Drivers beware and cyclists get your gears tuned up because this Friday, Critical Mass is coming. This semi-protest, semi-flashmob type event first began in Sweden in the 1970s, and bike-loving Vancouverites have adopted the event as their own since 1998, taking to the streets of Vancouver to celebrate non-polluting forms of transportation.
History and facts aside, Critical Mass is a fun time that really demonstrates the power that a large group of bicycles can yield.
The ride is open for anybody and starts at 6pm in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery on the last Friday of every month (including this Friday, July 26th).
At 6pm on the dot, cyclists, long boarders, bmx-ers, and other people on two or more wheels set off on an adventure. In the summer, Critical Mass is at its peak and there are hundreds of people who participate in the ride.
Typically, the mass moves slowly down Howe Street before going over the Granville Street Bridge. Once all of the participants have gathered in the middle of the bridge, everyone celebrates by lifting their bikes in the air, cheering, and high-fiving. Then, the mass moves on to the next bridge.
The route differs from ride to ride, but in past years it has gone from Granville Bridge to Burrard Bridge, to Lions Gate Bridge. Let me tell you, standing on top of the Lions Gate Bridge with a bunch of other happy cyclists is truly a special moment.
If it’s your first time, just follow the crowd and thank the “corkers” (the guys/girls who block traffic and let the mass through). The Critical Mass ride can last a really long time, but you can leave or enter at any time along the route (just look for the huge mass of people on bikes!).
Costumes are encouraged, good attitudes and good behavior are commended, and most importantly – having a great time is a must!
What do you think about Critical Mass? Have you ever participated?