Hundreds of UCSB students and community members made the connection between bicycling and peace yesterday by cycling to the peace rally from Isla Vista. The connection is clear: Consumption of oil and other resources for private motor vehicles is the single greatest force driving our wars.

The fourteen-mile ride visited a number of death contracting (military contracting) facilities, including planting an olive tree of peace on the lawn of one of the numerous Raytheon buildings.

Peace activists gathered at 9AM in Isla Vista.

We soon made our way through some of the most human-unfriendly areas of Goleta, reclaiming the entire road from the ramming machines of death that ordinarily fill them.

After visiting the death factories of Raytheon, the exhilaration of taking back the streets grew ever greater! The hideously hostile intersections of Goleta became a playground. Hollister at Los Carneros, at Fairview, at Patterson, at Turnpike each became a merry-go-round of circling cyclists!

Old Town Goleta, the site of two recent deaths by motor vehicle (a cyclist and a pedestrian) was filled with the joyful sight of cyclists!

At 11:15AM we arrived at Five Points Shopping Center, taking over a very hostile area of State Street near Highway 154. We rested a few minutes and received water and made quite a spectacle at the crowded shopping center! Would we get to the rally on time? Who knew for sure? But the priority was the safety and comfort of our cycling companions.

Soon we were on our way, continuing to occupy all of State Street as we passed La Cumbre Plaza and on to Loreto Plaza! At 11:30 we stopped there to visit our local military recruiter! Usually it is a serious crime to recruit people for killing, but they do it every single day.

Most of the rest of the ride was a downhill cruise. As we passed Mission Street at around 11:45 and entered the downtown area everyone stopped to watch us and most gave us peace signs and friendly waves.

Almost exactly at noon we rolled past the Farmer's Market to the staging area for the peace march! We were greeted with cheers almost as if we were a triumphant army!

And in a way, we were! Riding a bicycle to save resources often feels like going into battle. Three million Americans are injured each year by private motor vehicles. That is a lot more than are injured in military battles. And on a bicycle, we don't get armor or defensive weapons!

Please check out these photos of this Critical Mass ride! Don't miss the cool video clip of the occupation of the Fairview/Hollister intersection!

And remember that Critical Mass Rides happen the last Friday of each month here and in most other cities!

Best wishes,

Robert Bernstein
Santa Barbara, CA USA