intersection, but they were bicycle belled down, and walked off.
A pleasant evening mostly.
The article in the chronicle the next day was generally negative. Didn't interview any muni passengers, or drivers, only angst ridden drivers.
Generally I'd have to say, that traffic is caused by Critical Mass 12 days a year. The rest of the times its cars. The reason we get so much negative press is that we're the outsiders, and an easy target ( they don't drive so they must not be american ).
So I will continue to do critical mass, but try to do more to help pedestrians cross, and to give out stuff. I do hate unhappy people unfortunately.
Alas, as my friends says "I fear that there is very few pure things in this life"
A letter writer in the paper complained about bicyclists poor street etiquette. He or she must not notice the cars double parked, running red lights, parked in side walks, blocking pedestrian crossing, or the huge numbers of jaywalkers.