Critical Anti-Mass: Law-Abiding SFBikeParty Launches Despite Cold Snap

Categories: bikes
bikeparty.jpg
Bring warm gloves.
It's chilly outside, but it isn't cold enough to stop San Francisco Bike Party from launching a new monthly ride known as the law-abiding, hard-partying alternative to Critical Mass.

"Bring it on," said Amandeep Jawa, part of a self-described co-op of cyclists behind tonight's ride, which starts at 7:30 p.m. from AT&T Park. "We can handle the cold. Once we're on our bikes and there's music, not much is going to bother us."

This isn't the first law-abiding Critical Mass alternative ride. The website for Critical Manners reports that the group's most recent urban ride took place Sept. 10. But tonight's event will hopefully be bigger and better, since organizers have created party stops with DJs along the way.

"I have a small trailer with a couple of speakers on it, hooked up to my iPod," said Dan Goldwater, an Emeryville electronics inventor who participates in a similar monthly ride where cyclists traverse the streets of Oakland and Berkeley.

Organizers hope Friday's event will become just as popular as The Bike Party ride in San Jose, which attracts 1,000 cyclists monthly.

Goldwater, who is also helping organize tonight's ride, said he's not worried Friday's cold snap will be a turn off to bikers who are planning to take part in the inaugural ride.

"It could have been a rain snap," he said. 

Both organizers emphasize that Friday's event is not just another version of Critical Mass, the monthly ride where bikers pride themselves on flouting traffic laws, just to make their point: They are anti-motorist.

They want riders to know that it is still possible to have fun in this urban mass-bike-ride without confronting motorists, Goldwater said.

"When we talk to people on Oakland and San Jose rides they say, 'Last month, when you rode by my house, it looked like so much fun. I hadn't ridden my bike for five years, and you inspired me to get back on my bike," Goldwater said. "We make an effort not to disrupt traffic, because, obviously, if you're intentionally creating traffic disruption, that is not fun for everybody."



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14 comments
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Jym Dyer
Jym Dyer

=v= It is irresponsible, inaccurate, and inflammatory to say that Critical Mass is "anti-motorist." Journalism this most definitely is not.

There is no beef between Bike Party and Critical Mass. The only beef is between your writer's ears.

Joel Pomerantz
Joel Pomerantz

I'm pretty sure that I used to know more than half the bicyclists in SF, a couple decades ago. Now I can't keep track of half of the bike-related events and organizations. This amazing growth of bike stuff means that "alternatives" and bikes in particular are on the rise, and none too soon. Those of you still clinging to your dinosaur car culture will fade eventually. Let's just hope that you don't fade out the rest of the living things with you.

Anti-Mass
Anti-Mass

Never let it be said that there is no proof of the pompous narcissism of Mass riding cyclists.

Joel Pomerantz
Joel Pomerantz

Yes, I suppose it is a bit narcissistic to celebrate survival. And perhaps it's pompous to thumb my nose at people who simply wish not to celebrate. Apologies. Care to also offer a diagnosis for the craving involved in anonymously dissing well-meaning pompous narcissists?

Anti-Mass
Anti-Mass

Cheers! We need more positive press for the legal rides. Critical Mass hasn't accomplished a damn thing by pissing off police and motorists despite their claims. Maybe a peaceful and law abiding approach can put cyclists in a better light. If people see that cyclists are respectful decent people instead of angst-ridden, anti-car, anarchists… maybe motorists will start to respect cyclists and be more willing to share the road. Who knows? A large mass of respectful and law abiding cyclists just might make a point to the city. It certainly hasn’t been tried yet.

 Dan Smith
Dan Smith

Matt Smith gets paid to write mean stuff about Critical Mass----nuff said!

Dan Smith
Dan Smith

Matt Smith gets paid to write mean things about Critical Mass---nuff said!

Anti-Mass
Anti-Mass

Do you have an address where I can send money? :)

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

Yes, following the American tradition of growing and evolving BikeParty is an interesting expansion of what already exists. It isn't for or against Critical Mass. It is simply an interesting addition to it. You will find that lots of people will do both, and lots will do just one or the other. Either way, more opportunity for people to be on their bikes and create social change at the same time.

Dan Hughes
Dan Hughes

What is the difference between this and Critical Mass? It's a bunch of white hipsters riding their fixies around town together, pretending to be cool blasting some gawdawful Journey tracks on their stupid little sound systems. As if the rest of us didn't have better things to do than wait in traffic for your "party" to pass.

As far as I'm concerned, this is just another Critical Mass -- only now it's the first Friday AND the last Friday. What a drag.

calitexican
calitexican

i'm not white. and i'm not a hipster. BIKEPARTY!

Deep
Deep

Matt -

Thanks for the story - but I'm afraid you're creating conflict when there isn't one.

I want to make it clear that the SF Bike Party is NOT Anti-Critical Mass or anti-anything. Many of us appreciate (& participate in) Critical Mass for really pushing the vision for a world not dependent on cars and the many problems they exacerbate (from environmental to social).

So SF Bike Party is DEFINITELY not an alternative to Critical Mass in our eyes - it is just a different ride altogether. There is room in a great biking town for many different mass rides with many different approaches - SF Bike Party is just one!

I wish I knew this was the angle you were taking when you interviewed me.

'deep

Voice OfReason
Voice OfReason

Now this is a great idea as opposed to Critical Mass' BS. POSITIVE for bike riders...and POSITIVE for motorists. Critical Mass accomplished nothing but making more enemies of motorists with their traffic disrupting BS.

BikingBliss
BikingBliss

Dear Voice of Reason, your belief is typical of someone who has never ridden on CM. CM has done a LOT of good for our bike community. I'm not disagreeing that there are things about CM that could be more positive but in general it is not a lot different from SFBP. As you pointed out, CM pisses off motorists and disrupts traffic. I'd have to argue that especially with the number of cyclists attending the 1st SFBP—SFBP also pissed off some motorists and disrupted traffic. For your awareness, in recent years, CM has become a lot friendlier. CM starts later now and from my experience, doesn't try to intentionally screw up traffic. At the beginning of the ride, we stop for lights and use only 1 side of the road. There are fewer altercations and in general the crowd is friendlier and more respectful. Unfortunately, CM seems to attract a segment of the population who like to cause trouble. So goes the saying, there's a bad egg in every bunch. But please keep in mind and don't negate how CM has benefitted our biking community—if only to remind motorists how many cyclists there are once a month on the last Friday of every month. If you only consider that, then CM has done its job 100%. I suggest you try it before you knock it. Go w/ a positive attitude and then make your mind up about it. Ignorance is just ignorant.

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