the last friday of each month, bike riders get together and bike the streets of new york in a critical mass ride.
this friday was a special ride since the republican national convention starts monday. i love riding my bike in the city, but most cars have no idea how to share the road. bike riders have to negotiate pot holes, pedestrians, taxis and bus exhaust. motorists love to honk at a bike riders, forcing them to look back and take their eyes off the road, which is extremely dangerous. and yet bikes are a quiet, eco-friendly, fun way to get around and get some exercise.
it was amazing to bike with such a huge group, with the streets blocked off. there was a sense of unity. no matter what your politics, the feeling of taking over the streets, of making the cars and buses wait while, for once, bikes had the right of way, was so powerful. of course, once the cops started arresting people it kind of put a damper on the evening.
at one point an ambulance came speeding down a side street, siren blaring, while the bikes were headed down 7th avenue. we all stopped, to find that the ambulance stopped when we did. it was a set up. there was no patient in the amubulance. the cops were using it to try and charge the bike riders with blocking emergency vehicles from getting to hospitals. in fact, it was reported on the news that ambulances could not get through because of bikes. but the truth is that it was a setup, and the cops manipulated the bikers, diverting the bike traffic toward the midtown south precinct so that they could jump in and arrest people. i feel bad for the ones who got taken in - out of 5,000, why them? on the other hand, i am so glad i did not get caught.