Critical Mass Upper-Decks Austin, Celebrates Bike Blog's Birthday
Yay for bicycles!
By Daniel Mottola,
6:54PM, Wed. Oct. 1, 2008
The consensus among the crowds of bicyclists who've been turning out in greater numbers for the Critical Mass rides on the last Friday evening of each month – ranging from a handful of riders some nights to as many as 400 on others – is that they hit the streets for the fun of it, though many see the ride as an opportunity to make a statement about bikes' rights to the road. Debates have raged among cyclists as to whether the CM is counterproductive, and rides in Austin and bigger cities have historically met with police enforcement and seen violent confrontation with motorists.
No such action took place on last Friday's ride, which was greeted by cheers as it meandered through the Austin City Limits Festival hysteria and met with looks of wonderment while pedaling past pre-tailgaters near the UT football stadium.
However, Friday's ride did mark two historic milestones: First, more than half of the approximately 250 riders (including yours truly), made the somewhat questionable, group-think-motivated decision to bike the upper deck of I-35 from Martin Luther King Boulevard to the Airport Boulevard exit. The endeavor, believed to be previously unattempted by a group of bicyclists, proved to be extremely fun and elicited mainly befuddlement from passers-by in slow-moving traffic.
Secondly, riders on Friday celebrated the one-year anniversary of local bike blog Austin Texas Bike Stuff or ATXBS.com. Founder, bike commuter, and perennial DIY bike-event fixture Jason Abels has built a huge following, reporting over 300,000 hits to the site – 6,200 this month alone. In addition to maintaining a meticulously updated message board for informal and often absurd bike-related happenings (such as a recent tighty-whitey pub crawl organized by the local Midnight Ridazz club), he offers commentary on local bike policy and happenings with wry, honest prose.
Abels has also unified the more counter-cultural contingent of Austin's bustling bike community like no one before. The post-ride party rolled into the Mueller Redevelopment's gorgeous new Lake Park and continued until well after dark, only ceasing after two more-than-gracious off-duty APD officers informed us of the park's 10pm curfew. For more bike culture info, visit www.atxbs.com.