Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Surly Cross-Check: Cranky Cop Coldcocks Critical Masser

By this point most people have seen the footage of critical mass cyclist Christopher Long getting tackled by NYPD officer Patrick Pogan. This is a classic example of the eternal conflict between the younger, more progressive generation and the older, more conservative one—except of course that the rider was 29 and the officer was 22. But as we all know, in the gentrified neighborhoods of our nation’s cities 30 is the new 20, and in 2008 calculating someone’s age is sort of like calculating “dog years,” except instead of multiplying by seven you subtract 10. So really, the rider was 19 in “hipster years,” and as such the officer was probably enraged by the sight of a teenager having a good time and flew into a jealous rage.

Similarly, the standard of what constitutes heroic behavior is also lower in 2008. The bike-tackler, Patrick Pogan, is a third-generation police officer. I wanted to know more about the Pogan family, so I strapped on my “investigative journalist” helmet and Googled vigorously for almost two full minutes. I finally uncovered this New York Times article from 1991, and since I’m not a real journalist nor am I bound by any real journalistic responsibilities, I will go ahead and assume that the Pogan mentioned herein is the bike-tackler’s father, as the bike-tackler himself would have been only 5 at the time (or negative 5 in “hipster years”):




So it would seem that tackling someone riding his bike is in 2008 what rescuing someone from a wrecked subway train with the jaws of life was in 1991, because Pogan Sr. not only stands by his son (as you’d expect him to) but is also proud of him for what he did:

"He's my son. I'm proud of him. He's third-generation that's been serving the city," said Pogan Sr., who was at home in Massapequa Park, LI, today and said he had not seen the video. "These people are taking over the streets and impeding the flow of traffic. Then you gotta do what you gotta do," said Pogan, 51.

I’m not sure what’s causing both maturity and heroism to recede so quickly. Maybe it has something to do with global warming. In any case, it would seem that Long and Pogan were two melting icebergs on a collision course—though in fairness to Long it would appear that he did try to avoid the other iceberg, which proceeded to topple him from his bicycle in a decidedly un-iceberg-like fashion.

Yet try as I might, it’s hard for me to feel outrage. The world can often seem vicious and arbitrary, and this video would seem to be a good example of that. However, while you can’t account for everything, there are some immutable truths in this world, and knowing them can give you a significant advantage. And one of the most important truths I’ve learned is that where there are crowds there is stupidity. When large numbers of people get together, stupid things happen, and you’re almost always better off simply getting as far away from the crowd as possible.

For example, I regularly pass an Apple store, and for the last few weeks there has been a line around the corner. As you probably know, this line consists of people who are waiting to purchase the new iPhone. Many of these people not only own iPhones already but actually use them while they’re waiting on the line, presumably to tell their employers that they will not be getting any work done today because they are waiting to purchase an item designed to help them be more efficient. Apparently, they’re not aware that Apple is creating these lines on purpose, and they’re unwitting participants in what is actually a giant Apple commercial. Instead, they think that despite the iPhone’s popularity Apple might suddenly decide to stop selling the phone forever, and that if they don’t wait on line today they’ll never, ever own one.

And that’s just one benign example. In that case all that happens when you get to the front of the line is someone gives you a phone in exchange for the full retail price, hours out of your life, and a sizeable chunk of your dignity. Stupid, sure, but better than a kick in the teeth. But most crowds are even worse. Beyond over-hyped products, other things that draw crowds are fires, mass suicides, genocides, riots, parades, and Bon Jovi concerts. All things you’re better off avoiding. In the best case scenario, you see or receive something awful. In the worst case scenario, you get hurt.

One of the things that make cycling so great is that it enables you to avoid crowds and pointless delays. Few things are more satisfying than effortlessly weaving your way through a traffic jam. So while I’ll begrudge nobody his or her Critical Mass, personally I don’t understand the appeal of forming a crowd and creating a pointless delay. And it is a delay, whether you’re in a car or on a bike. I once accidentally got caught in a Critical Mass ride while out riding. I felt like a dolphin ensnared in a tuna net. One second I was sailing along, and the next I was trapped among a bunch of people with rickety bikes rolling on wobbly, rusty brown steel rims on the verge of collapse. It was like watching a Beatles “Yellow Submarine”-esque cartoon LSD sequence where all the bicycles were rolling on pretzels. Sure, they had taken back the streets, but I wish that as a cyclist they might have saved a small sliver for me so I could get to where I was going.

People do need to see other people out there on bikes. They need to become accustomed to them so they learn to respect them, and they need to see how practical and effective they can be so they consider riding them themselves. Many cyclists illustrate this day after day, not only by riding their bikes to and from work during rush-hour but also by using them for recreation and even racing on them. A driver who sees you zip past as you ride your bike to work, and then sees you riding your bike to dinner later with a date, and then sees you going for a road ride that weekend doesn't realize he's seen only one rider—as far as he knows he's seen a bunch of riders, and he sees them using their bikes successfully. Effectively, you’re a Critical Mass of one. Meanwhile, a mob of people on crappy bikes blocking traffic one day a month isn’t a “mass” at all. At best it's a party. At worst it’s effectively just one big stupid person.

Stupidity breaks out in groups, and when people gather expect stupid things to happen. You may or may not encounter a stupid person or stupid thing individually as you go about your day, but you’ll definitely encounter one in a crowd, and Christopher Long encountered one in the form of Patrick Pogan. On the other hand, intelligence travels alone, but it travels swiftly, and consequently it's not only more effective, but it also generates much better word-of-mouth.

167 comments:

ant1st said...

first

ant1st said...

sweet, take that mary poppins

Anonymous said...

3

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone!

cstmr svc said...

swinging on the flippity flop

Anonymous said...

vande velde

Anonymous said...

woo

Joseph said...

Cross-checking- 2 minutes!

ant1st said...

That's a sweet video. I've seen so many of cyclists hurting themselves, it's nice to see a non cyclist helping out once in a while. I'd like to know what the dude said to the cop as he was coming up on him.

Anonymous said...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008075512_reading27.html

Jim said...

Is CM bad because it drives motorists to distraction and creates enemies for the rest of us? Or does it put drivers on notice that they need to accomodate cyclists, and thus do cycling a great service?

I'm sort of torn about that.

And when I see a CM ride, I'm torn between:

1) the impulse to strip off three random elements of clothing, wobble into the pack and ride along shaking my fist, telling the hassled motorists to pound sand, better get used to us cyclists being here;

and,

2) the impulse to do exactly what that cop did, only a lot freakin' harder.

Anybody got any guidance on which impulse I should follow here?

Anonymous said...

2008075512_reading27.html

BicyclesOnly said...

All true, but groups are also necessary to do many things that are worthwhile and important. But here's some folks following BS's advice:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bicyclesonly/

As for the Apple Store:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bicyclesonly/2674372176/

Anonymous said...

top 15?

Sycophantic Backstabber said...

Ah, critical mass. One of the stupidest things I do all month.

echuck said...

Top 20. Working on it. Should Surly now make a Crosscheck model? Should Gunnar change the Crosshairs to Crosscheck? Was long riding one of these aforementioned steeds? If so, why do pancakes become cold so fast?

Bikeslob 80220 said...

Hey! That's my wobbly brown rusty bike

Maybe I should be out on the last Friay of the month sticking it to the man too. I seem to have the right gear.

Mark said...

I was hoping for a repeat but got sidetracked - who knows, maybe two in one week?

Well, the 29 year old grocer is about to become a 29 year old retiree with the fat settlement check he is going to get from the City of New York.

Too bad Pogo has to give the cops another black eye when we should be working with them to rid crime and drugs off our streets.

Surly Bastard said...

Here on the ragged edge of the universe (Michigan) most of us ride to get away from what few crowds there are, not create them, though we have our own Critical Mass wannabee attempts which are truly pathetic because of the disturbance they fail to create (kind of like ED on bikes). Maybe our local rebles could pay this NYC cop to make an appearance here (like a shot of Viagra) and take somebody out Big City Style on camera. That would make our CM crowd truly happy, I'm sure. Frankly I can't imagine being hit by so many donuts all at once ...

...rolling on pretzels ... that's beautiful, snobby!

Cadel Evans said...

Critical Mass riders are turds.

Ti( * )( * )ies said...

Group Rides, Crits and Road Races are all chalk full-o-stupid. From now on it is nothing but TTs for me.

The Los said...

echuck-
Surly's made the Cross-Check since '99.

Commiecanuk said...

I'm no fan of critical mass rides, they accomplish nothing but make cyclist look like smug twats with no fashion sense. Which, of course, is correct.

In Pogan's defense, he probably saw the TDF video of a spectator knocking off a rider at Alp d'Huez a few years back and thought he was being French.

We can't know what the cyclist said before the de-saddling, but you can bet Pogan's response was "..oh yeah, well I'm another fat Irish NYC cop, so there."

Regardless, it makes for better video than the 167 hours of Phil Ligget droning on about riders with homosexual overtones. Perhaps this is what will save Versus and cycling on TV: Australian rules cycle commuting. Just imagine some 6'6" XYYYY guy in blonde hair punting off some patchouli-soaked hippy in tie-dye and sandals, yelling, "fawk-awf y'coont!".

That's good TV.

Ti( * )( * )ies said...

Dear Mark -

I am going to personally zip tie your scrotum to your top tube if you keep podium whoring.

Love,
The Tits

Anonymous said...

Maybe Long needs a really good lawyer.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=EvimrOmjtnk

Critical Ass said...

"Apparently, they’re not aware that Apple is creating these lines on purpose, and they’re unwitting participants in what is actually a giant Apple commercial."

= prescience the m'asses are lacking

I might not be for critical m'ass

but I'm sure as hell for Critical Ass. Ass without the mass

I'd post a pic but my ass is too critical to be disturbed from it's lazy flight from one moment to the next...and therefore too lazy to post.

ant1st said...

commie - that would be great TV.

echuck said...

the los - you're totally right, my bad. Maybe if Long was on a Karate Monkey he would have been accosted by a ninja chimpanzee and then pooed upon!? Just a thought. It really does matter what kind of bike your on, IMHO.

Joshua D. said...

Turds indeed!

I saw this video on Bike Forums the other day: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2008/07/27/hahn.car.bike.showdown.king

It's a news story that aired on CNN about a small Critical Mass ride in DC where the riders decided to bash the windows of a guy's car in.

Good thing these guys and gals are out there every month crusading for us all.

Strayhorn said...

Jim wanted to know: Anybody got any guidance on which impulse I should follow here?

I stumbled on a CM this past Friday and noticed many CYTs among the (barely moving) mass. So I think the proper thing to do is combine the impulses: rip off off several layers of their clothing and hit it like the fist of an angry god.

kurtdriver said...

Hear! Hear! I can now stop telling people how I feel about CM and just point to this post. Thank you, Cameron.

Joshua D. said...

Sorry. Here's the video.

Anonymous said...

A-FREAKING-MEN

That's a damn good blog right there.

Anonymous said...

If more people would play bike polo then this critical mass thingy would just go away.

Prolly said...

Many good laughs in there. I don't wanna be that person that says the cyclist should sue the NYPD, but if that were me, it'd be hard to not come out of that body check swinging...

Lucky 7 said...

That cop on CM'er action was a pieplate-inspired coldcock. Pogan is actually a fan of the Snob and was showing off his goose attack skillz! Didn't anyone see the OBEY pin on his lapel?




A

frilly said...

I love how the one guy takes the fallen's bike & walks away with it. So, not only did the dude get the shit kicked out of him, but it appears that his piece might have been stolen.

Anonymous said...

I am just pumped that ant1st has beaten mary poppins...I was so sick of Mary Poppins winning all the time like she was lance or something...

Not a great bike snob post...sorry but that was weak.

Anonymous said...

Golly. Everything I've ever wanted to say about Critical Mass neatly summed up in a single pithy blog post.

I once was made late for a date by Critical Mass while on my bike, and I wasn't too happy about it.

Anonymous said...

Unless that Officer was executing a warrant or the cyclist had just committed a felony and was escaping and the officers were waiting for him ... the officer did not hold up a hand to stop him nor does he appear to warn him verbally before hitting him; in fact it appears in slow motion that the officer crouched down to brace himself for the hit; therefore, it sure looks like text book assault and battery, IMHO.

the weak link said...

What's this? A serious, well-written carefully worded tactful and constructive post by the Snober?

I don't like it.

jim said...

Thank you. Eloquently put, Bike Snob.

Anonymous said...

Joshua D:

That CNN video is in the state of Washington, not Washington DC. I love how the news media, especially NPR goes out of their way to pronounce names correctly, yet they get all lazy and refer to Washington DC as "Washington".

Jim said...

Strayhorn - thanks, that sounds like great advice. I've always gotten along really well with hippie chicks in spite of odor-mismatching (patchouli v. Qoleum) and leg hair differences (none v. the multitudes).

>>>>Regardless, it makes for better video than the 167 hours of Phil Ligget droning on about riders with homosexual overtones.

Oh, come on. There's nothing at all gay about an elderly man talking about how he misses his Big Tom Boonen...

Bikeslob 80220 said...

Where I'm from, its pronounced "Warshington". Most residents cannot locate either the nation's capitol or Nirvana's birthplace on a U.S. map.

Lucky 7 said...

There's just no way to know what happened outta frame on that sequence. However, in addition to the pieplate, Long also had two bags on, that is, one hip bag and a pack. I'm surprised he made it that far into the ride before he got smacked, bike swiped, and thrown in the poke. This just adds more credence to Pogan being a BSNYC reader.



A

Anonymous said...

Hey!! Bike Snob leave Bon Jovi out of it!!!! He's one of the few true poets yet to be tainted by the weakness of his fellow man.

And he's crazy sexy and he when I saw him in Sheffield I felt the glow of angels.


smoochae lovin' xx

Melting Iceberg said...

I'm a Critical Mass of one.

Once I thought bikes were lame and then was arrested on my first CM. The brilliant PD toss me in the clink with the other wanna-be bike punks and my life has never been the same.

Props on the blog. Not my first appearance on your blog but my first comment. Maybe you remember the 'big gay rickshaw driver'?

Who's streets?

stevep33 said...

Critical Mass is missing the point. Riding once a month in an aggressive and idiotic mob does nothing but make people despise cyclists.

It's the people who simply ride every day without an agenda who really demonstrate that cycling is fit to be considered mainstream transportation.

Joshua D said...

Anon 3:17,

Sorry - you're right, it was in Seattle.

Turds across America...

Tom said...

Stupidity in crowds.....damn and here I am commenting on this crowded blog.

Anonymous said...

I’m curious… at what point, as a bystander, is it legal (or justified) to intercede in an event like this? I mean, to me that looked like simple assault. If I were riding down the street and saw a man knock a cyclist over—for no apparent reason—I would feel a need to come to that cyclist’s side. But the fact that the man committing the assault is a uniformed police officer someone removes any right one may have from helping out. Is it ever legal to pull a cop off a “suspect”? Crazy video, though.

Anonymous said...

My two cents on Critical Mass...

I rode Critical Mass for years. Rode implying that I no longer do. Before I get into the why not's, I'll explain the why's.

I think that when many motorists see a person on a bicycle using the road instead of the sidewalk, they* instinctively see something out of place. I was a long-time driver as well, and from my experience people see the entirety of the road ahead of them as something that is theirs. Cars, bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, slow-moving trucks, pedestrians, etc., are seen as obstacles in their mission to move from point A to point B. Now unless pedestrians are walking on the street (which they shouldn't), all of the other items on the list would never be questioned as to a right to space on that road. Bicycles, on the other hand, are not usually seen as a legitimate piece of the landscape which makes up the road.

When I rode Critical Mass, this was why I enjoyed the ride: I enjoyed transforming that landscape and showing the people who witness the ride that bicycles are legitimately part of the road. My hopes were that even though some people were impeded in some way, or inconvenienced, maybe in the future there would be some automatic association and their first thought would not be "get off the road". Maybe instead they would figure out how to get around the bicycle without yelling.

Of course, this was why I rode. I had to stop going because of the insecurity of riding with people who rarely ride their bikes and then go out en masse intoxicated to wobble around and scare the shit out of me. I still think though, that in theory, the ride does serve a purpose. And it so varies city to city. The ride here is vastly different to the ride in NY, as are motorists' attitudes towards bicycles. The traffic here moves fast, there's urban sprawl, and we are rated one of the worst cities for road rage. However, the cars that got pissed off in the Critical Mass ride never scared me as much as the inexperienced riders that have no clue how to hold their line, travel in a group, or show a general awareness to their surroundings.

*Yes, this is a generalization, which is sometimes an appropriate approach to take when talking about groups.

ice cube said...

When you zip by traffic the feeling of resentment you see in the drivers face is almost comical. Most have bike racks too, mountain-bikers no doubt. The same mountain-scum who ride on the sidewalk, on the wrong side of the road, IN THE ROAD, Stop for phone calls and who have an average cadance of 300 but only achieve 10mph.

ant1st said...

anon 3:06 - thanks. I appreciate the appreciation.

Anonymous said...

Crashing icebergs indeed. And to that I'll add that riding in CM is like taunting a kimodo dragon with a bloody limb. Don't be a bloody idiot in the territory of a foul-mouthed lizard.

To paraphrase a Reno 911 psa:

"People always complain, 'But I wasn't doing anything.' Here's an idea: If you don't want to get shot, try really not doing anything."

Not condoning, just observing.

leroy said...

BSNYC -- I was wondering how you would approach this. It's not an easy subject.

Your post was more than just good writing. Anyone can write well with a little practice. Your writing is impressive because you analyze subjects with a novel, interesting and persuasive voice.

It is difficult to write about this in a non-sanctimonious manner from any viewpoint. You managed that.

But I differ with you on this a bit.

Yes, CM rides have always seemed stupid to me, but stupidity is not a crime.

On the other hand, intentionally slamming a random passing cyclist on to the ground is more than stupid. It is a whole bunch of crimes -- even if (actually, especially if)you have a uniform and a badge.

So while I agree with your post (what a shock, I know, that's probably what's causing the tremors in LA just now), I have to add that Officer Pogan was more than just stupid.

It's difficult to watch that video without getting angry, and this time I'm not referring to the fact that crowds will do incredibly dumb things that no one individual would ever do.

Pogan's three week career as a New York City cop is almost certainly over. And that is exactly as it should be.

The irony? A rookie cop has to get used to being seen as a "uniform" -- a member of a group and not an individual. Pogan's mistake was picking an individual on which to vent anger at a group.

chris M said...

Thank you for this post.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ice Cube,

Why are mountain bikers scum?

If I ride road and mountain bikes, am I half-breed scum?

An asshole is an asshole, regardless of what kind of saddle it perches on.

JPB

CycloTube.com said...

Awfully sincere BSNYC. Not bad, mind you, but definitely sincere.

so-breezy said...

note about critical mass in ny and seattle

in nyc, the guy supposedly assaulted someone earlier in the ride

in seattle, the man in the car ran over one person and into another before any violence occurred.

carry on

Anonymous said...

Legally, yes, an officer can use excess force and can be committing assault. The person being arrested can even kill an officer in self defense.

Practically? Try it. Watch how fast you get shot.

ant1st said...

JPB -
"An asshole is an asshole, regardless of what kind of saddle it perches on."
That's good, you should license it to Snobby.

KanyonKris said...

iPhone - what's that? I thought I was in line for a Newton.

leviathan said...

Joshua D:

From everything I've read and the accounts from the people involved, the critical mass shit in Seattle was started by the driver plowing through the group of riders and driving over one of the riders leg because he was late for a reservation. Granted I wasn't there and I find critical mass kind of stupid and contrary to the whole "share the road" idea but that shit is still uncalled for and if that is indeed what happened, he had it coming.

specialrider said...

that cop was 22! Jeeez, he had the physique of a 20 year vet on a steady diet of donuts...since he's 3rd generation he could have been the result of some black ops police eugenics experiment gone bad (or good depending on your point of view).

Aaron Edge said...

"Meanwhile, a mob of people on crappy bikes blocking traffic one day a month isn’t a “mass” at all. At best it's a party. At worst it’s effectively just one big stupid person."

— You are so right on today sir!

ice cube said...

JPB,

Do you ride on the sidewalk? Do you ride in the middle of the road? Do you ride on the wrong side of the road? Do you take your dog out and let him pull you? Do you wear sandals while riding, flip-flops for example? Do you use a 6ft wire lock and only lock it around your top tube and not wrap the rest around anything else?

The act of mountain biking is fun, no doubt about it. However the general behavior of mountain bikers I see on the road ie. the sidewalk is retarded. Look around and watch...you'll see....you'll see.

P.S. Critical Mass(es) are for the afforementioned sidewalk riders.

specialrider said...

it was Judge Dredd!

short hair said...

I love how CNN and other news spin things, they barely mention that the driver ran over TWO people before getting his tires slashed and windows broken in. So snobby which is worse, a critical mass of idiots riding really slow down the street or a critical mass of idiots riding faster then they can handle down the street in a cat 4/5 race?

short hair said...

and I now see I am not the only one jumping on the defend the rider band wagon ... my bad

ervinsd said...

bsnyc said "On the other hand, intelligence travels alone, but it travels swiftly"...

...a perfect synopsis of my habits and avoidence of stupidity in groups/CM...

...apologies to bgw...

E

ChrisA said...

Weak post.

Get over yourself. It was an unprovoked assault by a policeman in uniform. Real funny. Must be 'cause everyone except you is stupid.

I grew up in NYC and rode all over that town for a lot of years. I also lived in the Loisada. NYC cops are - in my experience - stupid, violent, criminal assholes. I've seen so many arbitrary beatings and a couple of shootings, it's (part of) why I can't live there anymore.

ant1st said...

chrisa - you're the only idiot here.

ZiP said...

while i thought the post was fairly well written, it does boil down to exactly what this person said:

"It was an unprovoked assault by a policeman in uniform."

not cool.

Anonymous said...

Ice Cube,

I actually do ride in the middle of the road and the wrong way in bike lane, when the situation calls for it. Part of the reason I love bikes is the ability to ride them on whatever road, sidewalk, loading dock or retaining wall I feel like.

I do get your point though. Some people do dumb things on bikes. I just try not get in anybody's way while I am doing it.

JPB

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don' think the cyclist has much of a case against the cop.

I re-watched the video and the cop and his partner, after standing in the middle of the street not doing anything, began walking to the camera side of street when the biker approached and tried to go between the curb and the cop. The cop saw this as a threat and blammo...

just sayin, it's not exactly random or unprovoked assault.

Sean Lynch said...

Agent K (Tommie Lee Jones) from Men In Black:

"A person is smart. People are dumb."

veloben said...

RTMS,

This is simply the most thought provoking and reasoned post of your short career.

You have summed up and more eloquently stated than I could an excellent analysis on every topic.

I would disagree that Officer Pogan's actions can be put in a context that makes 2008 society look less respectful or decent than another prior year.

The police will always have members who think they are the law. Smacking a cyclist, shooting a guy n his wedding night just waypoints on the scale.

Of course the cyclist gets cited for obstructing traffic, the out of control cop gets desk duty (with pay) and maybe a write up. Let's hope Pogan's move is the Darwin Award for the family's next generation of NYPD officers.

And yes Critical Mass is really dumb, but one person's stupidity doesn't excuse another violence, except in self defense.

ant1st said...

zip - yes it was, but I have a feeling that BSNYC was just using that incident to do a post about CM rides, not necessarily to comment on the assault.

Anonymous said...

dude, if that was prolly, he would have tailwhip-bunnyhopped to avoid that pig in one motion, then throwdown a skid on his face just 2 reprezent

Anonymous said...

I don't condone what Officer Pogan did, it was totally over the top and uncalled for; but, if you remove the bike from the equation, how is this situation any different than any other Public Protest that gets out of hand? This is what frequently happens when a large crowd of protesters or demonstrators meets Law Enforcement. Sure, it sucks, but historically speaking this was fairly mild compared to similar instances in the past.

I guess I'm saying, if you take part in this sort of an event, know that this can happen, and frequntly does.

JPB

veloben said...

ice cube,

Why do you think drivers resent you when you are zipping by?

Just asking as that isn't my reaction when passed while stuck in traffic?

ice cube said...

JPB,

There are always circumstances..I just happen to notice some fellows doing these things on a semi-daily basis. Scenario: Say I am riding north I will almost assuredly be run down by a mtn jock heading south in my lane. Suppose I am riding down a mtn like this? The uproar would be dangerous down at the coffee shop or whole foods store! I might be 86ed from the vegan restaurant. I do understand circumstance.....but I don't understand reckless behavior on the road with traffic.

ice cube said...

veloben,

I notice it more from cyclists in cars/trucks because THEY KNOW they could be home already and enjoy the ride. Surely we can all relate in some way. Being in a cab, bus, hot sweltering car w/o a/c etc, etc, etc.

Johnny La Rue said...

Perhaps Long should have had a double shot of EPO before hitting the streets. Then, and only then, would he have been able to deftly deke out Officer Pogo's charge, like a Spanish bullfighter in the afternoon sun. That's the straight dope on dope. Use it before you lose it.

Anonymous said...

fuck the critical massers. I did not even watch the video but whatever the cop did, I am all for it. And I'm a cyclist!

Jeff said...

...and that kids, is why you always wear your helmet.

Judging from the video, the cop had picked this guy out for a reason...it doesn't look like a random assault--there's definitely more to the story than the video shows.

Russ said...

Critical Mass is a social event for bicycle tourists.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Snob! Way to go, Snobby! I think what Snobby was trying to say was... Snob just means that...

When you become such a pathetic sycophant, are you aware that it's happening? "Publicly", so you feel like a moron calling someone "Snobby"? Do you feel like you lost your balls somewhere between kneeling down and puckering up?

Just curious.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Jeff,

when I looked at the video, the reason Long was selected appeared to me because he was at the beginning of another group. Pogan and the other cop had one group go smoothly around them, and in a break, Pogan seemed to have the time to single out Long and start moseying towards the curb. Long tries to evade, but Pogan moves in.

The real lesson seems to be "don't lose the wheel in front of you."

And I've always thought CM was kind of dumb, preferring the "small mobile unit" philosophy.

TBV

Anonymous said...

Snob, this post has a Ronald Reaganesque quality to it. The lone, self-made cyclist pulls himself up by his bootstraps and betters the world in ways the idiotic collective never could. All the more impressive, this sentiment really captures the zeitgeist of current-day Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

I ride bikes- alot. I drive a car- alot. I know and obey the rules of the road riding my bike and driving my car so no one gets hurt and people don't get pissed. CM pisses off drivers, including me, and that makes riding more dangerous for riders, including me. So CM sucks. And I bet that cop was spit on, flipped off and screamed at as CM rode past. Do the crime, get pushed onto the pavement. Big deal.

Anonymous said...

Line or no my iPhone now has a Gear calculating App installed so now while I am not rididng I can sit around working out more outrageous Gear set ups. Who says there aren't cyclists out there in Silicon valley!!

Surlysimon

Anonymous said...

FUCK Critical Mass- it is way past being relevant. Kind of like fuxsters.

leroy said...

Is it just me or do other folks get the impression that there is one guy with anger management issues posting numerous times anonymously?

Just asking.

Andy Pandy said...

I refuse to get an iphone/ mobile phone or similar bits of junk. I am making a public service stance on behalf of Max Smart, Superman, Doctor Who, couples who cannot afford cheap motels and any other phone box users ( drug users excluded). They deserve the decency to continue their duties/hormonal overload unhindered by technological progress

Anonymous said...

A-fucking-men

Corey said...

I've read your blog a couple times now. This entry is pure written beauty. As a cyclist and a blogger who blogs about cycling and more specifically cyclist's rights and what not I can say with total confidence that I love you... in a totally straight, brotherly kind of way.

Anonymous said...

I've been riding my bike in traffic for 36 years. CM is a cult which may be very beneficial to its members but does nothing to promote my interests as a commuting cyclist.

leroy said...

Anon 8:42 PM

You've been riding your bike in traffic for 36 years and you're still not home yet?

Yeesh.

That would make me grumpy too.

Now excuse me, I gotta ride home to Brooklyn. I'll be going through Times Square one block south of Officer Pogan's one man bike pogrom.

Good thing there's no CM ride to hang me up in traffic.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with Critical Mass. I think it's inconsiderate to the public. Can you imagine if, say, an online club of classic car owners held their own critical mass and blocked off a major bridge or thoroughfare? (Granted, this would never happen because it's no fun to just sit in a car barely moving, whereas being on a bike is always fun, but you get the idea.)

That said, what happened to the rider was an abomination. The worst part of is NOT the knocking down. It's that he then spent 26 hours in jail and faced false charges for assaulting a cop!! C'mon Bike Snob, how can that not outrage you?

Bluenoser said...

The best work is done alone because authority fears the masses.

-B

Der Blaue Reiter said...

man, you nailed how I feel about masses! ride on...

Anonymous said...

Those of us who have spent so many years riding in traffic have no sympathy for the young men and women wearing tight pants, tube tops, little hats etc. And the fact that you all seem to be riding in NYC is not a point in your favor. Should we all just stop and light a candle and have a very heartfelt vigil for you because you ran into a cop's fist? Please. I certainly don't expect you to come and visit me when my rotting body is found in the tub...so don't expect me to get very involved in your "street cred" bash with The Man.

Oh..."major props to that"...dickheads

Anonymous said...

do you have prince albert in a can? well let him out!!!

bikesgonewild said...

...thanks for a particularly poignant piece, bsnyc/rtms...

...obvious lack of communication between the judiciary & enforcement arms of the law...either way, that is a unjustifiably major assault by the cop...no fucking doubt...

...in 'podunk, that would cost him his job but in nyc, the boys in blue are patting him on the back & going "good on you, pogo...show those little bitches how a real nyc man protests"...

...that being said, w/ this incident & the recent fracas in seattle, you would think c-massers would see beyond the "street party" they hold for themselves...

...someday maybe a critical mass organizer (if there are such creatures) is gonna take an objective look at what's being created & devise a more intelligent manner to spread a better message...

...hopefully before it's too late...

Anonymous said...

The kid obviously doesnt play hockey.

quaffimodo said...

One big stupid person. Perfect.

Anonymous said...

short hair you're an idiot. Nuff said.

a Sunnyvale rider said...

Critical mass makes enemies. When you have the urge to ride CM, go to a town council meeting, instead, or go volunteer (or start!) your local bike advocacy group.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a good post, Snobby. I'm glad to see someone put such a straight-forward and reasonable opinion on CM. Ever since this and Seatle the past week I've seen nothing but people demonizing CM (as some of the comments here do). I've ridden with about 5 CMs now and I realize their shortcomings, however I don't do it as a protest or even to raise awareness so much, just because I have fun. All opinion on the jerk off cop has been stated already, so let me just say to keep up the snark!

Pishawww said...

Pishaww.

mander said...

Great title today RTMS.

jessica said...

snobby i think your harshness towards apple is quiet unjust...it is apparent they only have the our best interests in mind

"A job at the Apple Store is a chance to use your hands and heart. To use your knowledge and experience. To contribute meaningfully to people's lives through Apple technology." via craigslist.org/jobs

imagine being so enriched!
it is too bad the officer didnt choose to pursue a career in electronics retail instead, if only we all could engage in philanthropic intention

Anonymous said...

I rode one Critical Mass... and here's what happened.

First I rescued a kid from being arrested for doing something stupid (riding his bike onto Lake Shore Drive in Chicago) by starting a mob chant to let him go (knowingly using the mob versus two cop mentality). So they let him go. Then, the VERY SAME art school hipster I had rescued moved in next door to me a month later and had very lame but loud parties *every* night of the week and my husband and I had to go over there and covertly destroy their sound system. I wish I had let him get arrested.

Then ... on the same ride a taxi almost ran over a dog in one of those kiddie carts that are attatched to the rear of a bike. The cab had a fare who was a couple of old ladies late to the theater. Oddly enough, the person trying to stop the cabbie from inching forward literally over this dog trapped in this awful bike cart contraption was an actor, a rather ironic event. Finally a cop stopped the cabbie because even he could see this man from Pakistan was out of his mind.

So yeah ... Critical Mass... I don't know...

But bicycles ARE a part of traffic and I suppose in the end there are as many morons on fixed gears with no brakes and platform pedals as there are idiots in SUVs who are too short to see over the dashboard and talking on their cell phones anyways.

Philip Williamson said...

That looks like a pretty well-practiced "knock a guy off a bike" move from the cop there.

"Cinzano-style" with the nightstick is probably even more effective, though

Anonymous said...

the "build up" is a fun activity that is sure to please every cyclist. however some components are not safe...for instance the "track" frame.

the "track" frame is not suitable for use, and should be taken to the nearest fire station for disposal.

Anonymous said...

another problem is the "rusty" component. "rusty" components can fail unexpectedly and are not safe. you can disassemble "rusty" components safely using a power saw or torch. always use protective eyewear.

Anonymous said...

many cyclists enjoy riding in groups. this can be accomplished safely by riding single file. cyclists who do not ride single file are frequently struck.

Anonymous said...

well said

Anonymous said...

Reading your take on it helped me get out from underneath my covers where I thought I might have to stay forever after watching that video....

And may I suggest that you are not a snob, but an elitist....and it's a warranted elitism....

fist bump.

Jonathan said...

Sorry for the long post.

On the day of that Critical Mass ride I had a Guy in a truck run a stop sign at a two way stop and almost hit me. I was practically pitched over my handle bars stopping. I called out "Hey, you didn't see me!?!" I was flipped off. I went on my way made a right on the next street and there he was just sitting a block up waiting for me waving his middle finger. We had words. There was a row of cars on the left of me, so I passed in front of him. Big mistake. When I was squarely in front of him he hits the gas!! He misses catching my back tire, I let the back slide and narrowly avoiding a crash (mountain biking pays off!). At the light I invited him to step outside of his big Chevy truck. He drives off. Bullies never change. A guy at the bike shop finished the description of him as I told the story while having my wheel trued.

My point here?

Critical Mass, although I supported it at one time, is pissing people off who drive lethal weapons if they choose to use them. Yeah, there's only been one CM ride in Phoenix which was almost ten years ago, but the videos on the web are everywhere. The real social revolution is like the Bike Snob has said in using your bike all the time, so that you lead by example.

Okay, I'm still a little ticked off about Friday and still a little afraid to ride during rush hour. Still doing it though.

Anonymous said...

hmm... alliteration ( i think i spelled that right)... from puns to alliteration in the title... i like it! It reminds me of my own progress from fourth to fifth grade reading materials (um, for those of you about to attack me, this is actually NOT sarcastic) ... now lets see puns are to recumbents as alliteration is to ... here's where i can't decide between unicycles and people who ride old school banana seat Huffys.

I think maybe unicycles win.

peturbed said...

I did that CM ride, and was whizzing by in that times square video. Just a few things. The people I know who do the CM ride, either regularly, or from time to time, live on their bikes. It's not a monthly experience. It's a way of life, for most of us. I commute, transport, travel, visit, play, what have you. I ride, all year round, no matter what the weather is.
I do the ride, because I am putting my life at risk every time I go out on the street. I got clipped by an SUV, last night, as he was trying to make a light, so he could continue to be stuck in traffic on the next block. A friend of mine was hospitalized because a minivan took her out on Canal St.
Drivers are not aware of cyclists. And it is dangerous, for all of you! This might seem stupid, but even if it hits home for a few people, or even one person. Hey, those grungy unruly ragtag losers on rusty old bikes, might've said something there.. and it almost looks like fun.
The way the NYC ride has become, with all the police actions, is that it usually doesn't have a lot of riders, or the ride gets splintered into smaller rides... because the police have systematically broken the rides apart.
This past Fridays ride was a very low key ride. We even rode on the damn bike path along the Hudson. There was no energy for any kind of "civil action". We were in lower Manhattan, where there was little to no traffic, and it was a fun group ride... going at a nice pace through the city. No police along the way, and no problems. When we hit Times Square, there was so much car traffic, that the ride was totally splintered and people were just trying to make their way through the traffic. No stopping, no demonstrations, just like an regular day, trying to make it through Times Square..
My experience though, is that The cops in Times Square, specifically are beasts. Looking back on the March 2007 ride. as an example, where it just became a police riot.
Last Friday, there were a ton of Rookie Cops, looking to flex some muscle. The guy that got body checked rides for a living. and is a gentle soul. He said and did nothing to provoke that 22 year old. He was chosen because he looked like an easy take down.
Say what you will about this. I unfortunately agree with your stupidity summation. But there's a greater learning process tied to this seemingly stupid folly. Less Cars.. more bikes.

totalchaud said...

Excellent post Snob...I can't explain in words my disdain for CM here in Vancouver.

Midi said...

critical mass in london like New york is a pointless redundant bike advocacy action.. that can annoy drivers.

the biggest difference is in london the police

a) don't stand in the road looking for trouble

and

b) give the mass a police escort to deal with road rage incidents that occur from time to time..if anything they are there to protect the cyclists

the whole childish thing is over in a hour

Boris
London

Renato said...

This is one of the most entertaining, and well-written blogs I've ever read. Especially towards the end, I totally agree! I love you Bikesnob.

Anonymous said...

CM. Bah. A bunch of hipster drunks who are going to leave town as soon as they graduate, that is unless they score a sweet job bagging groceries. Remember the convention days? Couldn't even ride to work without a hassle because of those fuckers.

ani said...

yeah, the whole point is less bikes more cars..
wait i mean the other way around.
less cars more cops. nope, wrong again.
more bikes, more cars, more cops.
damn. eventually, for my own sanity, I'm gonna have to move out of NYC.

sd said...

i grew up in a texas football town. that's definitely more of a block than a tackle.

ant1st said...

Anon 5:51 - When you start calling people out without putting your name on the comment, do you even realize you have no balls, plus you're dickless?

Wutz said...

It's obvious that the cop didn't see this guy. He was simply turning to run away (covering his virgin eyes to avoid having the image of cyclists in his eyes) and ran in to a ne'er-do-well hooligan on accident.

Had the cyclist been using this, he would have been fine.

http://www.monkeylectric.com/


But seriously, fuck that cop, fuck stupid drivers (that almost hit me), and fuck the media for siding with the drivers in almost every instance of bike+car interaction.

Sorry for the outburst, I'm just salty today.

Carry on...

Pack Phil said...

wutz, you didn't finish your comment. In the section where each phrase begins with "fuck...". You forgot the "fuck the stupid cyclists."

Here's the math: critical mass + critical mass media + cars + badge + just about anything else = a lot of stupid people

As if bike riders don't get pissed off about cars being in the way. How many of us have slapped the fender or mirror of an asshole car--a hand hitting a car is a bit different than a car hitting a hand, but it's the same concept--anger. CM will invoke anger in non-cyclists (and intelligent cyclists as well), and it doesn't appear to be achieving any goal, other than provding a place for stupid things to happen.

chump said...

thanks for the critical mass critique. I too am an adamant anti-masser. the (i know I'm not original here) massholes tend only to piss motorists off, and that makes the roads much more dangerous for the rest of us. I break my fair share of laws, but I try not to irritate anyone that I don't have to.

Bob Saccomano said...

You know, it's just not really, really stupid until the New York Post chimes in:

ARROGANT CYCLISTS A DEADLY HELL ON WHEELS

Andea Peyser is an asshole.

Jonathan said...

Peturbed,

It's a question of strategy. Critical Mass is 10 years old roughly. In that ten years I have seen hostilities toward cyclists increase. Yes, road rage in general has increased as well. I just don't see any progress being made with the rides. The press doesn't report the CM stance accurately, ha little surprise there and public opinion is becoming more negative everyday.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

You can do a CM ride every month if you like, but all that's going to happen is more of the same. Your not changing perspectives for the positive. Even worse as you can see on many cycling blogs, it's dividing the cycling community rather than uniting it.

Time for a new game plan.

bob saccomano said...

her email address is:

andrea.peyser@nypost.com

Anonymous said...

purposely impeding traffic without a permit so emergency vehicles can plan alternate routes ahead of time is not only annoying to regular motorists, but illegal and could be costly (think about a granny having a heart attack and needing to get to the hospital, the car she's in (presumably someone other than granny driving) runs into CM, granny dies). If they want a well organized, productive CM, the organizers should apply for a permit to hold the event so they'll be in the legal right when it comes to motorists, they could legally get police protection, and so they won't seem like a bunch of ignorant dumbasses.
there was a cm in my city and they blocked my way to work. i'm not getting fired for a bunch of dirty scene kids riding around on their fixed gear bikes drinking pbr talking about how much they love tegan and sarah.

Commiecanuk said...

Wow. I'm glad I read Peyser's article, I had no idea of the CARNAGE on NY streets from MARAUDING cyclists, and the ensuing MURDER.
Why, an average of 1 person dies every year from bicycle collisions (average, meaning most years it's zero, sometimes it's two). In a city of 19 million, this is unacceptable, it's as bad as Beirut or Baghdad.

Funny, but Peyser somehow forgot to mention that an average of 38 people are killed by cars every year while walking in Manhattan.

But that's ok.

ant1st said...

Thanks bob, I just sent her a nicely worded email. What a bitch.

Arrogant cyclist said...

Fawk awf, y'coonts..die...die..!

nohighclimber said...

ice cubehead - you're a pretty high and mighty self righteous leg shaving "biker" and I suspect you have pretty bad body odor. I'm sure you never do anything "wrong" on your crap limited use bike. If I may join you in generalizing, you're generally an asshole. "Jock mt biker?" why so repressed? let us know when you come to terms with your homosexuality.

roomservicetaco said...

To any of the commenters who say that the policeman must have been justified in some way or that "there must be more to the story" read the sworn statement that Pogan files:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0729081bike1.html

The officer claims that the cyclist drove his bicycle directly into the officer, causing the officer to fall over and suffer lacerations. In other words, he lied.

Given that, it's difficult to believe that this was anything but an act of criminal violence by an officer in uniform who later committed perjury.

ant1st said...

I just got an email response from Andrea at the NY Post. Here's what she had to say:
"wow. I've never seen such hatred of plain facts."
I, of course, replied, this time insulting her rather than her article.
I hope she gets hit by a car while jay walking across the street and her doctor tells her to get a bike for rehab.

m poppins said...

ARROGANT PEDESTRIANS A DEADLY HELL IN SHOES

dopepedaler said...

First it was Chris Simon and now Officer Pogan. Stop being so angry...go home and Fofonov like the rest of do.

Anonymous said...

Check it! Andrea Peyser rides a fixie WITHOUT brakes. Her underarms smell like an anchovy's c*nt too.

Commiecanuk said...

I just got an answer from Peyser as well. She said that "500 collisions annually was not insignificant, or even one death."
Um..this is New York.19 million people.

From 1995-2005:
Total Crashes: 39026
Injuries: 38581
Fatalities: 445
For 2005 alone, 2,933 people were hit by cars, and 38 killed. So not only are you 6X more likely to be hit by a car, but you are 38X more likely to die.
You are 900-1000X more likely to get murdered in NY than killed by a cyclist.
With 45,000 annual assaults, you are 88X more likely to get hit by someone else other than a bicycle rider.

Andrew said...

Setting an example is not the main way of influencing people - it is the only way.

Cool The Kid said...

CM is so dumb

It's one thing to foster advocacy for bikes

But the act of CM in itself has no positive outcome for neither the biking community nor the cities it clogs up.

I don't hang out in Manhattan ever so it doesn't really bother me. I will say this though, if you are looking to get laid, and aren't so full of yourself that a mate w/good hygeine is a must, the Times Up! parties are definitely a good place to wet your beak, so to speak

sluts said...

prolly... you're back!!! i missed you.

Anonymous said...

I particpated in one CM and saw nothing positive in the message they were attempting to deliver. Just a lot of angry people on bikes giving drivers another reason to hate us.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8.58

Maybe you haven't lived in NYC. But there is one cardinal rule of getting into trouble or dealing with NYPD is:
Don't get arrested on a weekend (or a Friday night), if you don't want to spend the whole weekend in the hookie.
NYPD is short-staffed on weekends. All the lawyers are out in the Hamptons.

CM in NYC continually blows off this rule, which is one of many reasons why they are so stupid.

Also, when a cop tells you to stop -- try stopping.

Anonymous said...

CM'er's like to think of themselves as the vanguard of some progressive social movement. Taken as such, they routinely violate a cardinal principle of progressive movements:

Be the change you want to see in the world (thanks Gandhi).

So, let's see, by blocking intersections, blowing off traffic laws, raising their fists, taking over the roads CM'ers want to the world to be like a bunch of SUV drivers stuck in traffic on their way to a Yankees game.

And peturbed--I ride a bike in traffic every day here as well. It's not all that risky if you don't bike like a complete fool. Nor do I feel the need to get all self-righteous with motorists once a month on a friday evening.

Anonymous said...

Critical mass is the bike equivalent of support-our- troops ribbon stickers: a simplistic and self-serving reasons gesture.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest you use your nightstick officer?

Conscientia Atrox said...

Of course this is a little late but a friend just sent me this link to a cops BBS where they are ranting about this with a noticeable difference of opinion from this site's tone. Not for the faint of heart. (http://theerant.yuku.com/topic/7789/t/Video-shows-NYPD-cop-assaulting-cyclist.html?page=1)

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Speaking of urban(e) cycling, you may be interested in two columns by the SF Chronicle's Jon Carrol

Wheels on Fire, and a followup,


Wheels on fire, take two


TBV

Anonymous said...

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups!

ashhar said...

Thank you for the wonderful effort

إني تذكـرت والذكرى مؤرقـة * مجـداً تلـيدا بأيـدينا أضعـناه
أنَّى اتجهتَ للإسـلام في بـلـدٍ * تجْده كالطيرِ مقصـوصًا جناحـاه
كـم صرفتنا يـدٌ كنـا نـصرفها * وبات يـملكنا شعب مـلكناه
بالله سل خلف
بحر الروم عن عرب *

بالأمس كانوا هنا واليوم قد تاهوا
وانزل دمشق وسائل صخر مسجدها * عمن بناه لعل الـصخر ينعـاه
هذى معـالم خرس كـل واحـدة * منهن قامت خطيبـا فاغرا فـاه
الله يعلم ما قلبت سـيرتهم يومـا * وأخطـأ دمـع الـعين مـجراه
يا من يرى عمـراتكسوه بردته * الزيت أدمٌ لـه والكـوخ مـأواه
يهتز كسـرى على كرسيه فرقـا * من خوفه ، وملوك الروم تخشـاه
يا رب فابعث لنا من مثلهم نفـرا * يشـيدون لـنا مـجدا أضعنـاه

ashhar said...

Thank you for the wonderful effort

إني تذكـرت والذكرى مؤرقـة * مجـداً تلـيدا بأيـدينا أضعـناه
أنَّى اتجهتَ للإسـلام في بـلـدٍ * تجْده كالطيرِ مقصـوصًا جناحـاه
كـم صرفتنا يـدٌ كنـا نـصرفها * وبات يـملكنا شعب مـلكناه
بالله سل خلف بحر الروم عن عرب * بالأمس كانوا هنا واليوم قد تاهوا
وانزل دمشق وسائل صخر مسجدها * عمن بناه لعل الـصخر ينعـاه
هذى معـالم خرس كـل واحـدة * منهن قامت خطيبـا فاغرا فـاه
الله يعلم ما قلبت سـيرتهم يومـا
* وأخطـأ دمـع الـعين

مـجراه

يا من يرى عمـراتكسوه بردته *

الزيت أدمٌ لـه والكـوخ مـأواه

يهتز كسـرى على كرسيه فرقـا * من خوفه ،

وملوك الروم تخشـاه

يا رب فابعث لنا من مثلهم نفـرا * يشـيدون لـنا مـجدا أضعنـاه

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