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!


First Critical Mass of Spring

Hooray for that time of year!

Yep, it's spring and so that means Critical Mass Bicycle Roll and Ride Street Festival! Come out and show Vancouver the meaning of Greenwash! This Friday, Today!

You know the time and place.

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stupidest bike lane in america

this is a pretty interesting video. Sadly, it won't be hard to find a huge list of examples of these anywhere. but its a good case for showing people who wouldn't otherwise notice. When I was in Ireland I came across a bike lane that was literally about 20m long - it basically was in the middle of a stretch of the highway where they built this thing in the middle - some kind of very short median - and then it ended. I got a picture but I'll have to digitize it. It would be a great trend if people video their stupid bike lanes and post them on youtube or something. However, it would be best to do a semi-decent job of it. There is no lack of examples but I think the better quality would go further than just showing all the many examples. If you do it in a clever way it could get on TV the first time so maybe we should find a really important thing to improve?

PS its sadly amusing that this video has a car ad embedded!



How do they get away with it?

Big corporations daily attack our friendships, our communities and our sustainable efforts and suffer no consequences, but rather are praised

By Kevin Potvin

The television ad shows a typical small independent restaurant owner scraping the hand-painted “#1 pizza” off his window with sad resignation. It then cuts to another, a mom-and-pop neighbourhood eatery as cozy and inviting as the first, to show the dejected owner switching the light off his sign that says “world’s best pizza.”

It’s an ad for Delissio, a highly-processed and over-packaged pizza-like product manufactured by Kraft, one of the biggest food marketing companies in the world with 2006 revenues topping $34 billion. The “pizza” is manufactured in some far-off factory engineered with ingredients from similar factories around the world whose production, processing, refrigeration, storage, irradiation, and shipping represents incalculable greenhouse gas emissions and resource depletions per unit to be purchased by consumers in massive “big box” corporate warehouse stores typically by driving in cars over great distances.

There is a basic statement in the ad offensive enough: “Our engineered and processed product is better than their local and fresh product.” But there are also many not-so-hidden messages here too: neighbourhood businesses and their community-engaged owners are bad; walking to your local restaurant is bad; local fresh products are bad; while big share-holder profit-driven corporations are good; driving for food that traveled great distances itself is good; irradiated and processed factory-engineered glop is good.

Telus, the gigantic communications company, has been running radio ads that put down and cast suspicions on the value of personal friendships. These ads explicitly state that a corporate-consumer relationship is more rewarding and trustworthy than a personal friendship.

Big local car dealerships have taken to purchasing advertising right on the back of public transit buses directly insulting the very people on board the bus for choosing the low-emissions, more sustainable mode of travel.

These are but three of a multitude of examples of big corporate entities directly attacking people and the choices they make to support their local communities, engage in friendships and use public, low-impact resources.

What kind of world would we have if these corporations are successful in their advertising campaigns? A world in which there are no small independent neighbourhood businesses, no one sitting with friends for face-to-face conversation, and no public transit systems, among other things. Instead, they envision a dystopia where we all gather pre-packaged food products at massive warehouses to eat alone at home out of the microwave door, where we all sit alone text messaging over electronic devices, and where we all coop up inside our own secure and atomized bubbles of steel and glass from which we flip birds at each other rushing around to get our pre-packaged food and electronic devices.

Yet there isn’t a human on the planet who thinks eating out of a plastic-wrap and cardboard box alone in front of the microwave is superior to eating with friends at a cozy neighbourhood restaurant, and there isn’t anyone who thinks public transit should be mothballed and buses sold for scrap. Everybody likes the neighbourhood eatery, chatting with friends, and public transit (at least for others to use).

Yet these are the things these companies say should all be thrown out of business. Yet if anyone suggested in these pages or anywhere else that all corporate food manufacturing corporations should be thrown out of business, that all corporate communications devices should be drowned, and that all car makers and dealers should be closed, they’d be labeled a wild radical, a menace to society. But every day, this is exactly the message delivered by corporate giants the other way around, and for this they are celebrated and feted, invited to discussions with political leaders, their managers rewarded with stellar contracts.

These people daily insist that all neighbourhood restaurants should take down their signs, turn off their lights, and shut down for good, and that all public transit should be stopped in its tracks and scrapped, and they are confronted with no reaction at all for any of these highly offensive and clearly unpopular messages. On the contrary, media companies, themselves big profit-driven corporations, fall over each other to deliver better service and results for these advertisers that try with such great effort to spread their message of social and environmental destruction.

Someone tries to destroy communities, rip up friendships, and plunder the shared environment, and it’s all the power to them, but someone chucks one rock through one of their windows, and it’s riot police and tear gas all around.

~Hey, The Republic is a great paper that could use your support.

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Get on the bus! Save the Upper Pitt River

Did you see the front cover of (Sunday's) Province?

This is an issue that is grabbing the public imagination, and can bring the government to its knees!

The Western Canada Wilderness Committee is a collection of some of my foremost heroes, and lately I've been honoured to work elbow-to-elbow with them on trying to stop Gateway. I love WCWC -- their spirit is uplifting and relentless, and whatsmore, they are so frickin' good at what they do! They're willing and ready to slog through all the tedious and sometimes heartbreaking work of trying to protect our feisty planet, and what stokes that fire is the support that they get from thousands of people like me and you...and the fact that for all the disappointments, once in a while...WE WIN.

And this one...WE CAN WIN, create a significant precedent, and change the course of history.

The short story is, the BC Govt. is privatizing power production, and SELLING OUR RIVERS to private companies. There are now 500 applications in to dam rivers and streams throughout BC.

Up for grabs now is the Upper Pitt River, just east of Vancouver. This means running power lines through Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, and likely destroying a major salmon run and precious ecosystem including grizzly bears, wolverines and mountain goats.

BUT, a public meeting in Pitt Meadows was shut down a few weeks ago by the fire marshall, when more than 400 people showed up to voice opposition. A couple of weeks back a similar meeting in Mission was standing-room-only.

This Tuesday Mar. 25 is the re-convened meeting for Pitt Meadows, and the room is booked to hold 1,000 people. Let's pack that room solid! It'll be some POWERFUL fun.

Save Pinecone Burke and the Upper Pitt!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Pitt Meadows Secondary School
19438 116B Avenue
Pitt Meadows, B.C.
4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The Wilderness Committee will be running buses out to the public hearing. Bus departures will be at Waterfront Station at 5.30 pm and Braid SkyTrain station at 6 pm. For full details and to reserve a place on the bus, please call 604 683-8220, or email

This is the final, and most important, of the public hearings on the Upper Pitt private power proposal. A strong turnout at this meeting gives us a real chance to stop this project. The last Pitt Meadows meeting drew over 500 people, and this meeting needs to be larger. We are expecting a sizable media turn out, giving us a platform to tell the truth about the impacts of private power. With your help, we can stop the attack on Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, keep the Upper Pitt safe from large-scale development, and push back on the private power industry. Spread the word far and wide!

If you haven't yet written a letter about the park boundary process, please take a few minutes to make your voice heard. The comment period for the public is open until April 2, 2008. Write to:

Boundary Change Pinecone Burke
c/o BC Parks
PO Box 9398, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, BC, V8W 9M9
fax 1-250-387-5757

See you on the bus!


Here's some more info for you:



Thank You For Taking Citizen Budget Survey

URGENT: Take Vancouver Budget Survey, Tell City Council Your Priorities

I am hoping you can take two minutes of your time to complete the online Citizen Budget survey that has been put together by the Think City Society:

Each year, the City of Vancouver goes through a public consultation process on the annual budget. During the 2007 budget consultation process, a number of citizens, business owners and community groups raised concerns about the poor participation in the annual budgeting process. Only 242 people - less than 0.04 per cent of Vancouver's population - completed the annual City
Choices budget survey published in local newspapers or made available in public buildings.

For the 2008 budget, Think City has taken the City Choices survey and expanded the questionnaire to provide citizens with a wider range of choices, and an opportunity to address issues the city hasn't addressed in its survey. Think City will gather and share your city priorities with Vancouver's mayor and councillors at the upcoming April 9 public budget hearing.

For more information about this project please visit

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Update! From the Self Propelled Outdoor Club

...thought I would pass this on to any and all looking for a little fun an adventure outdoors that isn't totally car dependant. In my opinion, the hardest thing to going 'Carfree' is making the choice to do it - which requires support and imagination so that it can be possible. Going CARefree isn't technically all that difficult - but it is very different - so a community of support is vital. This is one way to do that, to broaden your carfree horizon!

---from the club:
Just a quick note that SPOC has some good news. You may have heard already, but the website has been updated: SELFPROP.ORG and there is lots to check out there. Most of the additions have been in the "Trip Reports" section, specifically in the 'full list' link on the "Trip Reports" page.

In other news, lots of organizing of trips happen on our listserve, so if you are not on it, join! It is free and really doesn't take very long at all. I would consider selecting the option for a daily digest, as getting all the banter in individual emails can be a bit much.

Lastly, we are currently looking into organizing a fundraiser for a local learn-to-bike group. Again, join the list serve or check out the site for updates.

See you out there, Damien SPOC Prez.