Over 3600 Wheels!
Yesterday's Critical Mass was phenomenal!
It was sooo big. I could never tell if I was at the front or the back of the ride.
Here is a heads up on a few sites where Mass pictures are often posted in the past - links to pictures from this month's ride, june 3000 wheels, are in the comments of this article:
Here is my perspective on the ride:
Jane and I rushed off to see Bob's Never Ride Alone movie at 3pm. Trying to do to many things. I just painted my assault bike green Thursday night, and it never dried. But I rode it anyways. Got my stereo hooked up to the bike, some cold drinks, and my super huge water gun. I think we were late for the movie. But we met Jack and Ifny riding there late too, plus we were with our American visitors Dr. Wasabi and Sean UrbanAdventure. So we had a lot of energy getting there.
Bob's movie was wonderful. Not quite fully polished, of course, but a very diverse and local set of voices. May need some context or something for a less intensely bike geek audience. But do give feedback because that is what he needs. By the time the movie was done it was almost 5pm so I rushed off to the Bicycle Blessing at Christ Church Cathedral and said hi to my parents. I didn't get my bike individually blessed because the ceremony was at the top of some stairs and my Assault Bike was a little too heavy. I never got enough time to print up the handbill I said I would, the CM-unrules Corking Guide. Luckily, Redsara had printed hers. Also I saw someone distributing what looked like my design of that so either they downloaded and printed off from this blog or used one from last year. Anyways the word got out pretty good I think. Sara's handbill is a lot easier to read than mine was. I got rid of my leftover posters, people said they would hand them to car drivers.
The gathering of bikes was enormous! That said, it looked a little small to me. Every year for the June ride I expect a lot of bikes, and lots come, but at the Art Gallery when we are all standing around it seems to me like not as big a group as it actually is. I guess riders take more space rolling than standing.
Someone blew an air horn and I'm not sure if it started the ride but it is when I noticed people starting to get out onto Howe Street. Man it was a big group, I was chatting at the art Gallery for a long time and people were continuously going onto the road but not from where I was standing... It just took a long time for that many people to get out there. When I got onto the road I thought this thing was enourmous! I could not see the front of the group, it just went to the horizon.
So we rode onto the Granville Bridge. I think people stopped to lift their bikes in the air/ gather mass, at the crown of the bridge. However, I was in the mass still just getting onto the bridge at that point. I got to talk to Fred Bass on the bridge, good to see him out riding again. So we rode off the bridge on the circle that goes under to 6th Ave. That was a nice view all the bikes riding that circle, constantly. I'd like to see a photo of that. Looking down off the bridge so many bikes below. And when I got down there there was still masses up on the bridge above!
We rode along 6th Ave. It was very fun and a cement truck was honking its horn in support very load. There was some kind of altercation ahead of me at one point, around the spot of the pedestrian overpass. Someone said a fistfight with a driver? I hope not, that cyclists were level headed. When I got there it was all cleared up so obviously people resolved it and move on. I think it might have been an exagerration.
Rode up onto Cambie Bridge. Then through downtown. We went over the Georgia Viaduct. At the entrance to that there were masses of pedestrians trying to cross the road. I thought I was at the front of the mass. Turns out in fact it was just that the traffic cop there had stopped the bikes for a minute to let pedestrians cross. I heard that later, he did that and then almost let cars into the middle of the mass, but the massers didn't let him. Silly police, you need to learn corking! Yeild to pedestrians is good but don't let cars into the group! That is dangerous and slows things. I guess it was a pretty slow ride overall.
We then rode down Hastings and through Strathcona, to the Adanac Bike Route. Then we turned around at Clark and came back down Hastings. Almost but not quite to Commercial Drive. I wish we had made it to there as some had planned. Oh well. The ride was a bit slow going down Hastings, not sure why. Just so many people I guess. I couldn't see the front or the back. There were some police by this point on motorcycles corking traffic for us. It was good that cyclists kept corking themselves too. It's important to take responsibility for that even if police help because you don't want to rely on it. There weren't enough police to cork the whole ride anyways, it would have taken a small army. Because the ride was so big and long it did take a long time to pass and motorists had to wait a while rather than the usual 5 minute delay. Sorry drivers, if you were on a bike you wouldn't be stuck. Lots of Thanks Yous and Hi5s to the corkers!
Next the ride went down Georgia towards the Lions Gate Bridge. By this time it was after 8pm and no longer rush hour. Some people chose to split off down Denman to go to the Beach. Others went to the Bridge then the Beach. I thought it was nice the split because nobody had to feel uncomfortable about doing that bridge who didn't want to. I went on the bridge because I missed it last year in June due to the annoying Bear Spray incident. After that long steep climb up the causeway it was wonderful to be out on the bridge span almost at sunset. Just gorgeous light and so quiet for the mass off people hollering, but lacking that car engine drone. Fresh Air! I was in the front for real only once, at that point, turning around the mass. Getting the sluggish group to turn around. Then off down that wonderful hill through Stanley Park. Winding around. There was this women gorgeously riding with no hands down the hill right ahead of me. She was dancing with her arms in the wind like a soaring bird. Really beautiful bicycle ballet. Turns out to be a classmate of mine from Emily Carr, Sophie from down under. We rode along Beach past English Bay. Lots of happy onlookers there [as with most all of the ride]. We had to double up the hill to get on the Burrard St Bridge, after we heard the other half of the Mass was at Kits Beach. So we went there. We joined the other mass at Sunset and it was just wonderful. So many bikes and picnicing until the latest hours. Got to talk to all sorts of Massers, new and old, even some passers by who were impressed with the bikes and said they would ride July Mass.
Thanks Vancouver cyclists! [and skateboarders and rollerbladers and...]
You made my Bike Month!
See you July 28!