Vancouver Critical Mass

Mostly event announcements, news, and bicycle related activist opinions...
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Yes, we ride the last Friday of every month!


Mass 30 Mass order chaos

So, there might even be 3000 wheels or even 2006 people on bikes/skates/skoots/trikes/unicycles...

It will be tons of people no matter what. Normally at Critical Mass announcements are given to start off the ride and this is good for new riders to understand the general idea and feel welcomed. Critical Mass is leaderless and each month the ride is reborn again to be something new. But, it's good to communicate the basics, even to disagree?

Some people are going to be trying to deal with this communication issue at the ride. Come early at 5pm to participate in that, look for people who are acting busy or handing out stuff. The most simple way is Xerocracy and many will be handing out the basics of corking, etc. to riders. There also may be echo style-speaking group announcments:

One person talks in short bits, pausing after each bit. During the pauses everybody who heard what the person said, shouts it in unison, and then the people who heard that shout it and so on until everyone has heard it. It's very slow, but surprisingly easy, very effective and very fun. It also helps form a cohesive group, encourages participation, makes people really listen to what is being said, etc.

Some people will bring megaphones. There was talk of a radio transmitter so bring a radio tuner if you can. It will be a cacophony and it will be fun. [I'm hoping people will bring waterguns]. It will be an experiment in mass self-direction. Some people want to be at the front of the ride and lead it on a route appropriate to such a giant herd. Others want to make sure the back is together. It is important to ride together and take care of each other... but also groups might split and rejoin, many masses? We shall see.

Here is my flyer [two sided], in a PDF format, that was handed out last years on the June ride. Also below is the text of mine and the text of a more susinct flyer that redsara has made. Feel free to make your own version or borrow our words.

My text:

CRITICAL MASS - 3000 Wheels Ride

Last Friday. Every month. 5:30pm

Vancouver Art Gallery Georgia St.

Bicycles, Blades, Skates... All Human Powered Transportation

Who's in charge of this?

We all are! That means it's up to all of us to make the ride fun and safe. Also, it's up to all of us to make it happen next month.

Where are we going?

I dunno. I doubt we have a map this time. Generally, we just follow whoever is at the front, go there if you have an idea. We should all stick together, don't go too fast for the slowest riders, don't go so slow that we might as well be walking, and stay safe.

Why are we here?

Why are YOU here? I'm here to ride my bike, have a blast, and show the world that cycling is fun! ast, and show the world that cycling is fun! Here are 6 of the 2000+6 possible reasons to be here

#1 Government is STILL planning to build more highways and subsidise car driving

#2 Cars are what is most likely to kill me, statistically speaking, so riding together is liberation

#3 To reclaim the public street from automobile domination

#4 To support a diverse community of engaged citizen activists, to build revolutionary networks

#5. Because inside every car is a person trying to get out

Oh yeah #6, to help make the point WE'RE NOT BLOCKING TRAFFIC, WE ARE TRAFFIC!

Be Cool.

If we are friendly to everyone that we see on our ride, then it will be more fun for us and make a stronger point to others. Some accidents and arguments do happen. Don't join in confrontations; try to defuse tension when possible. If you witness a crime by an angry motorist, notify the police at 911.

Yeild to Pedestrians, Emergency Vehicles and if safe/possible the bus.

Relax and enjoy the ride, this is our moving street Party! Talk to other cyclists and pedestrians. Envision a city where it is safe to socialise in the streets all the time.

This flyer is all just what I think. You got something to say, make yer own flyer! It's XEROCRACY!

Imagine - if you will - a big bicycle bus that is Critical Mass. The bus waits for a green light to proceed. However, if the signal turns Red in the middle of the bus, the back must stay with the front so don't stop! No dangerous cars in the middle of our big bus. So we stop [or CORK] the cars from disruption the group until we have finished passing through.

Corking is the act of protecting the mass from cars, by preventing them from passing through or into the mass. Some riders place their bikes in front of cars to do this physically, others pull up alongside cars and engage the driver hence corking the car verbally.

oo Always make an effort to let car drivers know what is going on. Talk to drivers. Explain why you participate in Critical Mass, and let them know others cycle for many reasons. Thank them for waiting for us. If they honk in anger, smile, pretend it is a honk of support and hold up "honk if you love bikes" sign.

oo Don't cork too early and don't get left behind! Sometimes it is best to wait at an intersection for group catchup/get mass density.

oo There are never too many corkers. Corking is Fun - Join in! Or give a high five to say 'thank you' to corkers for corking.

oo Use your good judgement - no one is in charge. Ask someone who looks like they know what they're doing if you need help. Make choices based on talking to people around you. This is what democracy is like.

oo Remember, drivers, like us, are also the victims of stupid car culture. Don't take your agression out on them! The key to getting more recognition for cyclists, is to respect all kinds of road users and more bums on bikes!

oo The aim of Critical Mass is NOT to block traffic, rather it IS the traffic flowing swiftly and smoothly through the streets of Vancouver and over three hundred cities worldwide!

This info partly compiled from:

Redsara short and sweet text:

1. Corking is where we keep the intersections free from cars so the bikes stay as a group. (Watch what bikers do at intersections...It is helpful if we all take turns doing it.) You can wave at the bikers going by, and entertain the drivers who are waiting. Personally, when I am friendly to drivers they are nicer about having to wait.

2. Stop at the top of bridges / hills so that the group can catch up.

3. Big streets are better for big rides... if you are at the front you can decide as a group where we are going... we will probably follow you!

4. Always, when riding with a group, watch where you are going.

5. Critical Mass is a worldwide event that happens the last Friday of EVERY month.

More info at

6. Critical Mass is about different things to differnt people:

It is about being part of a community,

about safety,

about celebration,

about checking out the scene,

about protest

about NOT telling people what to do

about telling people what to do

about leading by example, loving ourselves and our bikes.

It is harder for people to be angry when we are having so much fun... we are

a rolling street party!

6. If you see a conflict, assess whether there is someone trying to cool the anger, and keep riding.Stopping to oogle seems to escalate the problem by focussing on the conflict.

7. When you are tired of riding you can leave anytime. The June ride will probably end at a Beach (if you want it to)!


Someone was once talking to a Police officer about Critical Mass. They said they liked the ride but wished we would encourage riders to wear bike helmets. I think wearing a helmet is a good idea myself, and encourage others to do so. I started wearing one in grade 9 after my own bike ran me over [really] and I was very lucky to not have the chainring impale my skull. On the other hand, I disagree with making it a law enforcement issue. It is better for safety to have more bikes on the road rather than less bikes but all helmeted. It is a very controversial topic among bikers, check out the velolove discussion list for some good debate on that.


  • At 10:03 pm, September 22, 2011, Blogger Rusl Bicycle said…

    That's a dumb comment anonymous. Where do you get off saying that Critical Mass "taunts" people. It's a mob because you say so? "Usefulness corrupted" That's amusing. So you admit it *was* useful, but not anymore? Why.

    Dumb as in inarticulate. Fear-based. Not true.

    Critical Mass is overwhelmingly peaceful and brings safety to the streets. If you can't see that you are blinded by the order of cars. Cars kill, regularly. They kill our planet and city, continually. In contract Critical Mass at its very worst precipitates a hidden conflict in the street by allowing people to use it in a way without automobile armour. The status quo dictates there will be opposition to that. But there is surprisingly little considering how radical we are. Simple, and that's what makes it so powerful. It's not a lobby. We aren't asking for anything (except to wait for us a short while perhaps, until we pass)

    Critical Mass will be required until attitudes such as yours are no longer "normal."

    Yes, we do interrupt non-CM bikes. We give a little respite and fun for 5 minutes or however long it takes to cross paths.

    What is so amazing, is how people like you are so offended and see Critical Mass as violent. All we are doing is riding together. That really is it. How can you oppose that? I guess with a bunch of BS about mobs and whatnot. Religious views about red lights as if a parade was terrorism. Your thinking is bizarre, sir. I hope some day we can laugh together about it without fear.

  • At 10:04 pm, September 22, 2011, Blogger Rusl Bicycle said…

    er... "contrast" not "contract"

    Proofreading! Whoops.


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