UPDATE: Our friends at SF Appeal did the responsible thing and picked up a phone, and here’s their report. Thanks for the link, SFA!
Since it’s the last Friday of the month, that means your commute home, be it by bus, car or bike, will be interrupted by “Critical Mass,” San Francisco’s taxpayer-subsidized, police-escorted party time for the cool kids with their fixies and assorted cool looking bikes. What’s interesting is that unlike in the past, they’ve published their entire route on flyers at a website. This is strange because the claim has been that “no one” organized Critical Mass, that’s a spontaneous thing, blah blah blah.
Strangely enough, on their own website and flyers, they not only give out the route (which is nice in that you can avoid this temper tantrum in advance), but they also tell people that “wood and beer (are) welcome.” Wait, what?
A quick review of the rules at Ocean Beach clearly state that alcohol is forbidden, and that permits are required in advance for a group of 50 or more (and it’s clear there’s going to be more than 50 people participating in the ride.) So the question is this – will the sheer mass of people participating allow them to break the rules everyone else has to follow?
I know of many people who’ve been cited at the beach for having 1 beer because they weren’t aware that it was against the rules, or figured that having one single beer wouldn’t rise to the level of public menace. So what happens now when a mass of cyclists with their PBR and Fat Tire Amber Ale 12 packs show up? Do they get a pass “just because” or what?
I don’t like seeing our city get over-regulated, but at the same time, whatever political or revolutionary message Critical Mass had is long dead. It’s so well planned, and accommodated by the City (no payments for police protection or requirement of permits), it’s no longer a daring move to be a part of like it might have been in the 1990s and they bully about others with their smug attitude sheerly with the force of numbers. Meanwhile if you’re on a crowded sidewalk and one of these Earth Saviors comes blasting through on their bike, they just flip you off as you say “hey, don’t run over people on the sidewalk.” Classy.
Critical Mass more akin to those Civil War re-enactments where people dress up in costumes and go through the motions, doing the same thing over and over again. It makes the people who do it feel great, but has no effect on the outside world or on “changing the planet.” And all the while our alleged “moderate Mayor” Gavin Newsom allows it to happen, all the while cutting Muni service (something which we really need) over and over again.
For now, if you’re stuck somewhere while Critical Mass tells you how to live your life with that sanctimonious tone bicyclists seem to enjoy, check out this video from Californication, where Hank has an encounter with a bicyclist (complete with “Arrogant Bastard Ale” jersey!) and responds in a way only Hank can pull off.