Saturday, September 25, 2010
Los Angeles Critical Mass September 2010
Phew, I was so late to last night's Critical Mass! I had to work late and I wasn't able to bring my folding STRiDA like I was planning. Instead I hopped on my Bottecchia and booked it full throttle along Fountain and down Western up to 38 mph downhill racing to catch the Mass that departed a few minutes ago. As I approached Wilshire, I could see in the distance a helicopter like a wandering star leading me to my destination.
I finally caught up and was one of a group of 2000 bicyclists and dozens of police from across the city riding together in harmony on a warm fall night in Los Angeles with a harvest moon rising slowly in the east. It was a perfect night even if the ride wasn't. It seemed like a different ride, everyone was on their best behaviour, not out of threat of citation, though many cyclists did receive tickets.
Instead, everyone seemed to get the message that this is a ride of peace, harmony and social change. I was so proud to be a cyclist in Los Angeles, riding alongside peace officers who were all in high spirits and clearly noticing a change in the attitude of the ride.
Hopefully, our city's leaders will see the potential that bicycles have to transform bodies, minds and communities for the better. Goals like reducing stress, traffic and pollution are all achievable with small investments in bicycle infrastructure, community outreach and most importantly a shift in the mindset of city leadership.
I'm thinking mostly of LADOT who I hear is newly leaderless. Hopefully, some young, bright woman with a proven track record of transforming city transit systems for the better will be hired! We can dream, can't we?