Dear Carlos Pecciotto [Letters, September 10],

As a fellow bicycle commuter, I fully appreciate the car-culture-versus-cyclist problem. My husband was a Chicago bike messenger for three years and nearly got killed doing it. However, I was totally put off by your cynical tone and personal attack on the author of “Joy Riders” [August 20]. After reading Kristin Ostberg’s article, my opinion of Critical Mass was that it is a pretty interesting response to the car-culture phenomenon, and I was fully considering joining the next ride. After reading your letter I had second thoughts; does everyone who participates in Critical Mass so arrogantly misdirect their anger at people who don’t ride bikes every day? Ostberg was simply giving her view of something she had previously been very unfamiliar with, teaching me about it in the process–I had never even heard of Critical Mass before reading her story. Calling her spineless makes me think that you are as bad as that 18th District cop. She’d never ridden a bike in the city before, and she tried it–no mean feat, given the aggressive driving habits of our SUV-lovin’ citizens you yourself rant about. As a former member of ACT UP/NY, I’ve had quite a bit of experience with radical activism. Adopting the protest tactics of the 60s isn’t the embarrassing part–it’s when someone who calls himself an activist can’t make a point without getting up on a soapbox with this attitude: “Everybody look at me! I’m an activist! And you all suck!” And that isn’t even embarrassing, it’s just boring–not to mention counterproductive.

Susan Stahl