Big June Critical Mass Ride to Close Out Bike Month, Friday, June 25
One of the biggest ride and rolls of the year, and possibly the largest ever bike ride to hit the streets of Vancouver, the June Critical Mass Ride closes out this year's Bike Month.
Join fellow bicyclists, skaters, and bladers for this leisurely and spirited celebratory ride and roll through the streets of Vancouver. Meet at the Vancouver Art Gallery on the Georgia Street side between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. -- and roll and ride at 6:00 p.m. The ride is on rain or shine! Costumes and decorated bicycles, trailers, signs, flags, noisemakers, gettoblasters, sound systems, drums, and wildly modified bicycles are all highly encouraged!
Pre-rides to Critical Mass:UBC riders meet at the UBC Bike Hub, on the north east end of the Student Union Building, at 4:30 p.m. for a group ride to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Phone 604-822-BIKE for details.
East Van riders meet 4:00 p.m., leaving 4:30 p.m., from Grandview Park, 1200-block Commercial Drive, for a group ride to the Vancouver Art Gallery.
What's Critical Mass and how do I participate?Celebrated around the world, Critical Mass is a grassroots reclamation of public space -- on the last Friday of the month -- which allows cyclists and other self-propelled people to move safely and comfortably through city streets in a car-free space. Non-polluting forms of transportation are promoted.
The ride stays together for safety and fun. If you are at the front of the ride, stop if you are approaching a red light. But continue as a group if the lights change red while passing though an intersection.
You will see participants at the front peel off to block motorized traffic from entering the Mass. That's called "corking". Corkers keep the ride safe and allow the Mass to pass though intersections where the lights have turned red. Thank them for corking!
Never cork alone. Join lone corkers, and for intersections there should be six or more corkers. And remember, do not cork oncoming traffic in opposing lanes.
If you're at the front, please don't speed or take narrow roadways or paths. It stretches the ride out and makes life harder for corkers, riders, and those waiting for the Mass to pass. Be aware of the ride's slower participants, and keep a slower pace. If the Mass has thinned out or has broken into more than one group, which happens following hills or where the street has becomes more lanes, the front should wait at green lights for the group to "mass up".
Don't stay on any given street for very long, so that public transit can pass. And always let emergency vehicles through. Please don't ride on sidewalks or in opposing traffic lanes.
The ride is a celebration, and an alcohol/drug free event. Take absolute responsibility for your actions and show motorists a better way to travel. A way which is more equitable, efficient, fun and socially responsible than the car. There's no need to be unfriendly or argue with motorists -- our sheer numbers tell the story. Look after each other, speak up, and ride with confidence.
Who decides where we go?You do! Some rides have a destination that may be suggested at the start of the ride, but the route is always decided by the riders in the front. If you have an idea where the ride should go, move to the front and participate with others in a group decision. Remember to make it fun and interesting, and that Critical Mass has no leaders.
A special note to those at the front: It becomes unsafe for those in the rear if the Mass strrrreeeetches out, there are big gaps, or the body of the Mass looses it's tail. If the front can no longer see the rear, or the Mass has just passed through a "choke point" -- stop at an intersection where there's room for the entire Mass to completely bunch up again (and where the front of the ride can see the rear again).
For more information:http://vancouvercm.blogspot.com
Critical Mass Vancouver on Facebook:www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2227461980
Worldwide details may be found at:www.critical-mass.info
criticalmass.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_ridesUpload/View Vancouver Critical Mass Photos at Flickr.com:
comment by rusl:
Wow, what a fun ride. I had not been in a while. So many smiling faces and my 2 year old son had a lot of fun handing out chocolate bars to anyone who would have one. (They were expired but still good.)
Definately not the largest ride. I think the number of massers was down quite a bit from peak summer rides other years. But it was still a sea of bikes. In a way I was glad it was less people (I heard estimates of 600-1000) because sometimes the biggest rides with thousands get unwieldy because it is so large it might thin out in some spots or be too slow on a narrow street, motorists are waiting longer, I was glad for a little less intensity personally. If we want to sustain those much bigger rides I think that we need to come up with some strategies for doing that like breaking the mass into different sections of 500 each... or something to keep things smoother... I don' know, just throwing out ideas here... Join the velolove list for discussion on that topic.
I did see one altercation between some massers and somebody in an SUV. The SUV driver was revving his car and lurching forward. A potentially lethal or injuring situation. One of the cyclists used his bike to hit the SUV. When the fight or flight kicks in it may seem like a good idea but don't do that! The best we can all do is try to de-escalate those situations. You can't win by fighting. There are often many police nearby so if you feel someone in a car is using the car to threaten you it is best to have them deal with it because they have the power to instead of maybe making it worse by trying to fight. Calm and friendly demeanor even in the fact of rude/threatening/dangerous drivers is really the best approach. Ghandi had some good ideas. We don't have to go as far as him, we just need to support each other and not let stupid road rage get people hurt. If someone is getting stupid using a bike to hit a car or some such then probably they are panicking and need some help. The best help is calm reassurance. I know it is scary when your life flashes before your eyes but as cyclists we get use to that (unfortunately) and have learned that even when that happens the best results come from taking the best approach which is to keep level headed and act together. Another way to think about it is the drivers perspective. They just don't understand how dangerous they are being. To them it is like a video game. If you make them feel threatened by yelling or trying to force their car they are going to get scared and freak out. They have almost no options trapped in their steel cage. They have pedals and a steering wheel so when they feel threatened they are likely to use those and if you are in the way they just don't care because they can't even feel you. Your life isn't worth their stupid ego. We can calmly defuse even the most tense BS like that --- take a step back and breath. We are strong in one another.
That one incident was the exception, I saw nothing else negative, not even yelling. It was an amazing ride.
There is always going to be some confrontation with Critical Mass because riding a bike on streets made for cars means confrontation. We would like that to be different. We would all like to be able to ride in peace without having to fight just to be there. When we ride together we make that confrontation more obvious to everyone - we precipitate what is already there. We have the opportunity by riding together to change that confrontation from something negative and hidden to something public and positive. What I say tonight was some excellent efforts to do that and amazingly there were hundreds and hundreds of people biking and very few conflicts. The one glaring exception that I witnessed was dramatic but not the end of the world, we can do better. That sort of thing happens everyday, its better that we actually acknowledge it and have a chance to improve instead of what normally happens where that sort of road rage behaviour is the norm and regular people are just too scared to bike with cars around.
Guest Blog by Bronwen Besso-Smith
Gender is an artificially constructed way of looking at the world; we tend to see it as innate and unchangeable, but in reality it’s fluid in nature, and fluctuates often. Our society prefers to view gender as inborn…static and clearly defined, we are taught that it’s safer that way.
Many people, including feminists, don’t realise the negative impact sexism and enforced gender norms can have on not only women, but on men too. It’s essential to all of us that we make an attempt to ‘unpack’ what gender means to us.
I view transgendered people as amplified mirrors of the gender struggle that every individual inevitably experiences in their lifetime, although generally in a more subtle way than those who are transgender. For example men aren’t allowed to show a full range of emotions; the ‘be strong’ script they are taught from a very young age precludes sadness and softness (e.g. “boys don’t cry”). Males are often channelled, by culture and training, into less sensitive jobs that don’t involved kids or helping roles.
Women aren’t supposed to be angry [a transition house manager told the workers she supervised that she had noticed the angry women got less attention than other residents]. Little babies are often gender coded by their clothing colors, as their genders aren’t as obvious as those of older children and adults. It’s too scary to us as a society to not be able to easily identify every person’s gender at a glance, even in infants, when gender is completely irrelevant.
This refusal to let each gender show the full range of emotions and experiences is nothing short of a denial of every individual’s innate humanity, which entails the right and necessity to really feel and process all of our emotions.
I am really interested in the way our current brand of feminism seems to leave men out of the conversation. Their views on sexism and the way it impacts them across the board aren’t generally solicited or listened to within the feminist community, much as women’s opinions and strengths are undervalued in society at large. Though I am proud to call myself a feminist, of course, I think this is extremely marginalizing for the movement.
To acknowledge the restrictive gender binary and sexism’s negative impact on men is to no way negate or minimize the extreme impact it has on women. Feminism cannot move forward and be championed by the mainstream until it recognises and acknowledges, and works to rectify the depth and breadth of sexism’s negative impact on men.
Because the feminist movement is in a sense a mirror of our culture, which tends to see most things in extremely black and white terms, it often becomes polarised as us versus them. Women experience so much discrimination that most feminists believe it would discredit the movement to acknowledge the way our society creates male oppression. This limited binary view is very similar to our societal view of gender itself (i.e. black and white thinking).
The way towards a more harmonious world is to think of feminism as a tool or a key to unlocking oppression for any marginalized person in the world, male or female. Feminism can help us to realise the negative and extremely limiting affects of sexism on all genders, and to think of gender as a fluid, non-static entity we build for ourselves as we move through life, not as something imposed on us at birth as part of a rigid genetic code, enforced by society.