Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

I Fought the Law and… Got More Laws

I left my windowless hermit lair this morning before dawn, heading to the cycling training cave to put in the hours that will hopefully manifest themselves later in the season in good performance, or, failing that, at least reduced fatness.

My brain, acting for all the world like an uncaring hunk of cheese, refused to climb into any sort of altitude of rational thought, and when the exercise started it sank even deeper, as is often the case.

But slowly, after my workout, once I jolted it awake with some fruit, a bagel, some hot coffee and loud southern rock, it began to consider a few things.

Firstly, as I posted yesterday, I have some dim views on the practices of some of my fellow cyclists, though I embrace them as brothers personally, and, it must be said, awkwardly.

Secondly, the band Blackberry Smoke is awesome and I enjoy their music even more the louder I turn it up.

Third, and most importantly, our local Atlanta Critical Mass is an event that I have enjoyed immensely on more than one occasion — even taking a date on it once — but I fear that ultimately it will do detriment to the very thing it claims to advocate. I’m concerned that the actions of a few well-meaning but thoughtless hipsters will ultimately make life worse for cyclists who aren’t wearing white belts or riding camo-colored Aerospokes.

This very thing happened in New York City recently, as BikeSnobNYC pointed out, and the events of our local Mass last Friday indicate to me that we may be heading in the same direction.

To sum up the video of last Friday’s incident, cyclists were blocking an intersection so that everyone could ride through in a big lump, or “mass”, ignoring all traffic laws in the process. This enraged a gentleman in a black SUV, who got out of his truck and berated everyone after threatening to run them over and even slightly contacted one cyclist.

It does not appear that anyone was injured, thankfully, and the gentleman was wrong to threaten, let alone actually hit someone with his car, but outside of that, most of what he was saying is right. Bikes, when on the road, are vehicles, and should act accordingly.

Sorry guys, it’s the truth. I know you are connected to the zen experience of riding your uncomfortable track bike without a helmet and imagining yourself doing barspins while cute girls with weird hair look on, and I support that cycling ideal. I am imagining myself doing nearly the same thing, only with me it’s the podium at the Tour de France and the girls are closer to my age and have less tattoos.

It must be said, there is almost nothing more incredible than riding down the city’s streets with a few hundred other cyclists when the weather is nice. Cruising along at a parade pace with no reason to hammer or stay on the leader’s wheel, I have enjoyed more than one Mass very much. But it’s just not legal to block up the city’s streets without a parade permit or run red lights, and sooner or later The Man is going to get wise and do some legislating.

You don’t see gun advocacy groups getting together and blasting off rounds in Piedmont Park, do you? They’d probably love to, but they know it’s illegal and that they’d ultimately be doing damage to their cause.

Hell, I’d love to get together on a Friday and fire off a fully auto AK-47 while riding my bike around the park with cute girls and their weird hairdos looking on, just to combine a few awesome activities, but I don’t think I’m going to get a chance.

It’s also illegal for car enthusiasts to ignore traffic laws and speed limits in the wee hours of the morning, even if they are possessed at the time by very, very loud southern rock music. Or at least, so I am informed by the local constabulary. Who knew?

What I’m saying is, let’s all just ride safe and smart and keep from getting hurt, and maybe try not to piss off the cops. The law is, by definition, on their side.

One thought on “I Fought the Law and… Got More Laws”

  1. abby

    The one time I rode a critical mass, we made it 6 blocks down Peachtree before we reached a cop at a red light telling me to stop, direct opposite of the directions everyone behind me was yelling. Fully wimpy and deferential when it comes to law enforcement, I almost caused a pileup by my indecisiveness (I slowed down enough to really inconvenience the people behind me, then rode by the cop with an apologetic look on my face). Between that and the fact that Stephan was dressed as a table and couldn’t see to the side of or behind himself, we all peeled off and went for some pizza and beer.