DC bike courier, Rebecca Reilly has informed me of her efforts to start a monthly DC Solidarity Ride. Also involved with getting the word out is Shawn Bega, owner of Bega Services.
The rides will be starting at the east side of Dupont Circle at 6pm the last Friday of every month, starting November . The route has been posted on the District of Columbia Bicycle Courier Associaton (DCBCA) web site located at <http://www.dccourier.com/dcbca/>. Also in the works is a flyer campaign aimed at bike commuters.
Having worked as a courier in eight cities over the last several years, Ms. Reilly has been on Critical Mass rides in Denver, Seattle and San Francisco. She's also been an organizer for the 1996 Cycle Messenger World Championships (CMWC).
Though the ride is based on the Critical Mass philosophy, they will be renamed Solidarity Rides, out of respect for those who wish to continue the group ride statement minus the surliness and negative aspects that have been associated with some of the other Critical Mass efforts.
One goal is to have theme rides. For example, rides could stop at a location where someone had been killed. Riders could bring flowers, candles, banners, etc and could perhaps stop traffic for a moment of silence. A Thanksgiving ride. Maybe the Solidarity Ride would start somewhere and pick up bicyclists along the way. The allure in a flyer might be, "No fear? Are you tough enough for a 20 degree bike ride?" getting people to appreciate biking in all kinds of weather. There are people who bike on awful days regardless.
"Even if there are only 4 people per ride during the winter months, but publicity goes out anyway, all winter, people will be thinking about it, see it happen, perhaps after a little on-line commentary after all of the winter rides, by spring, people will be prime, if not itching to do a Solidarity Ride."
"Then, once the spring hits, you already have your deal, your developed and interested crowd, you reclaim your minions, and we (Bike Couriers etc) still participate and when the DC Cycle Messenger World Championships comes around we would like the August Solidarity ride to have its terminus at our World Welcome Party, just like SF," said Ms. Reilly.
"These rides might turn out to be small at the start, but we are determined to stay with them anyway. They will be called Solidarity Rides in an effort to stay off much of the negative criticism associated with Critical Mass. They will be casual and calm," said Mr. Bega.
For further information, suggestions, or to volunteer contact either Rebecca or Shawn.