We ride the last Friday of every month all year round. Meet at confederation park (elgin and laurier) at 5:30, ride leaves at 6pm!

This is a team blog. To join the team (and get access to post and/or administer the site), email criticalmassottawa@gmail.com

Saturday, November 26, 2005

postives, and a negative

Hey, all

Last night was my first critical mass experience, and I just wanted to say that I had a great time. I think all the attention to safety was really great, as was the sharing and helping that happened beforehand to get everyone's bikes in darkness-appropriate riding shape! The experience overall was a pretty wholly positive one. I'm really looking forward to future rides and seeing more of everyone in the future!

Now, far be it from me to focus on the negative, but I just think it's important to address something that came up last night. I was extremely dismayed, and surprised, to hear the sexist comments made before the ride as we were assembled at Confederation Park. That is to say, the "messengers on the outside, girls and people who ride slower on the inside" remark. I missed the exact nuances of how it was phrased, but in any event- that's some serious bullshit, y'all.

Gender essentialism: the belief that due to circumstances of biology, men and women are "naturally" different in terms of character or ability.

As far as I can tell, gender essentialism has nothing to do with
a) being against cars
b) loving bikes

As far as I can tell, having a vagina doesn't determine whether
a) I am against cars
b) I love bikes
c) I should be able to feel comfortable in activist communities
d) I ride my bike slow or fast

As was said at the time- we're all here together because we're against cars. I'd like to think we're also all against misogynst garbage. There's no place for this kind of nonsense in a "movement" that's trying to make the world better. Thanks.

- Pamela


Anonymous kralingen said...

I agree 100% - if the cocenr was riding speed (faster riders on the outside) then that is what should have been said.

I'm sorry I missed it - I'd show them who's fast :P

12:31 PM

Anonymous Pamela said...

Totally! It was obvious that riding speed was the concern (and it's a very valid concern!) but there was no need for it to be phrased in the way it was. I think a lot of people missed the comment, but there were also a lot of us who "boo"ed!

It was pretty obvious, watching all of us ride, that there are all kinds of ladies who are PLENTY fast and aggressive!!

7:41 PM

Anonymous Rob Y said...

Hey Pam!

I just found out about this blog from a friend. It was an interesting ride, that was my first critical mass, I'd have to say I'm pretty happy about it. The atmosphere was great, and for the most part the cars were pretty good too. I liked how a lot of people were waving and honking at us. I remember turning one corner and I took a look at the people inside of the car at the lights. There were two people inside, smiling away, waving at us, it was nice. :) I also gave my first bicycle high five!

I too disagree with his comment!

Riding up bank street I was at the head of the mass with two women. The three of us seemed to be keeping speed just fine. :)

I took a few photos, enjoy!

10:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that there is no place for sexism in Critical Mass. I'm so happy that others spoke up to nip that comment in the butt.
I can't wait for the next mass!
Sara P.

9:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the slower riders and girls staying to the centre has nothing to do with speed or how good of a rider you are
its because the inside/ centre lane more than , out side lanes of the mass of riders is used for the couriers or blockers who ride from the back to the front of the pack at speed,after blocking an intercetion,and since they are coming from behind you and its imposible for you to here them, if your in there way they will likey rubb against, as they are passing and for them with little or no braking power this is normal, at speed, but scarey for the un prepared. second reseason , poeple sometime react in strange ways when inraged by cyclists, and have thrown trash garbage cans , benchs,or what ever into the Mass, or grabbed riders from the sidewalk ! BEWARE

7:46 PM

Anonymous Pamela said...

Dear Anonymous #2...

Oyyy. Where to begin?

You obviously totally missed the ENTIRE POINT which is that the gender specification was totally unnecessary.

I UNDERSTAND that the outside lane is for courier and blockers and that the inside is for people who aren't. However, I fail to see how a person's gender has anything to do with that. A person's gender DOESN'T have anything to do with it. Girls can be couriers. Girls can be blockers. There were just as many boys who WEREN'T blockers as there were girls who weren't.

Girls can handle being "bumped" by fast rides just as well as boys can. Even if well-intentioned, treating us like delicate, fragile flowers who can't fend for ourselves is still sexist.

I also think it sucked that when the offensive comment was brought up AT THE RIDE, the maker of said comment couldn't even apologize. He doesn't get to decide what offends people, and when things are said that DO offend people in our own community, we have a responsibility to apologize and try to hear their side.

9:59 PM

Anonymous jenn said...

"the slower riders and girls staying to the centre has nothing to do with speed or how good of a rider you are"

this is sexist bullshit.

i'm a year round cyclist and a WOMAN. how dare you imply i'm a weaker cyclist, or less able to take care of myself, or less able to ride in a critical mass ride or a less aggressive because i'm female!


beware of what?? beware of your prejudice against women - or beware your awful spelling????

7:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will just repeat what I said at the time, which is that a penis won't protect you from a car. If you don't understand that then you aren't very safe to be on the road and should probably stay off your bike cause you're just going to hurt yourself.

The comment about gender was so unwelcome and definately did not give me a very good impression of the person who said it. He told me afterwards that he as only passing it on from somebody else, but I think he was just trying to deny responsibility.

I don't welcome anybody who makes comments like that, they had better stop.

11:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch out for the Feminazis!They have bikes!

3:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny you mention safety and yet I see a lot with no helmets or lights on at night. You people should practice what you preach

10:13 PM


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