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early stage of ride, cars could still pass, a much more positive experience

I heard about Prague Critical Mass from Randy at Carbusters. We'd never met, had a moment of light comedy when he phoned and I turned to find him standing next to me at an intersection. The ride had a lot of positive potential--about 100 participants, all ages. It was the biggest ride yet, but it would take only one hour to turn this success into a death sentence. The ride had never had trouble with the police, but that would change today. When cyclists assert their right to the road through willful obstruction, it creates resistance where there was none and alienates potential allies. It strikes me as greedy to shut down for half an hour all 3 lanes of Prague's main highway when 2 lanes would have sufficed and allowed passing motorists to see an inspiring sight--a long column of bikes. Luckily, no one was hit by the cars that drove over grass and sidewalk to pass in a rush. By the end of the ride, a dozen police cars bottled up the cyclists along the river path and made a token arrest. From now on, police confrontation is sure to be a regular feature of the monthly third Thursday ride, which will frighten off the more moderate (majority) element who don't want to own the road, but only to share. I hope I'm wrong about this.