Went to my first Critical Mass bike ride last Friday night! It was so awesome pulling up to the meeting point by the Wiltern and seeing a sea of mufuking cyclists representin! It must have been like 350 people or more! We all pulled out to ride around 7:45 and more cyclists than I’ve ever seen in one spot just clogged the roadways. I’m so used to riding alone or with a few people that this rolling mass was awesome. When it started out it seemed a few of the cyclists where hazing car drivers for driving because the streets were pretty congested. It was only a Friday night ya know….not many people out right ; )
So the ride went on for a few…and we seemed to stop at a nearby 7-11 pretty quick…we took up the whole parking lot easily. People hung out drank, smoked and listened to music blasting from a cyclist who was toting a large sound system, like the one a suburban father totes around his baby in…only this was a big ole sound system with big ole speakers (no kid). It was so killer riding and hearing blasting rock coming from the speakers. I never ride with headphones because I think it distracts/cuts you off too much from the outside world to ride consciously. Though hearing blasting music from 100 feet away was sooo nice! Got me all pumped up!
This event felt like it was more than just a bike ride….everyone there really seemed to be down with bike culture and recognizing how biking really has so many positive benefits on our culture. Especially in car obsessed LA where people drive to there next door neighbors house! I’ve done it, my friends have done it and I am now starting to realize that we can make a difference and try in our own little ways to do something positive. I’ve always loved bikes anyways and now I realize the impact that our over indulgent/ mass consumption ways are really detrimental to the future of our planet…yeah our culture doesn’t have a problem with obesity, or dirty air or congestion on our roadways especially in LA. Shit we have the worst freeways in the nation. It takes me 20 minutes going fast with no traffic in my car to get home…and lord knows I’ve spent close to 45 minutes-hour on my 11 mile commute home more than a few times.
So gas is now climbing to $5 dollars a gallon $6 dollars/gall and people are complaining/bitching/whining..(my kids need to eat, I can’t buy that new dress or power tool now)…what are we gonna do? We’re gonna pay whatever “they” set the fucking price at because we ALL drive cars and our cars only run on GASOLINE! Its not like we can make gas from scratch in our backyards. We are POWERLESS and when gas was more reasonably priced this didn’t matter but now its becoming a harsh reality for everyone. Gas prices are NOT going to go down no matter how much we complain and send emails around about boycotting gas stations on this day or that day..come on! Take a look at where our only options are to get gas..its not the mom and pop shop its the Mobil, 76, Chevron..no those aren’t big oil companies at all. They don’t have us by the nuts at all! I remember in the 70’s being in my moms car only going to the gas station on certain days of the week…long lines, major gas shortages. Prices might go down 25 cents or 50 cents here and there but they always climb back up. As time goes on does anything in our culture get cheaper!?!? When we look at other countries gas prices at $9 dollars…that seems amazing too…but one good thing about high gas prices is it will force us to find ALTERNATE/BETTER means of transportation…bike, bus, walk, subway. Los Angeles will now hopefully improve our mass transits systems and bike lanes which have been comical compared to other major cities San Francisco, New York, etc. In LA it seems that only the poor, underclass, and young bike and/or take public transportation. Though, I think the times are a changing…I’m biking to work at least 3 days a week if not more and I’m noticing a lot more cyclists on the road. I’m also looking for other short/long trips to the store/ to movies around my city that I can make on my bike where I used to always grab the car keys. Making matters worse anywhere you go in my neighborhood or surrounding cities we have to drive around for a 1/2 hour looking for a spot..horrible congestion! Or pay some valet parking or lot fee to go to dinner. Shit I sometimes park a 1/2 mile away from my apartment building…i’m pretty used to it now but when I think about it or I have friends over and they are huffing and puffing by the time they get to my crib ; ) I say come over and call me when your outside the front gate and then I’ll come out and we can both drive around together looking for parking ;)
I’m saving a lot of moolah on gas now about $150 spent in June versus the $400 bux a month and up I used to shell out. So hopefully now with high gas prices more people will start to realize how beneficial bikes are to our wallets, bodies, and the environment and maybe we can become less dependent on big oil. I’ll shut up and ride now!