Vancouver Critical Mass

Mostly event announcements, news, and bicycle related activist opinions...
Download Critical Mass flyers and posters, or upload your own
Email vancouvercm~AT~gmail~DOT~com for a posting password
Yes, we ride the last Friday of every month!


Bring Portable Bicycle Church to Mass

Bring the church to the bike!? This from the Davis Bike Church. Well, it is a family event! And being copied by some agents of change. If anyone is looking for the Critical Mass Vancouver Webpage and not finding it {because we are moving things around still} the temporary direct link is here.

See you at the ride today! Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the velofusion party is happening after the mass, at the ANZA as per normal, it costs $10 but is free for Critical Massers.

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April Critical Mass

Friday April 27 of course
It's that time of the month. There is going to be a lot of people in the streets even with the april rains. We are starting to reach that criticality, no longer an invisible minority, where will our place be on the road?

Event Details:

Critical Mass Ride & Roll
All human propelled movers invited
[Also skateboards, wheelchairs, handcycles, trikes, unicycles, quadricycles, rollerskates/blades, fast tireless walkers, music, costumes, signs, voices, songs...]
Gather 5->5:30pm Friday Afternoon
Leave 6, from the Vancouver Art Gallery
Downtown, Ride for a few hours
Route decided by people who attend
Rolling street reclamation project
Temporary but Growing.
The April ride is upon us. Last month's March ride had hundreds of participants/leaders. Never before has our collective need for bicycle transportation leadership been more obvious to the mainstream. The ride is an end in itself - and fun. Also, it is a place to network/imagine/build a better future.


It's time to start thinking about the June Bike Massive too! We always have extra special efforts to promote the last Friday of the month June Critical Mass (29th). Last year there were over 1700 riders! It begs the question of course, of what to do when Mass is Massive and achieved. The obvious answer - is to ride. Critical Mass is not a single or dogmatic political ideology, so there are a lot of reasons/responses to it. However, with the sheer scale of things as they were last June, there is an emerging consensus that we need to organise for scale if we expect more people to participate and have fun. It is less of a ride and more of a walk/standstill when there are so many people that the road is too narrow. It is amazing in this stall to see how many more people can fit together and use a road when there aren't giant metal boxes taking up all the space. But, though 'traffic delays' of that sort are inevitable, a lot of people would like to minimise them.

So talk of planning the route has been coming up again and again. Actually since the first extra specially promoted June 2003 Massive Mass, this idea was talked about. Generally the consensus has been to stick to wide roads with enough lanes [last year it was 3 lanes in our direction] needed to move that many people. In none of the years has the route actually stuck to the wide roads. Always we've gone on one lane streets. Last year we even split into 2 to cross the Lions Gate Bridge/go to the beach.

So, what are we going to do this year? We could easily get almost 3000 riders if the weather cooperates and we all work to bring the friends we know. Last year we had some meetings of people interested in promoting and organising for the ride. This year those should happen and I will post dates ASAP here on my blog when I hear about them. There is likely to be a lot of discussion of this on the velolove discussion list, which is open to all Critical Mass riders/interested parties to join. This is not the official government of Critical Mass of course, as this is a diverse event requiring organisation by all who attend [by corking, by riding and talking to others...] So there will be other groups organising for June besides the listserv. Please sign up though if you are interested!

On the issue of planning a route: In San Francisco the idea of the ride is Xerocracy where people interested photocopy a route map for the ride, distribute it, and the best plan wins by being taken by those who show up. Also the ride might change or be a hybrid, as one would expect. There are liable to be problems if the route about a suggested fun plan and instead becomes an enforced limiting parade route. Because, of course, BIKES ARE TRAFFIC, and that is one of the agreed upon points of unity that is Critical Mass - there should be more bikes and more space for them. We are not riding to be a special event parade only, because [as much as we love the Pride Parade and that is a good Vancouver event to aspire to] we are about the use of the very space we ride on - our public streets - and we want there to be a change there everyday. Bikes should not be marginal - as they are now - subject to the dangerous whims of whomever happens to be driving. Roads need to be shared, and sadly, cars just aren't safe to share space with soft sexy cycling bodies.

There is a great movie called We Are Traffic by Ted White which gets into the history of SF CM and the fight between the SF Mayor and the cyclists of that city when the ride was very big. You can see it on Google Video - and you should if you haven't already!

In Vancouver I don't know of any ride where the route has been pre-planned before the event. The closest I have seen is rides where we agree on a destination [such as the ANZA club for a Worklessparty] of a point to pass by [a bridge or maybe a squat]. On the June rides some riders have aspired to being at the front and guiding the mass towards larger roads and away from single lanes. There were even some with radios doing that last year. The results I think all can agree were mixed success [in planning, the rides were great fun success]. It seems people are quite keen on that spontaneity you get from having the route be determined by who happens to be at the front. I do hear complaints when people at the front get indecisive and we stop not deciding which way to go - and the riders at the back are confused. In the June ride the Massiveness changes things. I was trying to get to the front of the ride just so I could see it all pass me by last year - but I was unable - it was just too big a ride. That was inspiring, but also would have been annoying if I had wanted to contribute to deciding the route [luckily I didn't want to].

So, some of the ideas I have talked about with other riders for this year are:
  • Having 'float' decorated/music group bicycle lead the route. Something like the Santa sled/pumpkin chariot we have used in other hears. Or something like the pedalplay pedalsound chariot we had in 2004. Personally I would like to have 3 of these: at the back front and middle of the ride to serve as focal points and to lead the route on a planned/flexible route. Maybe we could even split the mass into 3 and then come back together! I would favour a map/route that was made by anyone who was interested contributing beforehand. These floats would have to be made. I personally like making things like that, and could give people tips on steering design. However, I could only possibly make one, and need help with even that. Maybe other people would be keen? Check out the Human Powered Vehicle Contest for some ideas.
  • Approaching the city and working with them somehow. We are already working with the city and using the city streets. Also we do not want to have a parade that is not traffic. So the question is how would we work with the city and what would we ask of them? I am all in favour of cooperation, but we also have to realise that what we've got is a system by and for car use - so we do have to have some conflict to change that. Also, who would speak to the city and how - obviously some negotiation is in order. It seems the city might still be in the dark ages of requiring some kind of authoritarian structure over the Mass in order to negotiate - liability ideas... - and that is not critical mass. We choose to cooperate but not to have bosses. Anyways, this city idea is not my proposal, so I should let people who are in favour of it speak for themselves and say no more except - join the velolove email list to join the conversation!
  • Asking the police that show up to show up on bicycles instead of cars/motorbikes to be more cooperative with us. This has been a position I have held for years for all rides. Pretty much the only time the police are highly visible is the June ride, so it makes to say this for then.
  • Some people were talking about us promoting helmet use in order to negotiate and get support from other groups for Critical Mass. Personally, I do promote Helmet use, it is a good idea. But I object to criminalising biking by saying that we must wear helmet's to protect ourselves from cars. And having the police apply this arbitrarily - mostly to the disadvantaged such as homeless cyclists. Not wearing a helmet is stupid, I definitely agree. But, the legal application of that is wrong while we have subsidised highway expansion!
  • Splitting the Mass into smaller masses, by... well there are lots of ideas. Different meeting places or destinations... Riding in small groups then converging into one giant mass. It can be a very beautiful vision but would require serious co-ordination which might not work. Some people advocate this as a way to close down the entire car monopoly zone of the city for a while - a reclaim the streets spontaneous car free day party! Some advocate this idea as a way of being nicer to motorists to be less intrusive in their driving lives. I don't know what would happen.
This issue reminds me of my own experience at the WTO and FTAA "protests." At the WTO there were all these little affinity groups that would occupy different intersections. It felt very organised because each small grouping had some kind of structure and organisation so that people could communicate. And the idea of all these groups working together was inspiring. Whereas, at the FTAA in Quebec city, all the little groups joined into one big marching mass. And in my expereince we got lost in the mass and groups didn't stay organised so it was like just a general anonymous mass instead of the feeling of togetherness (that I like at CM). So this example isn't exactly like CM, we aren't really such a protest and we want to avoid conflict... But that is the idea that makes me like the splitting up plan. But also, at the WTO the plan was successful because we had a clear objective - blockading the conference centre. Our objective is more subtle, to temporarily occupy space and includes all sorts of other things, like fun.
So, those are some ideas, not all mine, and you surely have more. So, lets talk about it this Friday and also over the next two months. And, somebody please call an open meeting for interested parties to talk about this over the next few weeks and then tell me or just post it up here!

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Ambitious Musicians Touring Across Canada by Bicycle

in Vancouver at Cafe Deux Soleils on May 20th with Sarah Noni Metzner.

Ottawa, ON -- April 17, 2007-- Possessed by desire to make music touring ecologically friendly and healthier, songwriters Johnny Eden and Derek Olive are taking four months to tour across Canada by bicycle, performing over 60 shows en route, on what they are calling Eden & Olive's MUSICYCLE Tour 2007.

The MUSICYCLE tour promotes positive emissions, both musically and environmentally, and aims to highlight the possibilities for merging music touring with sustainable transportation and to encourage healthy living. Fully self-supported, with guitars strapped safely to bike trailers, Derek and Johnny begin the MUSICYCLE tour in Powell River, BC on May 11th and finish in Petite Riviere, NS on September 8th. Along the way they will perform in small towns and major population centers such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Halifax, Oshawa, Victoria, and Regina.

The unlikely pair of songwriters, traveling by one of the oldest modes of transportation, met in the likeliest of ways in a most modern way – over the internet. Serendipitously, back in October 2006, Johnny and Derek had separately begun to plan cross-Canada music/cycling tours. Johnny used a Canadian folk music forum to post his intention of going on his musical bicycle tour, and, after Derek read the posting, the two decided to team up.

Musically, Derek and Johnny are near opposites. Derek has a Masters in Music composition. Johnny is a self-taught singer/guitarist. Bringing their two musical worlds together on stage in a song circle setting, they will treat listeners to both Johnny's high-intensity delivery and narrative, theatrical-style songs and to Derek's perceptive lyrics and searing guitar style. Even their voices are markedly different – Derek drawing comparisons to the likes of clear, bold-voiced singers like Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies, and Johnny to textured singers like Tom Waits and Marvin Gaye. While Derek has a recognizable style, Johnny is nothing short of erratic. And so nothing short of a great musical experience will await audiences, with something for all music lovers as these two weave their diverse musical tales together, occasionally accompanied by some very talented friends.

This odd couple also boasts opposing skills: Johnny has never gone on a cycling trip, but has toured across Canada by the Greyhound as a professional musician for three years, playing several festivals and
hundreds of venues. Derek, on the other hand, has only played a handful of festivals and venues in Canada, but has toured by bicycle through over sixteen countries around the world. While Johnny possesses the skills to
book such a goliath of a tour, Derek possesses the know-how about getting from town to town by bicycle. While Johnny works on designing posters, Derek attracts sponsors to the tour.

The pair has received significant support both from the cycling and music communities. Eclipse Bicycles supplied the bicycles and BOB offered up two Yak bike trailers for the pair to carry their instruments and gear on. VIA Rail supplied Derek with a train ticket to Vancouver so that he could avoid the environmental destruction that flying to the tour's origin would cause. Richard Paxton, a burgeoning guitar maker, built Derek a custom guitar for the tour, luthier Doug Thompson did some inexpensive work on Johnny's
beloved psychedelic painted guitar, and John Pearse Strings supplied their assurance that their tone would always be fresh.

All that's left now is for the two to get on their bikes, start pedaling, keep playing, and pray that the roads are smooth, the days are dry, and the tunes leave faces smiling. And while these two ambitious musicians barely
know each other now, they are not worried – they have six-thousand five-hundred kilometers to pick each other's guitars and brains.

For a complete listing of Eden & Olive's MUSICYCLE Tour shows, go or

Kristin Kopra, Tour Manager
Switchback Productions

Shayne avec i Grec, Western Canadian Publicist
Pedestrian Productions
250-475-0477 (Solstice Café Office)

Derek Olive + Johnny Eden + + +

Tour Blog:

Musicians' Cell Phone # while on the road: 613-255-8370

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Roberts Creek Critical Mass & Bike Film Night

Friday April 27 2007
Roberts Creek, Sunshine Coast
(14km from the Langdale-Horseshoe Bay ferry)


Critical Mass Sunshine Coast style. Come participate and make the April
Critical Mass in Roberts Creek AWESOME. Ride is at 5:30pm. Following
Critical Mass is...

::: Bike Film Night ::: At the Gumboot Cafe in Roberts Creek

Cara Fisher and Martin Prestage from Lifecycle present a fun filled evening
for all featuring a series of short bike films for your amusement and
entertainment. 7:00-8:30pm family hour flicks, after dark films 8:30-10pm.
Never before screened films from all over North America!!

Accomdation - Nearby and very affordable accomodation for Vancouver bikers
is available at Up the Creek Backpackers B & B

Tickets - Roberts Creek Health Store or call Martin P. at 604_885=0384. In
Vancouver through Cara F at 604_319=2102. $6 adult, $3 child, $15 family of
four or more.

Critical Mass ++
Ride leaves Spin Cycle, Gibsons at 4:30pm
On the Edge Bike Shop, Sechelt at 4:30pm
All meeting at Roberts Creek School 5:00-5:30pm. Casual bike ride for all ages!


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57 unnecessary (but fun) reasons to go out

...biking in the rain?...

* Tuesday April 17th: perhaps our strangest variety show, "57 Varieties",
celebrates a start to its 4th unplugged year by re-launching on a new date, the
third Tuesday evening of every month. Still at Spartacus Books, (319 W.
Hastings at Cambie). Will there be a bevy of special guests? Will Rowan bake
another birthday cake? You have to come out to know for sure.

* Wednesday April 18th: 8 pm the 3rd Wednesday of every month is ground zero
for a nostalgia bomb -- the '80s at 8 at the Cottage Bistro (4468 Main at
29th). Backtracking through the mire of the decade, we revisit 1988 in Doc
Brown's time machine.

** Also that night, Dianna David will be accompanying in her unique style
(which is to say, mime, freestyle dance, contact juggling) the Contemporary
Lovers Trio at the Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir at Seymour), 9 pm, $7. She's a
busy woman with a load of shows this month, so if you're intrigued, seek her
out for more.

* Saturday April 21st: the Guelph House is throwing a concert in honour of
their eviction; blocks away, at the Rhizome Cafe (317 E. Broadway), The Torch
-- an evening of cultural resistance to the 2010 Olympics -- will be underway
from 6:30 to 11:30 pm.

* Sunday, April 22nd, 2-3:30: Vancouver New Music presents the first of this
year's Soundwalks, a series of curated "active listening" urban hikes. Today's
will cover Stanley Park, meeting at the tennis courts by Beach Ave and Park
Lane. Mandatory RSVP at 604-633-0861!

* Sunday, April 29th, 2-3:30: Soundwalk again, this time through Mount
Pleasant. Gathers, again, at the tennis courts, this time near Prince Edward
and 8th.

** Later that night, the daytime people finally get a taste of Accordion Noir,
the late-night all-accordion radio show / podcast they've all been hearing so
much about. As part of the annual CO-OP membership drive, we'll be giving you
two hours of guest programming from 7 through 9 pm, holding to the theme of
squeezebox tunes in Latin American styles -- from cumbia and conjunto to tango,
hopefully with some special guests. 102.7 fm! (The show still runs regularly
weekly from 2-3 am Tuesday nights / Friday mornings 8)

* Thursday May 3rd: Ill-Esha and her krew will be laying the beats down at
Library Square as part of NewMusicWest! The library: not just a source of
cheap books and DVDs any longer!

* Friday May 4th: The ALF House will be playing host to a very special
Spartacus Books fundraiser. With a what and a where like that, more
information would simply be superfluous.

* Friday May 11th: Early poetry slam sensation and videopoet Alexandra
Oliver-Basekic launches her new book, Where the English Housewife Shines, at
the Forufera Centre (505 Hamilton Street) at 6 pm. Serial surrealist RC
Weslowski opens.


You've probably noticed that this is the first posting in years not to come
from the butchershop e-mail address, which has finally given up the ghost.
That may be the first step in spurring me to set this list up as an automated
process from which members can sign up and unsubscribe automatically... in the
meantime, you get to write in to me directly to make those adjustments. We bid
a fond farewell also to the Perpetual Motion Roadshow, exhausting the last of
its volunteers after some wild years on the highways and sofas of this great
continent. Thanks to everyone who performed and listened at their local tourstops!

~Rowan Lipkovits

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Earth Day

I can't believe I am posting the term 'eco-hit'

Saturday, April 21, 2007, 11am to 5pm

Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver, B.C.

Join the global party for the planet by taking part in this year’s Earth Day Vancouver Celebration. This free family-oriented event will have tons of fun eco-friendly activities for kids and adults and you’ll be able to help restore Jericho Beach Park at the same time! We expect record crowds to converge on Jericho Park for a day of celebration, restoration, and hands-on participation. Come be part of it all!

Earth Day Vancouver Honorary Chair 2007: Raffi! Cavoukian, world-renowned singer, author and ecology advocate. Raffi will launch the Earth Day stage at 1:00 with his eco-hit Cool It! [Youtube link]

Also with The Carnival Band

Important Details at

Earthsave is heading to Richmond for Earth Day to celebrate at a
vegan buffet
8260 Westminster Highway Richmond, BC

There is a set price at this restaurant, we're rounding it off to include tax and tip and charging members and non-members $12 each--what a deal for all-you-can-eat!

To register, email: dineout@$@earthsave*ca:
1) send a separate email for each dineout you wish to register for
2) include the name of the dineout in the header of the email
3) include your full name and phone number
4) include the full names and phone numbers of any guests you are registering

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Sat 21 April: The WorkLess Party PARTY !

Below are the specs for an up-coming "Earth Day" evening gig, If you'd like to volunteer, get in touch with: Andrea orangeandorange@$@gmail*com


The WorkLess Party PARTY!
Twice a year we throw the biggest craziest party in Vancouver: Given our reputation for big talent, booty shakin and massive debauchery, we have only one option: Throw a party bigger and crazier than ever before. Costumes, paint, booty, and big opportunities for suprise guests to take the stage with mind blowing costumes and very hot body painting/performances.

where: Japanese Centre, 486 Alexander Street, Vancouver
plus: bicycle parking !!!
date: Saturday, 21st April
doors open: 8 pm ('til late)
licensed event: must be 19 years old + with ID to prove it
bring your OWN mug !
Body art competition starts at 9pm
Advance tickets are available at:
* "The Vegetarian Resource Centre". 2250 Commercial Drive
* "Our Community Bikes". 3283 Main St. 604879-BIKE
* or on line at

Tickets at da door ... if available:
$7 if you come in costume
Go wild, go nuts, anything outrageous will do.
BIG PRIZES for best costumes!
$13 otherwise/no costume

Here is the performer list for the show:
They Shoot Horses Don't They. (Band)
Kitchen (Band)
Carnival Band
DJ Timothy Wisdom
Tspoon the Masala Mixer ( DJ from Beats Without Boarders)
Brakes (Dance group)

There is $800 in prizes for the body painting/performance competition. If you are an artist and/or performer there is still time to register. Competition to be judged by a super fab and unbiased panel of professionals. For more info on the competition please visit

There will also be a Kissing Booth hosted by the hotties from the Brakes and a Spanking Booth hosted by the Church of Pointless Consumerism.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
" Love and imagination do many things."
- Rumi

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