Ah, it’s almost the solstice. You know what that means? Of course you do. It means we head back toward the light! Praise the Flying Spaghetti Monster for lassoing its sticky tentacles around the sun and yanking it south. (I’m pretty sure that’s how it works but cosmology has always confounded me.)
To celebrate, Wellington riders are going for a little ride. Meet up with them on Friday at 5:30pm at the Civic Center. Since we pass through the darkest dark this week, consider brightening up the event with more than just your pleasant smile. Lights, glow sticks, torches, lanterns, um… LED displays? computer monitors? klieg lights? Whatever you got! Let’s be seen from the space station! Or at least 100 meters off.
I want to do this:
Busy week though, so no promises.
As you ponder the best way to rig a lighthouse beam on your handlebars, or all of Las Vegas on your rear rack, consider also: how about we try not to divide before we unite? I’ve heard lots of grumbling about Critical Mass over the last few weeks. I understand there’s a history that has raised the hackles of some riders who participated in the past. I’ve heard folks comment that Critical Mass can set the cycling movement back, that it causes aggression in drivers, that it promotes bad behavior. I’ve heard that Frocks on Bikes or just about anything else is a better way to promote cycling and that riders shouldn’t cause disruption in the middle of rush hour traffic. I’ve heard riders complain that they won’t attend because lights and bright clothing are encouraged. I’ve heard riders complain that they won’t attend because it’s inappropriate to challenge traffic on a Friday evening. Well. Yes. Clearly. We riders are a diverse bunch aren’t we? But that’s what’s cool about us. We’re just a cross section of that broader segment known as regular ol’ humans. We just happen to ride bikes.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that social rides, whether they encourage folks to ride in dresses, or to ride naked, or to ride during rush hour, are community builders. That doesn’t mean that building community is easy or automatic or doesn’t draw a little ire. Some people will always prefer an alternative. Some riders may prefer languorous Saturday journeys. Some riders may prefer pub crawls. Someone will always find something that warrants a complaint among the lot but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a shot.
That said, let’s expand our horizons a little, people. Let’s become a bike community. Let’s ride respectfully with one another, whenever we do it, however we do it and regardless of the garb we choose to ride in. And on Friday, let’s meet up at 5:30 and let’s compliment each other on making it out at the start of winter. Let’s appreciate and respect each other and everyone else on the road. We all get to cruise around on this planet (FSM-permitting) and it’s so much easier to share it if we smile and wave, smile and wave and occasionally give a think about walking in someone else’s shoes– clip-on, high-heels or otherwise.
Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Critical Mass, having seen the sea change it helped to bring about in San Francisco, but I’m not an organizer. I will ride in it this Friday and I’m psyched to see everyone out there. And I’ll be smiling and waving and giving respect. I encourage others to do the same.