We can do this
Vancouver's bike shorts in a knot for nothing
Last updated on Thursday, Aug. 06, 2009 10:28PM EDT
What is it with Vancouver? Mere days after the local media and citizenry worked themselves into a ludicrous lather over the closing of a single lane on the Burrard Bridge, oops, they did it again.
This time, hysteria levels were raised to a fever pitch about the Critical Mass bike ride destined to bring civilization as we know it to an end last Friday, with several thousand cyclists refusing to stop at red lights and being purposefully vague about where they were going. The horror, the horror.
These monthly rides to celebrate biking have been taking place for a while, but this time, for some reason, everyone seemed to go a little nuts. Police begged for advance notice of the route, radio hotlines burned with rage, city councillors urged calm, and the media prepared once more for chaos – choppers and breathless reporters at the ready.
Of course, the rides are a pain in the butt for downtown drivers trying to get somewhere on a busy Friday night. The previous Critical Mass produced an actual altercation. But no worry. Riders were told how to handle angry motorists.
“Stopping to ogle seems to escalate the problem by focusing on the conflict. Breathe deeply,” a Critical Mass pamphlet suggested, adding helpfully, “It is harder for people to be angry when we are having so much fun. …” True, that. You want to put a smile on the face of a Hummer driver? Just send thousands of cheery cyclists past him when he's trying to get to the bar.
Similarly, for those brave souls standing in the way of cars at intersections: “You can wave at the bikers going by, and entertain the drivers who are waiting.” How about sawing a cyclist in half?
At any rate, the pedal-pushers rode all over the city, and, as with the predicted Burrard Bridge brouhaha, nothing happened.
Still, Vancouver Police spokeswoman Constable Jana McGuinness kept us all up to date with rapid-fire reports, as if O.J. Simpson were headed down the highway in a white Bronco.
10:24 “The ride appears to be heading towards the Lions Gate Bridge, as they are now in Stanley Park Drive.”
10:35 “Riders appear to have abandoned the plan to head over the Lions Gate Bridge and are now headed back into the downtown core along Robson Street.”
10:51 “Riders are once again heading along the Stanley Park causeway towards the Lions Gate Bridge.”
11:38 “The riders are now crossing the Burrard Bridge and may be heading towards Kits Beach.”
11:50 “The ride has concluded near Kits Beach and participants are breaking off on their own now.”
11:52 “Why am I here?” (Just kidding about that one…)
The city slept soundly.