Sunday, May 10, 2009

Critical Mass event this Friday

The cover for Critical Mass: Bicycling's Defiant Celebration. Image found here.

Via an e-mail from District 6 City Council Member Janet Miller comes new-to-me word that, as of May 7th, Wichita now has a Critical Mass group, with a MySpace page (EDIT: and a website) and everything.

Here's their announcement:
Come join us May 15th for a massive street ride through downtown at 5pm - The Donut Whole 1720 E. Douglas! Mood: rockin'
To be very honest, I have mixed emotions about Critical Mass events. On the one hand, raising community awareness about cycling and the benefits that constructing bike-friendly infrastructure is clearly a good, especially in Wichita, where, as I've noted recently, interest in bike-commuting seems to be on the rise this spring. It's also good, even if it's only a coincidence, that the 15th is National Bike-to-Work Day; the two events, assuming decent levels of participation at each, will serve to reinforce each other. On the other hand . . . .

I'll be wrapping up Finals Week on Friday, so I won't be able to attend Critical Mass. I hope it goes well, though and, assuming it does go well and as I receive news of upcoming rides, I'll be happy to announce them here.


Anonymous said...

5pm? Don't these people have jobs?
I too have mixed feelings about this.
I don't agree with the disrupting of traffic and harassing of motorists. Not a good way to win people over.

John B. said...

We'll see how it goes. I want to remain positive about it. But while this blog's purpose is clearly to serve as an advocate for cycling here, I'll not hesitate to be critical of those whose arguments or actions are damaging to creating a more positive atmosphere for cyclists.

As for the time, I don't know what to tell you about that. I hope, though, that a) turn-out is decent; and b) that there not be trouble.

coppercorn said...

Wow, that's a kind of nasty comment, anon. I do have a full-time job but I get off at 4. But I won't be attending the C.M.

My problem with Critical Mass is not so much the disrupting traffic (boo hoo hoo, crybaby motorists, every crash you cause disrupts traffic way more) but that the yahoos participating are generally just interested in stirring up trouble, not in actually, you know, RIDING THIER BIKES FOR TRANSPORTATION.

Because of this, several cities have started groups called "Courteous Mass" instead.

Anonymous said...

As one that is helping to make the mass ride happen friday, i just want to say a few things. We have no intention of pissing anyone off, fellow cyclists or motorists. With the event not to have even occurred yet i am very excited that so many people have been talking about it. This alone is a positive thing. No one knows what friday night will bring but it is a start. My hopes for this ride is to bring people together and encourage more to bike this fair city of ours.

John B. said...

Thanks for coming by and commenting. I indeed hope lots of folks show up on Friday and that what happens will positively promote cycling in the city. My only concern is that the actions of some on one night a month could make things more difficult for those of us who cycle on the streets every day to work, to shop, etc.

Anonymous said...

Here here to John. If they aren't going to act like a Critical Mass Ride, then why call it a Critical Mass Ride. Maybe using a different name would be more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

OK I may be wrong in assuming most people work till 5:00p but if I'm not... was that time chosen because it's likely the busiest motor vehicle traffic of the day?

Another way to show support for cycling in Wichita would be to attend the ribbon cuttings of the new bike paths that are built. Seems there are mostly politicians and the contractors who attend these. Very few cyclists.

Anonymous said...

Cyclealltheway here!
I am very involved in the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, a group of downtown stakeholders working to improve downtown and an avid cyclist. A group has approached me about a rails to trail project that would connect WSU Downtown & Friends. So stay in touch and lets see what happens> Curious how many riders did you have Friday? due to riverfest I wonder if that hurt or help your numbers.

John B. said...


Thanks for dropping by and for that wonderful news. Apparently, you're new to this blog, or else yo0u would know that I'm constantly ranting about the need for an east-west route (or two) that passes through the urban core, and such a route would definitely do the job. Let's see what happens, indeed.

As for how Critical Mass went, I haven't heard or read anything, not even at the organizers' website or MySpace page. Does anyone else know?

Karen in Wichita said...

Just got off the phone with Lee from the Delano Neighborhood association, and she says the DNA meeting tonight (yeah, I wish I'd had more notice) will have two speakers other than the librarian, one of whom is someone from Planning.

As Lee understands it, it's going to be more of a Q&A session than a presentation, and the two hot topics are the Streetscape and "If Delano's little bike path is so trivial, why don't you just finish it so we'll quit pestering, or if the problem is that it's too little to be useful, what does it take to get it extended into something better connected?"

It would probably be useful to have someone(s) with better practical knowledge than mine of the overall system there... 7pm tonight, West Side Christian. Lee's fired up, but when you're 80-something it's hard to convince someone you have a practical need for a bike path.

Anonymous said...

Im new to this blog as well.

Regarding the Wichita Critical Mass event on 05/15/09, it went great. There was a good 40 riders at least.

The one on 05/29/09 had an increase of 15 or more riders.

I think anyone who is a cycling enthusiast should check it out at least once.

John B. said...

Most-recent-Anon., thanks for coming by and commenting. I've been checking both the website and the Myspace page, and there's been no information about how things have been going. But, given the rather spontaneous nature of Critical Mass, a lack of updates isn't so surprising.

Unfortunately, it appears I'll be unable to make the next two rides, but I genuinely want to see what it's like. I want to support and help promote anything that positively raises cycling's profile in the city.