The Miami Critical Mass Meetup Group Message Board › Friday Night: The Gap Dilemma

Friday Night: The Gap Dilemma

A former member
Post #: 165
0
Prem Lee B.
Premitive1
Miami, FL
Post #: 43
This same issue has been brought up at the fixed gear website.
While I somewhat agree that the situation is more complex than merely some people at the front going faster than the mass should, I think this is a big issue.
I noticed this month that there was a group who led the group, accelerated like madmen after every red light, but then these people would soon be overtaken by others who would come up from the left lane, take the front, soon to be replaced again by the original group as they made their way back to the front.

I think a possible simply solution to this situation (i don't know how successful it could be, but i had the idea what the mass was going north on 1 laned biscayne a few months back) is to maintain the mass in 1 lane, except for corkers and the like who are specifically trying to get past a large group of people.

But the idea of passing those in front of you, except in certain circumstances, is actually antithetical to the general idea of critical mass. no one needs to be passing anyone if they're just a participant in the mass. Moving to the left lane, especially the wrong lane of traffic, simply to pass a FEW people is both pointless and an obstruction to corkers who must move quickly to the head of the mass.

As someone pointed out on the fixed gear forum, and as I've thought before, the only "resolution" for the time being is to have volunteers direct the mass. and encourage those at the front to cork.
Really, if everyone at the front would cork, like a general rule "if you lead the pack you must cork for it" we wouldn't need anything else.
but instead there's a group of people who constantly push the front forward without any care for those they leave behind.

thoughts?
Andy R.
AndyRodriguez
Miami, FL
Post #: 15
Great post Robert ...

I did some research and found a few other cities where the CM movement has encountered similar situations due to growth, here are a few ideas as well we can try and implement:

1) Stop regularly if you're in front (no matter how slowly you think you're going, gaps are opening up behind you).

2) Stop at red lights when in front to allow the rest of the ride to "mass up" behind.

3) Keep going in dense packs through red lights to stick together and keep it safe for everyone.

4) Fill gaps; Critical Mass depends on bicycle density to displace cars.

5) Issue neon colored traffic safety vests to the pace riders and or corkers, where others and newcomers can easily identify them.

Just a few cents to add so we can keep enjoying this awesome activity ...
Prem Lee B.
Premitive1
Miami, FL
Post #: 44
i think this discussion is important, and hopefully changes will be made in the future

for the time being though, until something changes dramatically, i'm not going to cork anymore, or try in any way to assist in the organization of the Critical Mass.

Aside from being cursed at for beckoning riders at the front to slow down, I'm tired of the stress that comes with corking in situations where big gaps appear. Seeing large gaps in the mass causes me all sorts of anxiety because i fear terribly that a car will sneak in or some other horrible thing might occur. (was once attacked by a driver for corking)

as usual i appreciate people who do cork, but it's time to go back to being a lay participant.
Leah
madameswanky
Miami, FL
Post #: 4
If many people step up and cork, the event will work better.

If some people cork, while most do not, those who do not are benefiting at the cost of those who cork.

If no one does it, the mass will not work.

In philosophy and economics, this is called the "Freerider Problem" and is Critical Mass' huge vulnerability.

If we want to see this kind of ride continue, then everyone can't just be a lay participant. How can we make sure that people will want to contribute to the benefit of the collective?
A former member
Post #: 31
@Vi - Thank you for the constructive comment biggrin We are working out the schematics of the "Relay corking team" as you have mentioned above (we had the same idea as well), that is quite similar to what we are gonna do. Perhaps one day you can cork with us wink
rydelhigh
user 4369323
Miami, FL
Post #: 180
Flavio.. what Vi stated has absolutely nothing to do with relay corking.. she's recommending that the group breaks up into smaller groups as to accommodate people's riding abilities .. ironic being it's called critical mass, we need to travel as a group (not groups).. a bunch of small groups with gaps would be more stressful for all parties involved.

Andy, I agree with most of what you said. We have implemented most of that before with the exception of neon vest. Stopping can really make things more of a mess. It really depends on where we stop. I prefer to avoid it, but in certain situations it can work.

Also, I have never liked the idea of uniforms. The day the authorities get ticked off the ones in some type of neon green vest corking will be the easiest to spot, for all the wrong reasons. When they ask "who's in charge" or "is this a parade" the uniforms will not help.

What I noticed on the last ride I attended (July) was that the people up front going too fast and they did not cork for ANYBODY. At a red light I told them to chill out and they listened for maybe 2 miles.. then back up to speed. I even asked them to completely break away from the group and informed those near me not to attempt to catch up, that now we were the front of group. But, the faster group would eventually slow down or stop at a light and rejoin.

I actually look forward to getting a red light when I'm in the front. It gives me an excuse to stop the mass, but stopping at let's say a gas station, corner etc to wait on group has been done before and it did not fare well. Folks don't expect to stop, so when we do stop it's odd. And then getting the group to start again is Govt Center Pt2.

Keep in mind we're dealing with 300+ people, most who don't want to be told what to do. Yet for a ride of this magnitude to work we do need to set some guidelines.



What we need is quite obvious:

More corkers, using some kind of relay system which will relieve the corkers upfront of their duties thus allowing them to advance and vice versa.

A pacer in the front which I have been for quite some time now.. but lately corking has been so bad that I've had to leave my position because no one was corking.

We need to ask fast people to slow down or leave

Ask slow people to catch up or leave

If you see people chatting it up and allowing a gap, remind them to close it.. some folks get distracted while talking and don't realize they let a gap open up.. has very little to do with speed and more with focus.

We should not go over 16mph.. what do you think? unless you're corking and need to advance

I think 12-15mph average is ideal.. Andy.. you have a computer on your bike? What's are avg speed on these rides?

If I set the pace with a computer and do not exceed 15mph then there can be no complaining that we're going too fast.

I typed this in a rush.. so pardon grammar and run-on sentences
Andy R.
AndyRodriguez
Miami, FL
Post #: 16
Flavio.. what Vi stated has absolutely nothing to do with relay corking.. she's recommending that the group breaks up into smaller groups as to accommodate people's riding abilities .. ironic being it's called critical mass, we need to travel as a group (not groups).. a bunch of small groups with gaps would be more stressful for all parties involved.

Small groups defeats the entire purpose and makes for longer wait times and potentially larger gaps.

The day the authorities get ticked off the ones in some type of neon green vest corking will be the easiest to spot, for all the wrong reasons. When they ask "who's in charge" or "is this a parade" the uniforms will not help.

Good point, never thought of that ...

What I noticed on the last ride I attended (July) was that the people up front going too fast and they did not cork for ANYBODY. At a red light I told them to chill out and they listened for maybe 2 miles.. then back up to speed. I even asked them to completely break away from the group and informed those near me not to attempt to catch up, that now we were the front of group. But, the faster group would eventually slow down or stop at a light and rejoin.

I think we will always have a few of those, maybe newbies who "think" thats cool or don't really understand the message of Critical Mass etc. If we focus on the "mass" and the pacer or pacers to alternate at the front, we can effectively keep the "mass" massed up in the rear, especially if the pacers set the pace at 14-15 mph. That has to be the key ...

Keep in mind we're dealing with 300+ people, most who don't want to be told what to do. Yet for a ride of this magnitude to work we do need to set some guidelines.

Definitely agree on the guidelines, its getting too big and will only get bigger. Maybe have a "code of conduct" online that we need to agree upon, have a decal to go on the bikes etc.

I have a client that manufactors the "reminderbands", think "livestrong" - we can get the group bands so we can all wear, indicating we have read and understood the meaning of CM and will abide by the rules etc.

More corkers, using some kind of relay system which will relieve the corkers upfront of their duties thus allowing them to advance and vice versa.

I invited a new member of the group this last ride, i was not corking and actually ended up way in the rear making sure the dozen or so that fell behind made it through ok ..

We should not go over 16mph.. what do you think? unless you're corking and need to advance

I think 12-15mph average is ideal.. Andy.. you have a computer on your bike? What's are avg speed on these rides?

The avg speed has been around 12 - 13 mph, I normally ride in front of the pack and cork, then have to speed up back to the front so my avg speed varies ...

As a note to others that want to get a work out while participating in CM, when you cork, you are basically sprinting on your bike. I love it because it really helps to burn calories and you are helping the group enjoy a safe ride .. think about it. We do need more corkers, if you are inclined, step up to the plate ...

See you soon ..
Prem Lee B.
Premitive1
Miami, FL
Post #: 45
Andy, that avg speed surprised me, perhaps you could give more information about your experience?

when you're sprinting to catch up how fast are you usually going?
when you say that's your avg speed, do you mean it's the average for your whole ride, or the speed you typically see when you're in the mass?
Camilo P.
user 10444354
Miami, FL
Post #: 15
I can confirm Andy's speeds. Every time that I bring my computer along for the ride, the average always ends up somewhere between 12-16 mph, and that's with my riding to and from the ride, which is a bit faster.

The problem is rarely people going too quickly at the front, though the finger is quick to be pointed at them. Quick riders at the front naturally slow down when it dawns on them that they've got no clue where they're going. The problem is consistently people getting tired and slowing down at the back. In many cases, it's a result of cycling in the wrong gear, which I sympathize with. I wasn't able to finish my first Critical Mass since I was spinning myself out completely in a way too low gear.

Obviously, I'm not blaming them for being slower, but if you want to keep everyone together, then the 12-16 mph number has to be dropped entirely. Even the monthly rides with this meetup group rarely hit those speeds with consistency. Mostly, they stay below 10 mph. These are the facts from the rides I've been on with my computer the last few months.
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