Biking the RNC will allow you the most freedom of action during the protests. The authorities in New York will be using every resource at their disposal to maintain order, so it’s important to arrive with an understanding of what you’re stepping into. A group of cyclists, riding together, draws power from sheer mass and will often find it possible to take over an entire avenue. But while “taking the streets” is an important symbolic victory, it also comes with certain responsibilities. What follows are a few tips and observations from Time’s Up! on effective bike activism:
* Ride with a bloc of cyclists, perhaps 50 or more. Stick together and move like water. Share a collective awareness that power comes from your ability to work as a cohesive unit. If you spread out and lose mass, you lose power.
* Protesting on a bike is ideal because cyclists belong on the street. When pedestrian protesters are told “Get on the sidewalk!” you can stay put.
* If the bloc decides to run red lights, you should be prepared to “cork” the intersection by standing with your bike in front of oncoming traffic. Typically, a few people in front cork, then rejoin the back of the ride. Communicate to drivers that it will only be a minute; show some understanding, as you’re liable to piss
a few people off.
* Just because you’ve created a temporary autonomous zone doesn’t mean that “anything goes.” Use your head and understand the consequences of your actions. If you see a fellow cyclist doing something wrong, let him or her know!
* Keep a bike lock with you at all times, as you’ll want the freedom to leave your bike if the situation warrants it. Keep a few tools on you (pump, patch kit, extra tube, etc.) in addition to water and appropriate snacks.
* If the police mobilize for a mass arrest, you may need to disband your
bloc and scatter. During the RNC, there will be a variety of opportunities to
reconvene, so plan ahead for this contingency. There’s no defeat in losing your mass to stay safe.