Bike Party! - Page 3

San Francisco's newest group ride marks a less confrontational, more booty-shaking phase in the city's bike movement

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Put your hands up San Francisco: SF Bike Partiers get down on a dance break at the Palace of Fine Arts.
PHOTO BY SAM DOSICK

But here's no doubt that the two rides were created at very different moments in San Francisco bike culture. "To ride through San Francisco in the early '90s was to take your life into your hands and be subject to harassment," he said. "Bicycling was not a mainstream transportation option."

Today, thanks to decades of Critical Mass Rides and concerted political advocacy work by people like Fraser and Jawa — both longtime board members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition — the city now offers an extensive bike lane network, near universal political support for bicycling, and packs of bicyclists on the road offering the safety of numbers.

"You wouldn't have this critical mass without the earnest approach of the Bike Coalition. But then, when all these people are out there cycling, it creates opportunities for things like the Bike Party," Jawa said. "There are just so many of us now, and so much joy around it, that people automatically get excited."

The sophistication of Bike Party's route planning and event management is another difference between the two rides. D'Andrade remembers the April 1 ride (themed "Robots and Cyborgs") when the group stopped at Children's Playground in Golden Gate Park, and caught in a moment of glee, swarmed the play structures en masse.

It was fun, but to D'Andrade, it just didn't feel quite as organic or spontaneous as the best moments of Critical Mass. As he said, "That kind of thing happens at Critical Mass, but here you know it was planned."

Luckily, there's no need to roll your wheels just one way. With the SF Bike Party on the first Friday of every month and Critical Mass on the last Friday, San Francisco bike culture has more than enough room for both events — and then some. 

Comments

We here at the SF Weekly Chronicle are thrilled that the Guardian has joined us in taking gratuitous swipes at Critical Mass when writing about Bike Party, since the folks at Bike Party aren't doing it. And just in time for Bike To Work Day, too! Thanks for helping us prop up our narrative.

Posted by Matier & Smith on May. 11, 2011 @ 6:32 am

get outta here! no one at the Guardian is "taking gratuitous swipes at Critical Mass", and especially not in this article! This writer is simply speaking factually of CM, not negatively. I would be shocked if you really understood the underlying meaning/importance of critical mass and still had the audacity to knock it.

Posted by not quite, weekly on May. 11, 2011 @ 9:34 am

Happy to see this positive press on SF bike culture or whatever one calls it. Shout out to SFBC, CM, RTB, and other groups and rides doing great things for bicycling around the Bay Area.

For the record, in case there's any confusion, SFBP doesn't oppose SFCM.

Also, SFBP isn't a "chapter" of SJ. They're separate groups, organized by different people. There's no SJ hub members on the SF hub or centralized planning between the BPs. There is a great deal of camaraderie and cross pollination of riders and ideas. However, primarily SFBP is by design and necessity as unique in how it rides and the routes it takes as SF's unique culture, infrastructure, and topography.

SFBP does have volunteers, stop at lights, and have planned routes, which shapes the overall ride experience. Those are the main distinctions with CM, and similarities with other BP. However, music, art and partying on bikes and using public spaces goes back to the 90's and earlier, so this is a new variation on an old theme.

Comparing different rides is a bit like comparing different types of bikes by different makers. It's "Different Spokes for Different Folks." The ideal number of bikes is "current number + 1" and maybe the same can be said about bikers and rides.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

Read the article, willya? It was written to celebrate the fact that SF is at a moment when we can have two mass rides that mean different things (sometimes), but are both serving the same end: bike visibility, bike fun, bike community. At its most simple level, it means there's more bikers out there. Fractious insults (though I do have to give you props for creativity) = unnecessary.

And dang, if you think "causing confrontations" is an insult at the Guardian, you probably haven't been reading our paper very long.

Posted by caitlin on May. 11, 2011 @ 7:56 am

would be nice if you'd linked to this discussion of the relationship between the two rides and the larger political issues... http://www.sfcriticalmass.org/2011/01/29/protest-or-celebration-or-somet...
thanks!
--cc

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2011 @ 8:32 am

This is the web version of a print article (a media that links don't work that well with). But thanks for contributing it -- its notes on the significance of CM are really pertinent to its role in the SF bike movement.

Posted by caitlin on May. 11, 2011 @ 9:15 am
Posted by A on May. 11, 2011 @ 10:30 am

AVANTE ALCALDE AVALOS !!!

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on May. 11, 2011 @ 9:57 am

Evidently Hugh D'Andrade is a pre-Mass cyclist as am I. However, I must challenge his statement "To ride through San Francisco in the early '90s was to take your life into your hands and be subject to harassment. Bicycling was not a mainstream transportation option."

I think Mass and the SFBC politicized cycling that induced harassment because I don't recall confrontations or reports thereof with vehicles during the pre-Mass era in San Francisco. If Mass never materialized, I think the SFBC would have been a better-respected organization and would have been much more progressive to accommodate the increasing number of cyclists.

Mass was/is a parasite to the SFBC as it seems the SFBC cannot and does not disassociate itself with Mass. Bicycle critics often equate riders with Mass and that's real tough for bicyclists and the SFBC to make strides in the community. And that's not even including Rob Anderson in the equation who single-handedly robbed the SFBC of three years of progress.

Overall, the pre-politics days of cycling were more enjoyable, irrespective of the lack of bicycle lanes and shallows. Cyclists and autos truly shared the road because we were forced to and the California Vehicle Code mandated that we legally do that. Mass ruined cycling and we'll never know how much more effective the SFBC would be sans Mass.

Posted by eezz-rider on May. 11, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

Bzzzt to "mass mess". Check in with this article and get back to us.

http://www.sfcriticalmass.org/2010/05/25/is-critical-mass-bad-or-good/

Posted by TVK on May. 11, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

Happy to see this positive press on SF bike culture or whatever one calls it. Shout out to SFBC, CM, RTB, and other groups and rides doing great things for bicycling around the Bay Area.

For the record, in case there's any confusion, SFBP doesn't oppose SFCM.

Also, SFBP isn't a "chapter" of SJBP. They're separate groups, run by different people. There's no SJ hub members on the SF hub or centralized planning between the BPs. There is a great deal of camaraderie and cross pollination of riders and ideas. SFBP is by design and necessity as unique in how it rides and the routes it takes as SF's unique culture, infrastructure, and topography.

SFBP does have volunteers, stop at lights, and have planned routes, which shapes the overall ride experience. Those are the main distinctions with CM, and similarities with other BP. However, music, art and partying on bikes and using public spaces goes back to the 90's and earlier, so this is a new variation on an old theme.

Comparing different rides is a bit like comparing different types of bikes by different makers. It's "Different Spokes for Different Folks." The ideal number of bikes is "current number + 1" and maybe the same can be said about bikers and rides.

Posted by ~NA on May. 11, 2011 @ 1:21 pm
Posted by Guest Carina on Jul. 23, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

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