Come on folks, no planes hit the World Trade Center on 9/11/01.

HomeNews BlogMessage BoardsReal estate listings

Critical Mass Meets
Ice Station Zebra

Tonight's Critical Mass, held within the boundaries of the new Arctic Circle, was memorable. Five hardy (and crazy?) bicyclists meet at the usual spot: Charles and Redwood streets. We typically meet there at 5:30 p.m. on the last Friday of every month. We typically depart at 6:00 p.m.

At least two of us are doing this because Mark C. has already promised to buy the first round of drinks afterwards. (We’ll go to the South Pole for a free beer.) So we bundled up and set out, dodging the snow and ice covering significant parts of the streets. When you ride a bicycle in the cold you can get out of breath and feel very strange inside. The brain shuts down a bit in not altogether good ways. Eventually, though, you recover and often feel very strong for doing it.

As six o'clock is rolling around it is about 17 degrees out with a windchill of about 10 degrees. Riding even short distances is a workout. At CM’s meeting spot there is snow and ice everywhere. We shiver, watch our exhalations meet the cold air and then start the Mass.

It's a low-key ride. We average taking up about 1 1/2 lanes of traffic (i.e., sometimes it is one and other times two). We quickly learn that the seasons have no affect on the SUV drivers. They maniacally ride past us with the same trademark fury and aggression they display in summer. A few car horns are honking but most of the drivers negotiate the delay we're causing them silently (but furiously).

We ride up Charles street and endure the vehicular "criticism" at Saratoga street. We ride up a hill and then down it; taking a right at Center street. From there it is right on St. Paul. On a normal day St. Paul is probably the most dangerous street in North America for bicyclists. Tonight, however, there's very little traffic and surprisingly it poses no real problems.

Left on Pratt street. We ride in the right lane, bemoaning the lack of any bicycle lanes in the section of town that receives the most public subsidy. The Inner Harbor is a Disneyland for only the automobile drivers. The highlight of this stretch is when a couple in a car shouts out “Critical Mass!” approvingly. That’s us! We ride underneath the pedestrian bridge and then spontaneously take up two lanes, enduring much criticism for doing so. Left on President's. Left on Fayette.

On Fayette we start out fairly mellow, single-file on the left side. As we progress we begin taking up two lanes, with very aggressive driving all around. Horns honk. SUVs drive past with homicidal intentions but we determinedly stick to our course. Minutes pass and we have left a war zone. We take a right up Charles street.

At this point I am concentrating on keeping up with the others. I am riding with two full-time commuters with plenty of experience with winter bicycling. (These guys actually seem to PREFER riding in this weather. They climb hills like they're no big deal.) We pass Center street. Take the right fork and go up and past the Washington Monument. Cars are vocal as we circle around Washington's Monument. (The Monument was dedicated in 1815 with a crowd of 25,000 on hand to celebrate--and no drivers. That must have been a great party.)

The most courageous moment comes when we five go up the hill on Charles street just south of Chase street. An aggressive driver maneuvers his car ahead of four riders in the Mass, coming between us and a lone rider in the front. This doesn't faze the guy up front much, though. Without assistance from anyone he deliberately slows the driver down, enduring much verbal hostility in the process. Way to go, Mike.

Down Charles street, left on Mt. Royal. Destination: The Mt. Royal Tavern. The inside is warm, the drinks are cold and the company is enjoyable. Mark gives away very cool T-shirts from Critical Mass in Chicago. Thanks Mark.

This Critical Mass was about the need for some rebellion. We want to live in a city which respects bicyclists as much as the SUV drivers. We’re willing to ride in bitter cold to make that point.

Scott Loughrey

2007 2006 2005
2004 2003 2002
2001 2000 1999
1998 1997 1996

2015 women outlet parkas coats canada goose Celine micro handbags clutch replica discounts best Authentic 2015 bags evelyne hermes shop fake 2015 bags belt outlet online chloe 2015 chloe men belt outlet online Handbags wallet online official store discount celine Handbags phantom best authentic outlet shop celine 2015 chloe handbags belt outlet sale Best online handbags crossbody celine replica discount 2015 canada goose women outlet parkas vests 2015 bags wallet replica sale prada Authentic 2015 handbags clutch celine outlet sale 2015 bags paris outlet online celine 2015 bags handbags outlet sale prada 2015 belt wallet prada outlet store
2015 belt wallet outlet store prada 2015 mulberry uk totes bags replica online Celine purse trapeze wallet outlet online authentic Celine handbags trapeze official real store outlet 2015 bags handbags price replica online celine 2015 belt wallet outlet online louis vuitton 2015 canada goose expedition parka outlet the best 2015 bags wallet chloe outlet replica Authentic 2015 bags clutch yves saint laurent store sale 2015 trillium parka canada goose men cheap Celine women boston wallet outlet online 2015 2015 bags women hermes replica store 2015 boots sandals outlet store christian louboutin 2015 chloe outlet online bags women Celine bag fake online outlet 2015 birkin handbags hermes outlet sale 2015 bags wallet chloe outlet store Authentic 2015 handbags purse chloe replica cheap 2015 christian louboutin replica outlet men heels 2015 bags sunglasses celine replica online Handbags clutch official authentic replica outlet celine