Would Critical Manners catch on in Portland?

Critical Mass August - Portland OR
Portland Critical Mass, August 2005.
(File photo)

While bouncing around some bike links the other day, I came across a story published yesterday in the L.A.Times about the age old question over the intentions and impacts of Critical Mass.

That debate is nothing new, but at the end of the article the writer mentioned a ride called Critical Manners. I read more about the concept (check out this story in the SF Chronicle) and instantly wondered whether this was something we should do in Portland.

Basically, the concept is very similar to what Portland’s Critical Mass (which is all but dead) has already morphed into. Of course our ride follows the letter of the law not necessarily by choice, but because of a constant and ticket-ready police presence.

The People’s Ride has been
billed as an alternative
Critical Mass, but it isn’t downtown
and it hasn’t caught on.
(File photo)

But what if we re-branded the ride, called it Critical Manners, and celebrated stopping and law-abiding cycling as the cool new trend in group rides?

Would it grow into a large group ride without any of the political and controversial baggage of Critical Mass?

The concept isn’t completely foreign. Remember back in December of 2005 when Elly Blue (yes, that Elly Blue) led the Super Legal Ride?

Elly wanted to “point out that many if not most cyclists exercise caution and understand and obey traffic laws.” The purpose of her ride was slightly different than Critical Manners, but it’s on the same wavelength.

Critical Mass in Portland has nearly completely fizzled out and despite attempts at a replacement, there’s no monthly ride that has caught on to take its place.

What do you think? Is Critical Manners the Next Big Thing, or has Portland moved beyond having a massive, downtown bike ride every month?

Switch to Desktop View with Comments