In honor of the San Francisco Police Department, and as a way of saying "thanks" for their recent claim of sponsorship of the otherwise pathetically leaderless and anarchic Critical Mass monthly bike rides, this month’s ride will tour the donut shops of San Francisco. We know some cyclists have had trouble keeping up with the fast pace imposed by the busy schedule of the cops on motorcycles, which has caused some difficult moments and hard feelings as the police became understandably impatient with the dawdlers. Hopefully frequent stops at donut shops will simultaneously provide extra sugar-induced energy to the slower bicyclists and give the police a chance to relax in a way they are familiar with: over a nice french cruller and a hot cuppa’ joe. This in turn should lead to even greater levels of conviviality, shared community, and an all around good time for all.



The San Francisco Police had the gall to "welcome" us to the last Critical Mass. Then they proceeded to do a terrible job of protecting intersections and reverted to a belligerent impatience and anger, frequently berating riders for riding too slowly, and threatening arrests for a variety of supposed crimes. They did arrest one man for allegedly blocking an intersection. Along Polk Street the cops managed to split the ride leaving about 75 riders behind.

Critical Mass riders need to take care of "corking" again, since we cannot count on the police to do an adequate job of protecting our flanks or rear. A number of incidents took place along Polk Street where riders corked when there was no Mass left to be protected. The cops forgot, apparently, the deal from the Coptalk days when Officer Tom and beloved Victor Vesey had a little pow-wow. During that unlikely summit they said they wanted to take care of corking for us. But since the October ride, they have threatened bicyclists who were courteously corking with arrest. Increasingly, they chase bicycle corkers away and after a brief pause they also leave the intersection, speeding forward to threaten and cajole riders further along. Meanwhile the hundreds of riders still passing through the now unprotected intersection are endangered as impatient motorists begin inching forward and occasionally try to force their way through. Are the police trying to cause an accident? If not, they better leave us alone or stay to protect the intersection as we cross through.

When corking, IF there are only a few bikes approaching the intersection, go ahead and let the angry cross traffic go. Then facilitate the regrouping of the stragglers and proceed on the route. (You’ll probably move quicker with fewer numbers and be caught up in no time.)

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