Critical Man-nerds ride report

Man_NerdAs promised four intrepid BikeHuggers rode last Friday evening. Objectives: Ride for fun, Promote urban cycling awareness for all vehicles – cars and cyclists, demonstrate automobile/bicycle co-existence, and engage in the consumption of nutritious fermented beverages.

Good news: Objectives MET. Even more amazing, it was more than just two dudes who showed up! This is positively stunning given the 8 hour notice. Check the Bike Hugger Urban Bikes group on Flickr for more photos.

We’ll keep the experiment up, check back for scheduling of future rides. But before we go too far, we’ll need a better name. Hugger input requested!

I rolled into Westlake Center about 5:20 and was happily surprised to see the number of cyclists waiting for me: one, which was one more than I expected. Nate saw our post earlier in the day and decided to drop in on our ride. Another hugger (Matt, who initiated the idea) showed up at 6:00 with a friend in tow (Jamie). We 4 cyclemen headed off for some runs through down town shortly after that.

We managed to make a reasonable number of loops through down town, briefly swelling our ranks to 6 on two occasions. At one point we hooked up with a couple of friendly and supportive Seattle bike cops who helped demonstrate bike boxing technique. Several commuters joined us briefly (and one pulled us up and over Dexter – what a power house!), and most asked if we were riding Critical mass. Not today, see you in a couple of weeks!

Along the way we discussed our various experiences with Critical Mass, Seattle cycling cliques, and how best to create an open, inclusive and broadly appealing ride together. The folding bike probably helped on the Nerds part. Critical Man-Nerds fit our ride well (the folding bike helped, I’m sure), but if we’re going to be more inclusive it won’t fit the bill

At last we came to rest at a pub on Phinney Ridge, where our discussions turned more serious. So now what do we call it? Huggers, your votes and suggestions are needed. Here’s what we came up with:

  • Critical Mini (props to Mr. Boxer)
  • Minimal Mass (Yo Jamie)
  • Critical MAN-ners (and derivative, Critical manNerds)
  • Reformed Mass
  • Just Ride (+she said?) (Nate)
  • WRT (We Are Traffic – Nate)
  • 2FB (2nd Friday Bikeride – Matt)
  • Bike n’ Beer (Jamie)

More suggestions and votes, please!


How about “Just Ride,” or “We ARE Traffic” (relates to cars who want us to get out of the way, but also the responsibility of actually following traffic laws). Hmm, not sounding very catchy… I’ll have to keep thinking.

And note, [Critical Manners]( is a San Fran thing, that’s where the name came from.

I kind of like WRT since it relates more to the purpose and is not a spin off of critical mass.  However, Bike ‘n Beer is catchy and might draw more people to it (it is a Friday night!).

Although I love the idea…

Wouldn’t the police give people DUIs for doing this?

Bikes, after all, are a vehicle.

WRT is nice; my partner suggested “Civil Mass.”  I’m against the “man”-themed ones because I’m not a man.

Hey Daphne,

Great suggestion, I love Civil Mass. And totally yes to the man themed ones, I think that was a side effect of our initial group being all male, but as I mentioned above we’d never be able to keep it and call ourselves inclusive.

Daphne beat me to the “civil” thought. I was tossing that around while I was out on a ride today, serves me right for not being at a keyboard. Anyway, I was thinking along the lines of “Civil Rides” which sorta sounds like civil rights, and has the whole politeness meaning of civil going for it. (Of course it could be pointed out that civil rights didn’t come without civil disobedience, so I guess that is where Critical Mass comes in)

Hey, I started Critical Manners, and I don’t care what you call it, as long as you live it. I know there was a ride in Athens, GA called Courteous Mass if y’all are still looking for a name.

Also, I hope you replied to the reporter from Bicycling Magazine. He said he tried to contact you for an article he’s writing.

I think you’re awesome for starting a ride in Seattle. It’s really satisfying to see like minded cyclists spreading the word.


Oh, damn, “Courteous Mass” is excellent.

I was curious if there was any Seattle equiv to and come across this - which I like a lot.  I’ll be reading more.

Thanks again for the comments above. We’re having our next ride on Friday the 23rd, check the post here:

I finally setteled on RideCivil, (not far off Civil Rides, nate), and you can look for future notes about these rides by using that tag:

Thanks for the encouragement Reama. See you on the roads!

Reana - hate to tell you, but this concept isn’t new:

Circa 2005:
Portland Super Legal Ride

Andrew, I am actually pleased to see that the idea of a civil group ride is nothing new.

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