The year is 2009 and thousands of cyclists have gathered on the steps of the Art Gallery to prepare for what is now a monthly phenomenon in Vancouver. The Critical Mass Bike Rally. With chants of “we are not blocking traffic, we are traffic,” thousands of cyclists (that is what it looked like to me) celebrated their right to Ride On and claim part of the streets of Vancouver and beyond to themselves. It was an awe inspiring sight.
You see I was part of the back story to this event in 1990 when Vancouver had its first Critical Mass Bike Rally. It was a Saturday morning and pouring rain – actually typhoon or hurricane might be closer to the truth. By the time I cycled to the rally point that Saturday morning I was already done for. There were about 14 of us assembled but less riders at the end than at the beginning, and nobody had any fun!
Zoom ahead 19 years and it is hard to believe the humble beginnings – and the sunshine helps too.
For more info on Critical Mass go to: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2227461980
Critical Mass Update July 31st 2009….
Was this the biggest critical mass event ever? Maybe, just maybe. For sure though if you are a cyclist the ride itself is the ride of a lifetime. Lasting almost a full two hours, the ride included every major bridge connecting the downtown to Greater Vancouver. It is a sight to behold, unless of course if you are in a car and were in a hurry to get somewhere.
And there has been a lot of negativity surrounding this event because of this.
I beleive, that critical mass has reached an internal critical mass simply based on its size and beauty, and breadth of participation. It is a monster, a polite, considerate, and fun monster to be sure but it isn’t easy living next to a monster. I am excied to see how Critical Mass will evolve and how the communites in Vancouver respond to its seemingly ever increasing growth. See you at the next one. All Images Copyright Dean Buscher.