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  1. #1
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    Critical Mass OC????

    After reading about yet another cyclist getting drilled and probably killed here in Orange County, I'm wondering if it's time for us to take our two-wheeled cause to the streets...literally.

    While almost everyone here is primarily a dirt rider, many of us enjoy getting out on the road from time to time and ALL of us belong to the same two-wheeled family so, with so many horrendous drivers out there killing off our fellow riders, I think it might be time to organize a ride like the one they have up in San Francisco every year call "Critical Mass."

    Essentially, the idea behind this ride would be to get every two-wheeled man and woman in the OC and surrounding areas out and onto their bikes at a given time one day during the week in somewhat of a protest ride. Once we all meet at whatever rallying point we decide upon, we all venture out, en masse, in order to cause just enough congestion on our chosen route to ensure people - drivers, media, etc - take notice of our presence.

    The purpose is not simply to piss off a bunch of motorists (if we get a decent turnout, we'll do that for sure) in the OC but rather to generate awareness out there that, yes, we do share the roads, no, we're not going away and, yes, you do have to be aware that there is a designated bike lane that both cars and pedestrians NEED to stay out of.

    It will also serve as a time where we can educate ourselves as to the proper rules of the road and ensure that we actually pay attention to those rules so as not to cause undue road-rage with drivers who feel like they're being slighted when you get to run a stop sign and they don't.

    This will take a decent amount of planning and coordination but I think it can be pulled off and I'd love to hear from some of you and get your thoughts.
    There's a fine line between courage and foolishness. Too bad it's not a fence.

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    Where in OC was the cyclist hit?

  3. #3
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    sounds fun

  4. #4
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    I'm game, and I'm sure there are many more who will. I don't remember the name of the organizers, but they do one of these rides in Santa Monica once a month, I think. Midnight Ridazzz? Something like that.

    I fully agree with the intent and purpose of the ride. Most drivers don't recognize that bikes are legal on the road and do have rights.
    May the air be filled with tires!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CranxOClueless
    I'd love to hear from some of you and get your thoughts.
    There has been one in Fullerton for quite some time. Wanna buy a vowel?

  6. #6
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    This one will need to be a bit bigger than the monthly "CM" rides that are common throughout the US, this one will need to draw some much needed attention.

    After giving it some thought and reading some things on how these things are done I have a few initial ideas but I'm going to try to work some of them out before getting too crazy here.

    I want to make this work, I'd like it to be a very large ride (it's not an event and there are no official "organizers" just a bunch of like-minded people getting together for a ride on a given day), and I'd like to do it somewhere in the middle of OC so we can get as many people as possible to show up.

    Give me a bit; I'm going to talk to some people and see if we can actually make this thing happen.
    There's a fine line between courage and foolishness. Too bad it's not a fence.

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    Be press smart

    Crank,

    I totally support your cause and motive. I'd just be careful of the message you send. The last Critical Mass ride in SF had not one, but two separate incidents that even with conflicting facts, put the whole ride in a pretty bad light.

    Do you know any media savvy folks? I'd think hard about the message you want to send; have a press release, and maybe some simultaneous rides, timed to the news cycle for maximum exposure. Everyone involved ought to understand that this is a serious thing with a serious message. I think a whole lot of orderly riders, all wearing, let's say black armbands, could send a powerful message

  8. #8
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    We have one in SD the fourth friday of the month. It seems like people just think it's a bike ride. There definitly needs to be some media coverage.
    Have you thought about a route?

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    Check out this article in the OC Register

    I would say a critical mass is overdue. See some of the posts by some of the people who read the article. One by a cop. wow.

    http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister...le_1650227.php




    Cyclist killed in Westminster. 4/18/07

    http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister...le_1661459.php

    Hit and run RSM 4/7/07:

    http://cbs2.com/local/local_story_098022357.html

    One in SD 3/31/07:

    http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007..._163_30_07.txt

  10. #10
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    Don't Do It!!

    My recommendation: DON'T DO IT!!! The Critical Mass rides are nothing more than a mass flash point for angry motorists. They do nothing but generate bad press for cyclists by pissing off motorists, trust me. I have heard the reports of the last SF ride and it was a disaster. Talk radio has fed off some of the anger and I have seen recent letters to the editor in the local rag about cyclists, which have been very anti-bike.

    Look, I ride a lot of road miles. Really. I hate inattentive, selfish drivers (I find that small women in huge SUVs on cell phones are some of the worst, but of course, drunks top the list). I DETEST lousy drivers and I watch with great concern the seemingly more frequent reports of cyclists getting killed here in San Diego. But I'm telling you, Critical Mass rides are for idiots and have the exact opposite effect of what you hope for, i.e., "educating" motorists. They do nothing but flame anti-bike sentiment. Frankly, if I was driving home from work after a long day at the office and a bunch of smart-ass cyclists were purposely stopping traffic and acting like *****, I would probably project a few choice words toward their direction. I can only imagine how I would feel toward a bunch of lycra-clad punks if I didn't even ride a bike...

    Fight for better bike lanes, ride courteously, let drivers know you're there, but don't do a Critical Mass ride. They are pointless and reverse our cause.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTP
    My recommendation: DON'T DO IT!!! The Critical Mass rides are nothing more than a mass flash point for angry motorists. They do nothing but generate bad press for cyclists by pissing off motorists, trust me. I have heard the reports of the last SF ride and it was a disaster. Talk radio has fed off some of the anger and I have seen recent letters to the editor in the local rag about cyclists, which have been very anti-bike.

    Look, I ride a lot of road miles. Really. I hate inattentive, selfish drivers (I find that small women in huge SUVs on cell phones are some of the worst, but of course, drunks top the list). I DETEST lousy drivers and I watch with great concern the seemingly more frequent reports of cyclists getting killed here in San Diego. But I'm telling you, Critical Mass rides are for idiots and have the exact opposite effect of what you hope for, i.e., "educating" motorists. They do nothing but flame anti-bike sentiment. Frankly, if I was driving home from work after a long day at the office and a bunch of smart-ass cyclists were purposely stopping traffic and acting like *****, I would probably project a few choice words toward their direction. I can only imagine how I would feel toward a bunch of lycra-clad punks if I didn't even ride a bike...

    Fight for better bike lanes, ride courteously, let drivers know you're there, but don't do a Critical Mass ride. They are pointless and reverse our cause.
    The point of this will not be to "piss off" motorists but, rather, to raise awareness. If all goes well there will be enough of us who can keep a cool head present to keep the more "enthusiastic" brethren in check. Stopping traffic will neither be the goal nor the intent, instead, we will look to get enough people in attendance that we can create a line of cyclists so long that it could foreseeably create a loop in and of itself.

    As for your final statement, I wholly and completely disagree. Better bike lanes do nothing when you have dozens of careless individuals parking in them every day as they wait to pick up their kids from school. Better bike lanes don't help when you have cities parking those stupid generator powered speedometers in the bikes lanes. Better bike lanes don't help when ignorant joggers use them instead of the sidewalks because they think asphalt is softer than concrete (technically it is but 99% of humans are not heavy enough to realize any difference and those that are aren't jogging anyway).

    In other words my friend, something needs to happen here and, unless you have a better idea, this is the one I/we are running with.

    As an ex-cop, and a guy with a post-graduate degree, I don't love the idea of creating civil disobedience as there is a lot of potential for problems however; at some point, you throw up your hands up and say "something has to be done" and act; now is that time.

    I'm sorry you disagree with the idea but, hopefully, when the time comes to do this, we can get you out there to ride right along side of the rest of us.
    There's a fine line between courage and foolishness. Too bad it's not a fence.

  12. #12
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    Reminder

    Ride of silence, Irvine, May 16th
    Not Critical Mass but a good place to start.

    http://www.sellin.com/silence/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chopper
    Ride of silence, Irvine, May 16th
    Not Critical Mass but a good place to start.

    http://www.sellin.com/silence/
    That's more like it. Generate awareness without pissing everybody off. In fact, my neighbor across the street from me is the founder of the Bicycle Club of Irvine, the sponsor for that ride.
    Hiking and biking to get away from man's madness and enjoy God's creation for a bit.

    -Dave

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcairns
    That's more like it. Generate awareness without pissing everybody off. In fact, my neighbor across the street from me is the founder of the Bicycle Club of Irvine, the sponsor for that ride.
    I think the "Ride of Silence" is a great thing however; it's pretty much the opposite of what we're talking about here. It's a small turnout that's done well inside the margins, generates ZERO press and has no impact whatsoever on public awareness. The point of what I'm talking about is to get people to notice us period; a "silent" ride doesn't do that.
    There's a fine line between courage and foolishness. Too bad it's not a fence.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CranxOC
    The point of this will not be to "piss off" motorists but, rather, to raise awareness. If all goes well there will be enough of us who can keep a cool head present to keep the more "enthusiastic" brethren in check. Stopping traffic will neither be the goal nor the intent, instead, we will look to get enough people in attendance that we can create a line of cyclists so long that it could foreseeably create a loop in and of itself.

    As for your final statement, I wholly and completely disagree. Better bike lanes do nothing when you have dozens of careless individuals parking in them every day as they wait to pick up their kids from school. Better bike lanes don't help when you have cities parking those stupid generator powered speedometers in the bikes lanes. Better bike lanes don't help when ignorant joggers use them instead of the sidewalks because they think asphalt is softer than concrete (technically it is but 99% of humans are not heavy enough to realize any difference and those that are aren't jogging anyway).

    In other words my friend, something needs to happen here and, unless you have a better idea, this is the one I/we are running with.

    As an ex-cop, and a guy with a post-graduate degree, I don't love the idea of creating civil disobedience as there is a lot of potential for problems however; at some point, you throw up your hands up and say "something has to be done" and act; now is that time.

    I'm sorry you disagree with the idea but, hopefully, when the time comes to do this, we can get you out there to ride right along side of the rest of us.
    Wow, you seem pretty intelectual for a ex-cop. Happy 4-20 day

  16. #16
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    I'll throw in my 2 cents...

    I commute 30-40 miles a day...4-5 days a week. I have crappy run ins with motorists once in a while....but no more than I have while driving a car...probably less. Of all the places I've ridden I find OC to be amongst the best in terms of bike lanes and the general willingness of the public to co-exist with cyclists on the road.

    I've also been to quite a few Critical Mass rides. They're typically nothing more than a place for angst ridden college kids to take out their frustration on "the man". Not something I care to be a part of.

    All that being said...I'd love to see OC become a place that was more friendly towards cycling as a means of transportation. But...for me....Critical Mass style rides are not the answer....far from it(especially considering the general mindset of most folks in OC.

    B
    www.thepathbikeshop.com

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fired Yo Momma
    Wow, you seem pretty intelectual for a ex-cop. Happy 4-20 day
    There's a fine line between courage and foolishness. Too bad it's not a fence.

  18. #18
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    this is OC you're talking about, though i do beleive there's a lot of bike riders out here in general, i get the feeling most people won't even care. it would just be another nuisance to some BMW SUV driving mom on her cellphone trying to get to the office w/o spilling her coffee on her lap.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by donkey
    I'll throw in my 2 cents...

    I commute 30-40 miles a day...4-5 days a week. I have crappy run ins with motorists once in a while....but no more than I have while driving a car...probably less. Of all the places I've ridden I find OC to be amongst the best in terms of bike lanes and the general willingness of the public to co-exist with cyclists on the road.

    I've also been to quite a few Critical Mass rides. They're typically nothing more than a place for angst ridden college kids to take out their frustration on "the man". Not something I care to be a part of.

    All that being said...I'd love to see OC become a place that was more friendly towards cycling as a means of transportation. But...for me....Critical Mass style rides are not the answer....far from it(especially considering the general mindset of most folks in OC.

    B
    The spirit of the CM rides is not to get a bunch of "angst ridden college students" out onto the pavement; in fact, that's pretty much contrary to what I think we would need to accomplish our goals.

    Will we have some of those people show up? Certainly. Will we be able to control them? Hopefully, but I don't know.

    There seems to be a lot of "let's not rock the boat" attitude around here with absolutely nothing in the way of other proposals that would get the message that "we're on the road too, please be aware of that" out in a big way. Any other real suggestions would be appreciated.
    There's a fine line between courage and foolishness. Too bad it's not a fence.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CranxOC
    There seems to be a lot of "let's not rock the boat" attitude around here with absolutely nothing in the way of other proposals that would get the message that "we're on the road too, please be aware of that" out in a big way. Any other real suggestions would be appreciated.
    One suggestion might be to start a different locally based movement for education in O.C. (where we ride), and actually run it as an organized event. Get away from the Critical Mass movement that has become over-used and has gained a less-than-positive reputation.

    Call it something different, and run it differently. Set up a set of guidelines that promote a more positive message so the participants, the public, the media, and law enforcement know what to expect. A very large group of riders using the bike lanes in-mass and obeying the traffic rules can still be an educational tool. You can still be noisy, and be seen and heard without intentionally blocking traffic.

    The sheer number of riders alone will slow traffic and get attention, but without the in-your-face attitude some of the past CM rides have forced on drivers.

    Have the route planned out with pre and post event gathering points that are visible to the public that will help get the message out. Have Share the Road signs (or a chosen theme) pinned to the back of all of the participants so the drivers actually know the messages that the riders are trying to send.

    A driver coming home from work and simply coming across a ton of riders intentionally blocking traffic and screaming at the cars will not leave with an understanding of what just took place, except the fact that he was just cussed out by people he does not know, for doing something that in So Cal is a part of life….commuting. The CM events tend to lump all drivers into the same category, and IMO create divisiveness.

    The problems I’ve seen with some past CM events stem from information on their own web-sites.

    I have read on some sites clear instructions to the participants not to break the group, and if the leader goes through and intersection and the light subsequently changes to red; the group is instructed not stop, but to continue regardless of the light or traffic.

    Many sites instruct riders to say that they are not an organized group, but are simply traffic using the road….(a cute play on words). This statement would apply only if they were using the road in the manner it was attended. Intentionally blocking traffic at a speed far below the legal limit is not using the road the way it was intended. Try to get three of your friends to drive side by side down the 5 fwy at 35 MPH blocking all traffic behind you, and see how far you will get.

    The idea is supposed to spur education in the public……not anger.

    Suggestions:
    o Pick a more positive name
    o Pick a regular recurring date (once a year will not have any impact)
    o Design a clear theme (Share the Road seems to be the current buzz-theme)
    o Make the guidelines clear for all participants
    o Invite the media
    o Have participants wear signs on their backs so drivers actually understand what’s going on
    o Obey the traffic rules, and let the sheer numbers using the roads properly send the message. A large number of riders in the bike paths and crossing at green lights will still have a very visible impact.
    o Have a planned route and advertise
    o Turn the end of the ride into a positive event for local businesses. Finishing up at a large food court and bringing a few thousand dollars of revenue to the local businesses will garner support from businesses. Plus a few hundred bikes parked with riders wearing signs will still be sending a message to drivers in the area.

    An event that focuses on the positive in lieu of the negative will garner much more support from the public-at-large.

    Just some thoughts.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamR
    One suggestion might be to start a different locally based movement for education in O.C. (where we ride), and actually run it as an organized event. Get away from the Critical Mass movement that has become over-used and has gained a less-than-positive reputation.

    Call it something different, and run it differently. Set up a set of guidelines that promote a more positive message so the participants, the public, the media, and law enforcement know what to expect. A very large group of riders using the bike lanes in-mass and obeying the traffic rules can still be an educational tool. You can still be noisy, and be seen and heard without intentionally blocking traffic.

    The sheer number of riders alone will slow traffic and get attention, but without the in-your-face attitude some of the past CM rides have forced on drivers.

    Have the route planned out with pre and post event gathering points that are visible to the public that will help get the message out. Have Share the Road signs (or a chosen theme) pinned to the back of all of the participants so the drivers actually know the messages that the riders are trying to send.

    A driver coming home from work and simply coming across a ton of riders intentionally blocking traffic and screaming at the cars will not leave with an understanding of what just took place, except the fact that he was just cussed out by people he does not know, for doing something that in So Cal is a part of life….commuting. The CM events tend to lump all drivers into the same category, and IMO create divisiveness.

    The problems I’ve seen with some past CM events stem from information on their own web-sites.

    I have read on some sites clear instructions to the participants not to break the group, and if the leader goes through and intersection and the light subsequently changes to red; the group is instructed not stop, but to continue regardless of the light or traffic.

    Many sites instruct riders to say that they are not an organized group, but are simply traffic using the road….(a cute play on words). This statement would apply only if they were using the road in the manner it was attended. Intentionally blocking traffic at a speed far below the legal limit is not using the road the way it was intended. Try to get three of your friends to drive side by side down the 5 fwy at 35 MPH blocking all traffic behind you, and see how far you will get.

    The idea is supposed to spur education in the public……not anger.

    Suggestions:
    o Pick a more positive name
    o Pick a regular recurring date (once a year will not have any impact)
    o Design a clear theme (Share the Road seems to be the current buzz-theme)
    o Make the guidelines clear for all participants
    o Invite the media
    o Have participants wear signs on their backs so drivers actually understand what’s going on
    o Obey the traffic rules, and let the sheer numbers using the roads properly send the message. A large number of riders in the bike paths and crossing at green lights will still have a very visible impact.
    o Have a planned route and advertise
    o Turn the end of the ride into a positive event for local businesses. Finishing up at a large food court and bringing a few thousand dollars of revenue to the local businesses will garner support from businesses. Plus a few hundred bikes parked with riders wearing signs will still be sending a message to drivers in the area.

    An event that focuses on the positive in lieu of the negative will garner much more support from the public-at-large.

    Just some thoughts.
    Awesome!

    This is what I was hoping for; some positive, forward thinking suggestions. My goal is not to be a pain in the a$$ to anyone but, rather, to gain some attention in a way that will force people to take notice.

    Also, despite the negative connotations of the CM name, the original intent (from what I've been reading over the past couple of days) was, and is, not to cause a disturbance; they just have turned out that way on several occasions due to the types of people who've shown up.

    We'll figure this thing out and put together something that will get people to take notice but won't P/O too many people...I think.
    There's a fine line between courage and foolishness. Too bad it's not a fence.

  22. #22
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    Good luck trying to get these mopes to stand up for anything. Any East Coast transplant would agree that this thread personifies the So Cal passive aggressive mindset that we all know and love. Just like that guy who won't say anything to you on the trail, but will post trash talk all day about the bike you ride, the way you ride it, etc.... he'll also be the one afraid of pissing off the SUV driving, ruling class of Southern California.

    And FYI, I did not know a Critical Mass ride took place in San Diego, and I will participate in the future.


    Yay!
    Last edited by Evil Chocula; 04-20-2007 at 01:02 PM.

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    I would not just say OC

    I would also include all the overall white anglo saxon in general. My early years I was raised in the bad part of So-Cal (La Puente & Baldwin Park) and now I live in Costa Mesa. My girlfriend lives in South OC and it is so true about passively aggresive people. I could have not described it any better. The type of people that talk smack to you while in the comfort of the Suburban with their window rolled up. I hope made some sense on this post

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fired Yo Momma
    I would also include all the overall white anglo saxon in general. My early years I was raised in the bad part of So-Cal (La Puente & Baldwin Park) and now I live in Costa Mesa. My girlfriend lives in South OC and it is so true about passively aggresive people. I could have not described it any better. The type of people that talk smack to you while in the comfort of the Suburban with their window rolled up. I hope made some sense on this post
    Absolutely. Here's how it works: Smile, look at the ground (avoid eye contact at all costs), find shelter (such as the aforementioned Suburban) and commence to trash talking. If you have the balls (as is custom in other, more civilized parts of the world, such as Boston or New York) to say whats on your mind and offer feedback, you're labeled as "uptight", "pissed off" or just get the "chill out, brah".

    On and on goes the cycle... until a group of North Easterners repopulates the area with the aim of spreading democracy, micro brewerys and witty one liners, while pushing SUV driving, equity leveraged, repubican mopes to Mexico, before they metastacize the whole area into one giant track home development (replete with strip malls, and every chain restaurant you can imagine)!
    Last edited by Evil Chocula; 04-20-2007 at 01:44 PM.

  25. #25
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    Think outside the Crit mass box

    What about trying something fundamentally different than a CM ride?

    I like CM rides but I think no matter how it's structured, it will do little to serve the cause (see below). In my view, the greatest problem is that a shockingly high percentage of motorists don't know or believe that bikes should be, and are, allowed on roads. They don't know that bikes are in fact obligated by law to be on the roads and follow traffic rules like a car. They're not supposed to be on the sidewalks.

    So what about getting a crew together, perhaps diverting a normally aimless CM ride, into something more effective, more direct, more performance or message based?

    Here's just some ideas:

    - Going to prominent intersections and displaying big banners and signs along the lines of "share the road", or "Cyclists have full use of lane", "Chill out, pay attention, and quite running us over," etc. Or bring staple guns and signs and post on all sorts of telephone polls so the message stays there and stays clear for some time.

    - Or researching and finding out where exactly every cyclist has been killed in San Diego, the OC, and going to all those locations (within reason) and putting up signs, commemorations, something to remind everyday drivers that cars like theirs killed or injured riders at all these locations everywhere. Interesting things like this have been done in NYC, like the drawing of chalk outlines on the roads in every place where cyclists and bike messengers have been killed. It probably wouldn't work well in the OC but it worked well in NYC, with the NYTimes and other media all over it. It was very poignant.

    And I'm sure some of ya'll can come up with more.

    The point is, I don't think regular CM rides do jack. I like the idea, but I don't think it pans out in practice. CM rides have only a general and implied message that's never displayed or articulated. I've done a couple up here in LA, the Santa Monica ones. I don't think it does anything for raising awareness about bikes. It just looks like a crazy parade of 20 somethin's out raising hell, blocking intersections, etc. Sure, it's fun and that's why I like them but it does nothing for the suppoosed cause. The 2nd year anniversary ride some months back was awful in how much we were screwing up traffic (and for some, that's all they wanted out of it). A freeway accident had pushed a lot of traffic onto the surface streets were were on in downtown Santa Monica. We did lap after disorganized lap in the same area and traffic was literally shut down solid. Motorists were fuming, honking and just wanted to get home without a buch of crazzies shutting the streets down. It did nothing but to further alienate the bikers from the motorists.

    I say think outside the box.

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