25 September 2009

Campus Cycle Culture


We went over to the UPS campus to kick around the soccer ball last night. The girls asked to stop so they could catch part of the co-ed game. Many of the players cycled to the match, which reminded me of this scene from our Cambridge, UK, vacation last October.

While we were running around on our own pitch, a cyclist pulled up to the Madsen and dropped a leaflet in the bucket.





My first thought was: who paid to print this? They make it sound like a fun time, though the part about freedom from speeding cars seems far-fetched. One of these days I'm going to participate in a Critical Mass ride, just like I rode the STP once.

I'm more of a "ride everywhere and as often as you can, ride like you drive when it comes to rules of the road" type of rider, and I think that generally helps advocate the "share the road" principal better than a blob of bikes clogging the streets. I'm using the new bike lane on N 21st St, even though it still hasn't been striped. We've put over 60 miles on just our MADSEN bike so far this month, and that's all in a 2-mile radius from my house. I figure that kind of frequency will help drivers in my college campus neighborhood become more aware of bikes on the road, helping to increase safety for everyone.

If you're heading out on that ride tonight, don't forget your helmet!

4 comments:

melanie said...

I second that emotion even though I *love* that flyer design. To me the best kind of critical mass is when you have a few cyclists along a stretch of road going about their errands obeying traffic laws. That has more effective symbolic power than a big pack of cyclists pissing people off. Sharing the road is a two way street.

Nick said...

I agree. I think when it comes down to it, these folks just really think a critical mass is cool and they're chasing that feeling. If you want to make a real impact, ride your bike everywhere. I've read some stuff these guys have posted, and they don't seem to really have clue about using a bicycle as a vehicle in Tacoma. Tacoma is just fine for bicycles and it's even getting better. There's need to get all self-righteous, play the victim, and get all "WTO" just to feel cool

sara said...

I, like Melanie, really like the graphic on this CM flyer even though I am not particularly interested in joining in the one in my city. I am struggling a bit on the bike advocacy front. I tend to be a join-er and believe passionately in things. However, there is a part of me that thinks-- I just like riding my bike and I just want to be able to ride it to work and the store, etc. Showing a few folks around us that we can leave the car parked and get most places by bike with three young kids-- that's all I have the energy for these days...

DJStroky said...

I've rode CM a bunch of times in Seattle and Tacoma and I have to say there are good and bad merits to the ride. I'll definitely agree that it is morally and lawfully wrong to parade en masse through red lights, go on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, etc...

However on the other hand, this ride generates more attention than any bicycle advocacy organizations do or from any babbling at public meetings has done, from my perception of things.

And on a final note, the most interesting part about this ride is that it creates only tiny amounts of congestion greater than what drivers normally experience during rush hour. Even in Seattle where upwards of 500 riders will travel about, traffic always has gone back to normal immediately after the ride has passed (5 minutes after if mass had just rode a few miles on the viaduct). It is great in my opinion to have this ride shake up society's impression that roads are only for cars.