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ride journal :: 01/31/03

About 25 people came to Phoenix's first critical mass in a long time on Friday, Jan. 31st. We met up at Park Central Mall at 5:00pm and departed with a few latecomers at 5:30pm. There were some people who already knew one another and a fair amount of newcomers, too. It was a mostly young crowd, with several anti-car types, a skateboarder, several, spectacle-types and a crew of hard-core (tough-looking) bikers.

We started off by taking a lane and heading north on Central. As we got warmed up for the first two miles, the group trailed out a bit. When a few riders departed to ride home, the rest of us bunched up and headed east on Camelback. There was lots of backed-up traffic on this busy street, so we kept 'em smiling with waves, cheers and the obvious example of how much fun it is to ride your bike. Several people handed out fliers and cheered to passer-bys. One interesting thing was that the drivers behind us, the traffic we were blocking, didn't honk--most of the honks came from the other side of the road, accompanied by waves and smiles.

As we neared 7th St, where we had initially decided to turn, we decided to keep going up to the next major street, since we were having so much fun. As we passed tons of car dealerships, we got a few weird stares from the salesmen, so we handed over some pro-bike fliers. As we turned south on 16th St, we saw a cop hassling somebody on the street and it wasn't but a block later that we were followed by a popo car, microphoning us all to pull over. While one member of the group talked with the police, others took photos, wrote down police badge numbers and car numbers. They released us without citing us, with insistance that we travel in a single file line, which we did (for about two blocks). We continued a little west on Highland, south on 7th St. and west again on Osborn. It was getting late and darker, and there were far fewer cars to cheer at, so the rest of the ride was quicker.