Saturday, November 28, 2009

SD Critical Mass Culture Jams Mission & Fashion Valley Malls on Black Friday

Last nite, approximately 900 San Diego Critical Mass riders rode from Balboa Park to downtown, passed Old Town, and through the poorly-planed, auto-dependent area of Mission Valley to culture jam the Fashion Valley and Mission Valley malls on Black Friday.

Steady-handed Mason captured the experience on video:

Overall, the ride was a blast! There are no known serious injuries from the ride. Generally speaking, Black Friday mall-goers seemed to greet the riders w/ smiles, as the video makes evident. There are more fun things to do on a Friday nite than sit around in malls gazing at objects to consume. Last nite, San Diego Critical Mass riders demonstrated to the Black Friday mall-goers how much more fun it is to be active on two-wheels rather than living life via a canned experience. (Canned experience is an expression, coined by urban-social theorists Kantor & Judd, to explain an increasingly popular social experience of modern suburban life. Kantor & Judd describe the increasing facilitation of canned experiences--i.e. privatism in the suburbs, the development of big-box malls (i.e. private property where public rights do not apply), etc. all connected via the automobile, which is, in itself, an extension of the canned experience.)

Black Friday 2008 was the first time SDCM ever rode through the Mission and Fashion Valley malls. It appears that riding through Mission and Fashion Valley malls on Black Friday has become a new tradition for SDCM; a sustainable tradition that doesn't require money. All you need is a bicycle and an adventurous spirit.


  1. Wow Randy. And you had the balls to order up a meeting about NOT riding over the bridge? What did this prove? Wow Randy, you have the balls to talk about a "non-consumer culture", yet you then go on in your next post to pimp leader bikes and their (albiet very cool) event?

    We need a change in CM before shit goes south and gets bad. We need to redirect before things get worse. This change needs to happen. The question becomes, is the singular person behind Bic control going to participate or jump on the "culture band wagon"?

    Your help could be usefull Randy.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. 1 of 2

    Will, I'm sorry that you have such a negative perspective on San Diego Critical Mass and on recent efforts to keep the ride more positive. It's quite interesting that you have the gall to leave this comment despite the fact that you were absent from the open discussion on September 21 about keeping SDCM positive and purposeful. There were about 30 other community members there, but you were not.

    You also seemed to be absent from the meet-up sesh before September SDCM, in which over 15 people met up to distribute constructive fliers w/ ideas on how to keep SDCM positive and purposeful. Approximately 1,500 people were reached that nite. We're talking feet on the ground, face-to-face, positive outreach here. Not the bomb-throwing tactics you seem to employ on the internet and on the internet only.

    The link to the flier is here:

    The September 2009 SDCM positive outreach effort was the most wide-scale outreach effort ever conducted at SDCM. Never before has the message of positive, communicative, conscientious community-oriented riding been disseminated to so many people in person at the ride.

    Yet, you did not seem to be there for any of it. Why is that? For someone who proclaims to be such an expert on keeping SDCM positive, it seems to be quite hypocritical that you are the biggest basher of San Diego's supposed failed attempts to promote positivity.

    Also, I don't remember you coming out the San Diego Bike Meeting organized the Friday before September CM 2007, a month after the frightening August 2007 CM.

    You never seem to be apart of any of the positive discussion or outreach attempts, Will. You seem to be out-of-the-loop. I'm sorry that you are. You seem passionate about SDCM which is awesome. Unfortunately, you have an apocalyptic view of the state of the ride. You either are simply a negative person or you simply are out-of-the-loop when it comes to positive in-person outreach...Perhaps, it's both.

  6. 2 of 2

    Also, why are you hating on Leader and the recent Revival and London To Paris premier? You seem to be burning bridges w/ everyone. And you expect people to rally behind your supposed positive message?

    Are you an expert on The Revival, London To Paris, and Leader Bikes? Did you see the films? They're incredible and they will most likely generate new interest in urban riding.

    Also, you have rather simplistic take on our views of 'consumer culture.' There are certain aspects of consumer culture which are questionable--such as Black Friday. There other aspects of consumer culture which are sustainable, altruistic, and necessary. Consumption is inevitable, Will. We must consume some things to get around, to eat, to live, to stay up to date on current events. There are some aspects of consumer culture which are necessary for the fight against global warming--such as bicycles.

    You talk about "culture band wagon." The implication here is that this seems to be yet another one of your extremely negative takes on the new U.S. youth bicycle movement.

    Our views on bicycling and what you've called a "band wagon" are this: We want as many people as possible bike commuting. Bicycling should not be relegated to the elite, as you imply w/ your "band wagon" statement. Zero-emissions commuting is something we need, and is something urban planners need to facilitate, in order to win the fight against global warming. Did you know that nearly 50% of San Diego's GHG are emitted from automobile commuting?

    We need bicycling to go big! We're not opposed to that at all. For the sake of future generations, we need more bicycle ridership and we need bicycle companies to produce bikes. Yes, buying a bicycle is one aspect of consumer culture we support and encourage.

    I've heard good things about you, Will. I've heard that you're trying to rally people together to improve rides. That's awesome. Unfortunately, I haven't heard one positive thing ever come out of your brain. So I'm not quite sure how successful you will be. For someone who is trying to build bridges, you're off to a terrible start w/ the comment you just dropped today.

    But I'm willing to work that out w/ you since we share a common mission. Send an email to biccontrol [at] gmail [dot] com if you're interested. Let's get coffee sometime or even a beer. We'll work it out. Looking forward to it.

  7. Correction: Meant to say approximately 1,050 not 1,500 people were reached. Also, apologies for the few deleted entries. Blogspot makes posting essay-long comment responses difficult.

  8. Randy, first: I don't hate leader, at all. Or the movies. Great footage, great talent, great view of part of our cycling culture. I never said as much. What I commented on, and I understand if in your anger and energetic response Randy, that you missed: you were on the Leader portion (consumer) but post on the CM post that it was anti consumer. They contradict. That was the point. And I'll go for the record that the explosion of what you call "youth culture", is a probably one of the most exciting things I've seen in San Diego in years. More people on bikes, more people riding. A huge, wonderful thing. From CM rides of 30 people in 2005, and a few people riding here and there to constant, everyday views of people riding everwhere, the landscape of San Diego has changed for the better. MUCH better. I am, for one, happy, and frankly, silly excited at how big it's become. 2010 is going to be the year of the bike in San Diego.

    But you can't combine a consumer culture statement and cycling. They are parallel, but not the same. We can debate, but I feel you're mixing two messages

    Let's reach back to August 2007 Critical Mass. Your "meeting" you mention... How many at this "meeting" were there to stand up for Chuck Northrop after he was falsely accused by the police? How many? One. Me. Why: people's response ranged from "it's his issue" to "CM isn't about dealing with that sh!t". I work in an adminstrative field with management and leadership. Let me tell you about meetings...... 90% of the time, nothing gets done.

    Let's ask about the follow up for the hit and runs at previous Critical Mass. Who demanded the police intercede? I didn't need a meeting to go to the Police downtown and complain. I went in person. And, on my ride home, I flagged down every police officer I saw. You can sit in a room of cyclist and complain about it, but the action is on the street.

    San Diego Critical Mass is important. Huge important. WE (emphasize on we) have a huge voice, and we have the attention of many. The police are now involved in a good way. But, yet, riders want to spit on the police cars and call them pigs. Boy, that' helpful. I've watched, time and again as the crowd shoots off the front, the tail flogs behind, people in hoods and motor cycle masks slap cars.. And then I'm left defending Critical Mass to outsiders and those cyclist who swear it's a bad thing. It's hard to fight for the image when all that happens is the image is upheld by the groups actions. Read my words and think about it.

    Randy, you don't know me, though you've met me, several times. I've ridden besides you, with you, talked in the same groups. You've watched me talk down escalting arguements between cyclist and cars, I've seen you ride by while I do it. I'm not sure who tells you what about me. And, you're a busy guy, with a lot going on in your life, and a lot of people. So, understand if you think I'm some sort of internet troll just posting drive by comments. And I won't disaude you from your opinion of me.

    Here's my rebutal, and you have my email address:

    Meetings, largely act as social events. I'm not too interested in cumbersome administration. I am here to say that the energy and direciton of critical mass is important. But I'm asking for change. I've put it out there for a group of people to get together about CM, see if there is a cohesive opinion about the direction, and a few of those who are willing to stand up and be the Momentum in the Mass. I feel it is wrong for others to co-opt thier own political efforts into Critical Mass. The extremes of negative interaction need to stop our we will loose the effectiveness, and the potentail that CM is.

    If you think CM is great, just note that most of the SDCBC membership refuses to acknowledge or even outreach to CM. And CM is full of people who want change for cycling.

    Your singular efforts at biccontrol poster are laudible. I think, however, you miss the point. I ride the city all the time. Ride with me.

  9. And I feel your pain on blogger. It's so easy to use, but at times pretty clumbsy. But, it's free, and can be good!

  10. 1 of 4

    William, I do know you! I didn't realize that person behind the online identity 'William' was you until a couple hours after posting my response. I didn't realize it was you until I saw your comment on the forum about you hangin' w/ Scott at the fountain back in '05.

    I'm really quite surprised that that person is you, to be honest. That's because in your comments on the forum you write as if no one has ever stepped up to do anything positive for SDCM. I figured that the online 'William' was someone new to SD and isn't yet familiarized w/ previous advocacy efforts.

    I still don't understand why you--if you're so passionate about making CM positive--didn't show up to the SDCM Coffeeshop Discussion about keeping the ride positive and purposeful. It even said on the flier that that was the aim of the entire discussion:
    Didn't you comment on the entry? You seem to have heard about it in time.

    Granted, that there wasn't much time to promote the event online before the ride. The idea of the group discussion came to fruition after I extended a coffee meetup invitation to a rider, who actually advocated for riding BACK over the bridge. So, the Sept. 21 discussion was actually quite diverse considering that there was a person there who wanted to ride over the bridge. As I mentioned, there were 30 other people at the discussion.

  11. 2 of 4

    Your comments on the forum make it seem like only one person showed up to the discussion (which is completely untrue). In addition to that, you go on to further badmouth our efforts and claim that our efforts have been marginalized since then. What is your source on this? Is this based on the fact that CM rode to the mall on Black Friday? If so, I find your case very weak. As I explained, our efforts at the fountain were the most wide-scale outreach efforts ever conducted at SDCM. We talked to every group we possibly could and we estimate that our efforts reached 1050 people. We even had a constructive and productive convo w/ the younger BMX kids, who according to veteran riders, actually lead the ride over the bridge. We spoke w/ them and we were able to convince them that riding over the bridge was a bad idea. We made a special effort to speak to and convince any pro-bridge rider otherwise. The response we received at the fountain was incredible and energizing. Since then, the ride has never gone over the bridge. That was our main goal.

    Then you go on the forum and talk a ton of shit about how SDCM riders are apathetic, you badmouth our efforts, you claim that no one is doing anything positive for SDCM, and you weren't even there for discussion or the fountain to help!

    This is the epitome of hypocrisy and your words are on the verge of defamation.

  12. 3 of 4

    'Let me tell you about meetings...... 90% of the time, nothing gets done.'

    You seem to have a negative perspective on the value of meetings/discussions. I disagree w/ your assessment here. If nothing is getting done in between meetings then perhaps you have meetings too often.

    The Sept.21 CM discussion was the first of it's kind in 2 years. A lot has happened since then, as you know. The ride has quadrupled (400 in August 07 to around 1,600 August 09) and it's been the fastest growing CM ride on the entire West Coast, as far as we know.

    The 2007 San Diego Bike Meeting which began w/ a ride where over 50 people showed up, ended at Cream coffeeshop where 20 other people were in attendance, including Kathy Keehan (Exec. Director of the SD County Bike Coalition). The dialogue was constructive. Unfortunately, you weren't there for any of it.

    Look, I understand that not everyone can make it to every event. I try not to get discouraged when people can't make it out. People have other things going on and that's completely understandable...But the difference between those people who can't make it out and you (who also didn't make it out), Will, is that you're the only person who talked shit on our outreach efforts on a public forum.

    In regards to Chuck: Chuck was unfairly body slammed by a police officer on August 2007. As far as I understand, that was his first SDCM ride ever. So, people didn't really have much of a chance to befriend him yet. Otherwise, I believe it would have been more likely that they would have stood up for him. I'm sure they would have if they had a chance to befriend him. Chuck is a really good guy. I rode home w/ him after the City of SD Bike Meeting.

    Will, it was incredibly noble of you to go down to the station and stand up for Chuck like you did. I didn't know that you did that. Clearly, your passion for SDCM is admirable. Big ups for standing up for fellow riders, Will.

  13. 4 of 4

    Actually, there were 2-3 other arrests that August night, as far as we know. One of said riders was and is extremely loved in the SD bike community. We're extremely close. He was bailed out that nite after being arrested for riding a bike in a group (a right upheld by the Constitutional right to freely assemble) and he was at the SD Bike Meeting. Unfortunately, we didn't have the contact info for any of the other people involved.

    I agree that energy and direction on CM rides is extremely important. The challenge is now that there are tons of new riders who don't think as seriously about bike advocacy yet and don't realize that they represent "cycling." At the Sept 2009 SDCM ride we tried to change that. Wish you could have been there for it. Everyone who was apart of it was extremely energized after the many constructive conversations that were had.

    Yes, I'm aware that some members of SDCBC are anti-CM. The problem is that most of those critics have never even done the ride. They don't know what actually happens on the ride. Many of the CM critics w/in SDCBC are against group rides in general. They hate the fact that experienced group riders find it safer to continue riding through an intersection as a single entity (like a truck) rather than stop in the middle of a flow and increase the likeliness of bike-on-bike collisions. Many group ride haters don't know how to ride in a flow of cyclists. Those haters would prefer to sit at home on a Friday night rather than be on a group ride, making friends w/ other cyclists, discussing cycling issues, sharing laughs, and making friends.

    Speaking of Friday nights, it's 5:15pm and I need to get out of here!

    Will, let's ride together. I think you're a great guy and I admire your passion. I always have ever since I met you. The bike community is very lucky to have someone as passionate as you. However, bad mouthing other people's recent positive 1,050-person face-to-face outreach efforts (which you, for some reason, decided not to be apart of) is not the best way to get people to rally behind your efforts. You're alienating the very people you're trying to mobilize.

    SDCM can always be improved. We encourage new ideas on how to improve the ride and we're stoked that people care enough to stand up. Lookin' forward to hearing your ideas.

    2010 is going to be an even bigger and better year for cycling in SD.

  14. Randy, the coffee shop meeting was intended, and from the people who went and talked, only about not riding over the bridge. That's one issue. ON the subject of Chuck: he's a cyclist, and as such should enjoy the support of other cyclist. The point there, if CM is about cycling, it shouldn't be about defending and helping ONLY your friends. That's my main point. CM is fractioned, and needs to be about CYCLING, not about friends and those who have similar point of view politically.

    When I refer to "1" person: I'm saying "Biccontrol" is one person. It's funny when this blog says "we", and it turns out, it really just one contributor. But it all starts with one person, so I digress.

    We agree that the energy and direction are important. We even agree on several other things. YOu can say I'm alienating, but I'm attempting to lay bare the issue so it can be focused and sharpen our direction and focus. Jan 2010. Let's talk about it and then find more to focus it.

  15. Will, it was great speaking w/ you in person yesterday at the San Diego County Bike Coalition Retreat and Tweed Ride after-party.

    We--you, myself/other Bic Control contributors/idea contributors/supporters/friends, the Bike Coalition, Bike Coalition Retreat participants, Bike San Diego, Velo Flaneur, and other local bike advocates--all agree that 2010 will be a great year for bicycling in SD.

  16. 2010 will be the year of the bike in San Diego. I put a post up about our conversation on You should check it out. You might like it. Mr. Bic Control...we've got to meet up, I think we have common plans, and those plans should be.. marginalized..