his is both an announcement and a call for further dialogue.

Last month the NYPD, after what appeared to be a backing off period,
resumed their strategy of attacking Critical Mass with overwhelming
force, right at the start of the ride. This is what they were doing
for the 9 or so months since the RNC ride: the ride leaves the park
and they pounce, throwing up nets, cornering riders, stealing bikes...
you know the drill. In response to this (because we were tired of
being such obvious and easy targets) people started to meet up in
various locations other than Union Square. This took some effort and
some coordination, but it did seem to have an effect. It certainly
made it more difficult for the cops to police the ride. Whether it
was this or some other reasons, the NYPD did back off the ride,
considerably. So much so that Union Square once again seemed safe,
and the multiple meetup strategy was sort of abandoned (not entirely,
but mostly). And now they are hammering at the ride again, pouncing
on Union Square riders almost as soon as they leave the park.

So we are revitalizing the decentralizing. Putting the kink back in
the hose, or something like that. This month there will be people
starting out from Madison Sq. Park, Tompkins Sq. Park, Washington Sq.
Park, and Union Square. You and your friends can also start from
wherever the fuck you please of course, but there will for sure be
folks at those locations, and, at least in those locations there will
be folks in constant communication with riders from all the other
start-ups. Then we get to play a game of "find your friends" in the
streets of Manhattan. It's fun, actually, and even if you never find
the other rides, you are likely to have a less cop-heavy ride, and
there is the added bonus of just making all of this more of a pain in
the ass for the assholes.

So, that's the announcement: show up somewhere ELSE at 7:00pm, and be
prepared to RIDE.

The other part of this, is that the community of riders who take part
in CM need to have a way to discuss tactics, and to inform new riders
about some of what CM riders have figured out thus far after years of
doing it, things such as:

** If there's, like, two cars up at the front and we have 500 riders
behind them: Let the fucking cars go. Blocking them in the middle of
the street blocks OTHER RIDERS. It's stupid.

**SLOW THE FUCK DOWN. If you find yourself in the front of the ride,
don't get so excited (and yes, it is exciting, we know, and we all
adore you for your exuberance, but shit...) that you ditch the slower
riders. Yes you are an individual, but CM is at heart a collective
experience. You are a part of a larger body, and ripping the head
from the torso is painful, and leaves both body parts vulnerable.

**Just cause you're at the front doesn't mean that you ought to be
"leading" the ride. And, inversely, just cause some jackass is at the
front doesn't mean you all have to follow them. Check them out. Slow
down and make some smart decisions

** If you see an undercover, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. OUT them. This
means yelliing to the other riders. This means riding right alongside
them and eavesdropping. It does not mean whispering the information
to the 4 or 5 riders in your immediate vicinity.

Etc....

If you want to participate in a dialogue about these and other such
matters, there is an ongoing conversation being hosted on bikeblog, in
the comments section. Check it out:

  http://bikeblog.blogspot.com/