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!


Pirate Critical Mass Ride

Pass the word...
Shiver me timbers, t'Pirate Critical Mass is upon us once again!

'Tis Bike Month a comin' an' to kick off ta month we good pirates be ridin' the streets O'Vancouver!

Ye Friday, the thirtieth day of May -- as we here know it to be the last Friday of t'month -- 'tis it. So then it shall be a Pirate Critical Mass. Ridin' for one and all to join in or walk t'plank!


We be a meetin' at t'Vancouver Art Gallery, downtown, between the mighty lions and where t'water spills from t'earth on the Georgia Street side. We shall parley there around 5:00 to 5:30 p.m., Pacific seaboard time. But I reckon we won't be leavin' until six that eve, when we be liberatin' the sea of streets and bridges from th' curse of th' lily-liver'd, steel armour'd mot'riz'd ships that sail her. No quarter! As our bounty o'safe an comfortable cyclin' takes to the high streets. Yaaarrrr!!!

I reckon ther'll be tallbikes, an' puny bikes, an eberytin' in betwe'en. So come as ye will! Festooned in pirate gear for all to see! Corsairs, privateers and buccaneers welcome, but be on the lookout for our mortal enemies -- the landlubbin' ninjas -- as if they be among us, there be trouble! Bring flute or drum or any noisey thin' you can muster t'inspire the imaginatin'. Not just ye bicycles but all those who sail under their own wind are welcome aboard -- be that skateboards, wheelchairs, rollerskates, or as it'may. We set out rain or shine -- so ye best come prepaaared!

Avast, Ye Scurvy Dogs!
We Arn't Blockn' Traffick!

After th' ride there be a Pirate show for all t' see. Startin' eight thirty in the eve, pillagin' an plunderin' late onto ta night, at the club they coll ANZA, three 8th ave in the West, where the Ontario Bike Route meets the 8th.

Aye! An elp'us spread the good word by leafletting or postern' in your neck o'th woods!
Posters an' 1/4 page leaflets can be printed from 'ere:

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.

Pictures and ideas for dressing up the ride to be more fun!



  • At 1:53 pm, May 31, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Here's a map of the route:

  • At 2:42 pm, May 31, 2008, Blogger Unknown said…

    I walk everywhere I go. I take public transit more often then I drive. I agree with everything that your trying to accomplish.

    Unfortunately, I disagree with your methods.

    I was stuck in traffic waiting for the critical mass riders to pass by. I was going to pick up some furniture that I purchased off of Craigslist (the "reuse" part of the 3 R's). In the line, there was nothing but hatred towards every single one of you. Any agreement with your cause that anyone waiting in traffic had before last night was eliminated.

    Why can't you do this on a Sunday morning and I can come out and support you? Why during rush hour? There's almost 3 million people that live in this beautiful part of the world and we're all trying to get somewhere sometime. Is it impossible for car's and bikes to live side by side? Is it really one or the other? I hope not, because there is no way that I could have gotten my used sofa home on a bike!!

    I guess what I'm saying is, can't we save the earth without being self-righteous a-hole's about it? What I saw last night was over 1000 people drawing attention to a worthy cause by being obnoxious. I think that you would agree with me that being a dick is never the way to get things done.

  • At 3:32 pm, May 31, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 3:51 pm, May 31, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When there is a dense group of cyclists riding with *no* gaps, it is not necessary for individual cyclists to stop at red lights and stop signs as long as the head of the group does so. They proceed as one unit. This is safe and legal and this is what Critical Mass attempts to do.

    Things don't always go perfectly. I witnessed one very serious accident in the ride last night when a car broadsided a cyclist in the intersection at Main and Alexander. Not pretty. The group was sparse and there were no corkers blocking traffic on Main. That's when accidents happen, and it did.

    But the intent and the general experience of most is simply a mass gathering of cyclists, of all ages and professions, riding together, enjoying a (sadly) rare moment of mass joy. Thousands of smiling pedaling faces. The frustration of slightly delayed motorists is a *very* temporary side effect. Life will go on for them.

    If motoring enthusiasts wanted to drive in a large group on the streets once in a while, I certainly wouldn't have a big problem with it. There is the issue of excessive revving and idling of combustion engines...

    The cyclists in Critical Mass make every effort to give buses and emergency vehicles priority, and pedestrians whenever that's safe. If the group is riding as one unit, without gaps, and a motorist attempts to jump in or through... it gets dangerous for everyone very quickly. Thank you for your patience. Really, it will be over soon and you can go back to driving your car if that's what floats your boat.

  • At 12:08 am, June 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very very well said, Kevin. If it's about the joy of riding, why not do it at a time when there's no one on the streets? If it's about encouraging people not to use cars, why not do it in a way that doesn't turn off even would-be supporters?

    Of course, I know it's not about either of those things. It's about cyclists getting to feel powerful on the same streets where they usually feel extremely vulnerable. I suppose I can't fault you for that, but I would ask that you recognize the many many shades of grey in this issue. There are more players in this drama than "heroic cyclist" and "evil motorist." Not everyone can be the forerunners in a revolution. Your use of the name "critical mass" recognizes this. The majority of motorists are not the enemy, they are people who for whatever reason cannot or will not participate in the revolution until conditions improve. Don't shoot yourselves in the foot (tyre) by turning off the very people you need to win over.

  • At 12:19 pm, June 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    For every motorist who was annoyed, I saw at least 10 or 20 who were surprised, delighted and amazed by this ride. That's what Critical Mass is all about: fun. Join us on the next ride and find out what it's like.

    We were escorted by the VPD, and many of the smiling faces I saw belonged to the police officers. How is this ride any different than other large walks/runs, such as the Vancouver marathon and the various activist / fundraiser events?

  • At 1:41 pm, June 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've been a regular "Masser" for a while now.
    I have to say it was not one of the best I've seen:
    The route-choice through the Bike Month fair did not help in keeping the Mass bulked together.
    I realise there were very good reasons for taking that route; but we have to make sure that we "mass up" after going through a narrow constriction (the bike-path).
    The Mass continued in a somewhat "strung-out" pattern after that.
    When corking on Hastings this was very evident; and I observed some high-temper reactions by motorists (only held in check by quick VPD reaction).
    As experienced Massers: We HAVE to try and keep the butt-end solidly attached to the front (so to speak).
    Still was a great pro-active ride; but it could have been of a higher calibre...

  • At 3:38 pm, June 02, 2008, Blogger Unknown said…

    To "anonymous" RE: "the smiling faces"

    The Vancouver Marathon, the Sun Run, and other events like it are massively publicized and encourage community involvement.

    I don't run, but I went to watch the event and support two friends who were running. It was incredibly inspiring. The fact that it took me an extra half hour on the bus to get to work didn't bother me at all. I was expecting it.

    I would love to participate in th bike ride. I've seen it go by as a pedestrian and said to my wife:
    "This is one of the things that I love about living in a city like Vancouver. A wildly diverse group participating together in a common interest. Hard core mountain bikers and bike commuters. hippies. Scenesters on one-speeders, squares, families, people dressed as pirates!!!" I honestly LOVE events like this.

    Unless I'm blindsided by it during Friday rush hour. Than I feel like someone's will has been inflicted on me. Its not fun for me anymore, Its fun for other people at my expense. I don't like having someone else's will inflicted on me. Does anyone?

    I believe that the Critical Mass Ride has huge potential to be a positive force in our city. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ensure that it is.

  • At 4:01 pm, June 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kevin, I hear ya.
    I am curious (for sake of discussion) to know how something that happens EVERY "last friday" could not have become something that Vancouverites are fully aware of though.
    Even without publication: This event has been happening every "last friday" for years.
    Somehow it hasn't registered on Vancouver's radar...which I find incredible considering the effect it has on downtown traffic...

  • At 4:13 pm, June 02, 2008, Blogger Unknown said…

    I did not know about it before this past Friday. In fact, I had never heard of it before this I live and work downtown.

    Maybe I've never noticed it because I rarely drive.

    Granted, I don't have a TV, but I do have a subscription to the Vancouver Sun that I read fairly thoroughly and I also read the freebies - WE and the Straight. Can you refer me to any articles from the past year about the ride?

    The past Saturday I was looking for articles in the news, and couldn't believe that there wasn't any!!

  • At 6:14 pm, June 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Historically, with a couple of exceptions, the local press has chosen not to cover Critical Mass. Pretty amazing given that it's a fairly newsworthy event... and yes, advance notice would give drivers fair warning not to take the car in that day.

    The World Naked Bike Ride, on the other hand, always seems to get plenty of media attention.... see you there this Saturday.

  • At 11:05 pm, June 03, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    Thanks for leaving a lot of constructive feedback everyone! (On both sides of the fence) Way to go! (One violently threatening comment was removed but that was an exception)

    This was my first ride with my new baby son who is now 5 months old. It was really great to be able to do it but kind of stressful. I learned some things.

    With a baby on a long bike ride near twilight you have to worry about the sun going in the babies eyes. Also with kids when you are going to inevitably need to stop you should try and ride near the front so you can do that and not get left behind.

    Last, I must agree with Dogsbody, the plan to go through the Bike to Work Week BBQ wasn't smart. It was way too narrow and totally killed some momentum. That would have been OK but the people at the front after that didn't have the foresight to slow down and bulk up the mass. That is really important. After that part the ride was really strung apart and too fast for us with our crying baby so we left early. The problem gets compounded as people realise the mass is spread thin so they do the opposite of what would help - they speed up to catch up. Then it gets more strung out. This also pisses off the corked cagers (minority in cars) who have to wait for a longer time (longer mass) that is so strung out with gaps they have a legitimate complaint that they could cross through when no one is there (and the light is green for them too)

    Anyway, I do think Massers need to remember the integral MASS part of the ride especially for these big ones like will be in June. Don't ride alone, ride together! Ride slow enough for everybody to ride along.


  • At 11:13 pm, June 03, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    And, to respond to the complainers such as kevin - who are unusually sane and civilised this month I must say, don't mean to be rude, but we hear the same thing all the time from people not bothering to look things up. You guys are smarter than that and deserve a response.

    Critical Mass is not a message, it is a method. The reason cars and bikes don't coexist well is the reason cars and children or cars and pedestrians don't coexist well. It is a very hard and radical issue this city dominated by cars. We are not trying to get people to ride bikes on Sundays. Unfortunately cars must be displaced if we have any hope of the public being able to use the public streets (sans auto). They are technological marvels, a great extension of the miraculous bicycle technology. But they are not necessary. You did not get stuck by the mass. Your car got stuck. You were free but you chose to stay with the car which leaves you stuck.

    And if you don't think a couch can be moved by bicycle then you need to check out the bicycle forest website.

    That said, thanks for the feedback. It is important to remember the cagers are not our enemies. We cyclists do get too self righteous at times. It's important to keep the dialogue open and CM could do a lot better at that I will agree with you there.

    Have fun!

  • At 12:31 pm, June 04, 2008, Blogger Unknown said…

    To: Critical Mass Blogger.

    RE: The public must be able to use public streets.

    Thanks for deeming me worthy of a response. You have answered all of my questions.

    To clarify:

    Critical Mass is a "method" (movement?).

    This is your religion. The central ethos is: "The public (aka. people on bikes) must take back the streets from the "cagers" (aka. people in cars). The cars have trapped the cagers and removed their free will to ride bikes everywhere. It is the responsibility of "critical massers" to free people in cars by forcing them to stop driving and experience the true freedom of riding bikes (or walking, etc.). If MY CAR is trapped by the Critical Mass, it gives ME the opportunity to free myself from the shackles of my car.

    Is this correct?

    Am I close?

    If I'm close then you are no different from any religious zealot who has tried to "free" people by forcing them to adopt their own belief system.

    I moved to Vancouver for its tolerance and diversity. The very powerful will of its citizens to be inclusive of all beliefs, lifestyles and choices. In Vancouver "the public" includes pedestrians, cyclists, nudists, hippies, christians, jews, muslims, sikhs, hindus, crack heads, squares, capitalists, homosexuals, and even the evil "people in cars". The beauty of Vancouver is that we can all live here in peace.

    I'm confident that it will stay that way. Despite the efforts of people like yourself.

    But hey "whatever gets ya through the night"

    Peace out!!

  • At 1:27 pm, June 04, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    Hey Kevin,

    Sorry for sounding condescensing. I don't mean it like that. I was trying to say too many things at once. I was enthusiastic because often the complaints about CM typically quite unreasonable. Whereas what you wrote was more considerate and you are obviously trying to see common ground. Sometimes we get comments that say things like: I'm a cyclists and an environmentalist so what I say is reasonable... But I'll kill you with my car if you cross me...

    About the religious belief systems. You are onto something there. However, I'd suggest you look at the belief systems surrounding the use of automobiles before judging us cyclists who ride together so harshly. Cars are a sign of adulthood and virility. Killing someone with a car is not murder but an accident...

    While tolerance is a great thing, you're not seeing the point I am making about cars not mixing with others. Tolerance is a bit simplistic in describing all public space use in the city (Well, there are some places that are not roads for cars... such as city parks... but those are trivial in area compared to the pavement)

    Cars and pedestrians don't mix because cars kill pedestrians. It is not equal. The freedom I have is only legitimate so far as it doesn't interfere with your freedom. So if I'm in a car, and you have to cower to protect your life that I might run you over... How am I entitled to doing that? How is that diversity.

    The position that we must all share the road is commendable. But certain uses are not compatable. For instance you can't fire a gun in a children's playground. Does that make me a religious zealot for banning such dangerous activity? Or does it make you a zealot for saying that your gun is necessary even in a childen's playground.

    The truth is that cars are inherently very violent. And they are not the individual free expressions that even a gun might be considered. A car can't work without public roads designed specifically for it. A car can't work without advanced technology funded in part by the public and fuel distribution networks so vast that they too are funded by the public.

    People use cars as weapons. At Critical Mass. We call the police when it happens but it is also very "normal" violence.

    I get delayed for more than half an hour by cars quite often (the maximum delay of a long critical mass disruption to car traffic) I wish that it were only monthly. Not only that but people absentmindedly try to kill me with their car because they think their righteous use of the public space (in a car) doesn't require them to exercise even minimal due dilligence.

    I think if you look at the situation objectively you will notice it is the people using cars who are blinded by religious delusion and imposing their will unfairly on the others.

    Yes, I am using a lot of rhetoric and advocating a different belief system. that is because the religion of cars is so widespread. Is it unreasonably destructive to be a not car driving atheist in a world where you can't escape cars? Perhaps. To demonstrate a use of public space that doesn't include the normal mode of operation (so that more people can use the road than normally would). Maybe.

    I think not however. Time, and the unsustainable mass expenses of using the motor car will catch up with us all to prove how right we are about this.

  • At 1:38 pm, June 04, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    One more thing about individualism. Cars are the ultimate delusion of individualism. To use one, one has the myth that one is totally self sufficient and self supporting. Realistically there is nothing further from the truth, in environmental, technological, social and space use consideration. The illusion will run out when the road does or the gas tank. But the public has ensured an abundant supply of both so that is meant to never happen.

    Cycling is also very individualistic. (The car is a technology based on the bicycle) Yet cycling really does require you to move under your own power. The machine breaks and requires industrial maintenance... but it is much simpler. People take bikes out of the dump and with mostly cosmetic work transform them into highly functional bicycles.

    Critical Mass, as the decentrally organised collection of cyclists riding as one... Is like the individualism of the car turned on its head. Bikes block cars instead of the normal where the big steel cage blocks the bike. Critical Mass is a conflict of ideas and action, but the individual conflict doesn't reflect the whole activity.

    People in cars are not the enemy. Road rage and the values of an antagonistic "traffic" car based worldview make it seem so. It is hard as a cyclist not to react loudly and rude to someone so arrogant in a car that they don't consider how they are virtually firing a gun in a crowded public market.

    Car use is so widespread. If we personally avoid it we are only fooling ourselves - our food and everything is moved by automobiles. Fighting in road rage situations may be cathartic, as "getting" that SUV driver on a cell phone or that annoying brat on a bicycle. But it is not the real conflict. The real conflict is our collective use of cars. Critical Mass doesn't solve anything. It is only a demonstration of what else could be possible and if we are willing to try it.

  • At 2:16 pm, June 04, 2008, Blogger Unknown said…

    Critical Mass Blogger,

    I guess in your eyes, this is an "US vs. THEM" situation.

    I guess I'm a "THEM". I fail to see the logic of your religion. But religion isn't meant to be logical. It gives people a purpose and a reason for living that is greater than themselves. Debating a zealot on the tenet's of their belief system is an exercise in frustration and futility.

    I agree that car use is pervasive. Any technology that provides massive benefit at an affordable price to a huge portion of the population becomes pervasive. Some embrace it, some revolt against it.

    I agree that western society has embraced car use a little too enthusiastically. We are currently dealing with the problems of congestion, pollution and personal safety that this has caused. Where I don't agree with you is in your belief that the way to solve these problems is to force people to abandon the use of their vehicle in the name of freedom. Bikes are great man! Car's can be cool too! If used for their correct purpose in a responsible manner!

    I'm not a member of the "Church of the Car". I use a car for its intended purposes, in the spaces that its intended to be used, following the laws that govern its usage.

    I'll let you take back the "gun in the playground" analogy if you want. I think you'll agree that it's a little extreme. "gun in the playground" would be the equivalent of "car in the playground". Both are really bad ideas only undertaken by crazy people. There isn't a swing set at the intersection of Hornby and Robson for a reason. Cause cars go there. Not kids on swings. It would be really dangerous for bunch of people on bikes to ride en masse through a playground too.

    Good luck to you "Critical mass blogger". Thank you for helping me to understand what drives you. The next time I'm stuck in traffic because the critical mass wave is going by, I'll be more patient. Its easier to be patient when I understand where the "other side" is coming from.

    I admire your conviction.

    PS. MAN I'm glad I got time on my hands at work today. HA!

  • At 2:17 pm, June 04, 2008, Blogger Unknown said…

    PS. Could you maybe email a map of the route to AM 730 on the day of the ride? That would be helpful and get you some press. Even try the Vancouver Sun. They'd be all over it!! A movement with this many people involved deserves some press!!

  • At 5:40 pm, June 04, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    Hey Kevin,

    Thanks for being so patient with us and reading my ramblings. I admire your open mindedness.

    I do think the gun in the playground analogy is apt. It is extreme, yes. But that is to balance the extreme situation we are in. There actually is something like a playground on Robson. Its called a crosswalk and a sidewalk. These are supposed to be safe areas but they are not. Also parks and playgrounds are built next to roads. In fact roads themselves could be playgrounds (and are when CM comes by). Often people pine for the days of kids playing hockey in the street. Also, there is no other place to ride a bike. Biking on the sidewalk is actually more dangerous (technically speaking, according to CANBIKE instruction, because of more intersections)

    I don't think the public space that makes up our city should be only reserved for cars. If it was 50/50, that would be a compromise maybe. But right now it's like 90/10. Look on Google Earth. People have calculated the surface area devoted to cars and the overall area (not just public) is very very high ~ 20-50% (depending on development patterns, suburbs in LA vs a more car-free area)

    A dramatic writing on this topic can be found on the "Why are we doing this" section of the Chunk666 page

    I don't like to be coming across as thinking in black and white terms, us vs. them. To me it's a behavior, not a persons character, that is the problem. It's using cars in the city for EVERYTHING and everywhere too is the problem.

    And from what it sounds like you are doing: only driving rarely when necessary, taking the bus/walking... You would probably be seen as radical by the religion of car driving. Vancouver is a much better city for alternative than most in North America. That's one reason we even can have a CM so big - other places there just aren't enough people brave enough to cycle (ie Surrey)

    Also, we all end up driving at some point. I do it though I don't like to - I don't even own a car, but sometimes to go on road trips.

    The point is also about how hard it is to find alternatives. I'm glad you've found a comfortable balance but for a lot of people, riding the bus, walking and cycling are very difficult because they just aren't supported.

    Surely you must know the feeling of things being made for you when you drive. I enjoy it when I drive. All the signs and all the infrastructure is designed for me. I don't have to think of how to lock this thing up in the rain or how to "refuel" or any of that because its all already built in.

    Regarding the map idea. At the moment that wouldn't work but it might in the future. It's kind of a tradition at CM with the whole anarchism and spontaneity. To not be just another parade but to be free to ride in the streets as all should be allowed to. In Vancouver the route is just determined by whoever rides at the front (anyone can). This month it was a poor route at the start in my opinion - the ride got strung too thin so it takes longer to pass. In other places like SF where CM started people publish competing maps and the ride chooses the best one at the ride. So again that wouldn't be much notice.

    I think in the future with all the communications networking people might publish routes as the ride goes and that could work.

    I agree that with such a large ride (not just a couple hundred people passing in 5 minutes like it use to be for many years) We need to plan more and maybe compromise a little on some of the idealism about it. When a thousand people take a wrong turn because it wasn't planned it can get confusing.

  • At 1:35 pm, June 06, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    some thoughts...oneof the main problems with Vancouver, that affect pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicle driver alike, is crappy road infrastructure-Vancouver wasn't laid out with vehicle in mind, and the traffic planning was slapdash. Plus we're nestled up against the mountains, which means everyone competes for limited space.

    I'm a veteran masser, who now rides rarely (last year, I started seeing some antics that weren't too pleasing)and originally rode mostly to find friends, which I did. I can say with some authority that there are very few zealots in the ride-mostly just people trying to get car drivers aware that there are bikes, and they are listed, legally, as vehicles, as well. Perhaps many car drivers might think that CM wants them out of their cars, and get frustrated, but really, it's just to raise awareness of bikes. well, in my view, at least. and I ride, not as a political statement, but because bikes is all I have-I despise public transit, can't afford it anyways, and, well, I don't even have a driver's licence (there's a good reason for that, but that's another story) and it's doubtful I'll ever be able to afford a car. I even taught myself to ride, when I was a kid, as my parents didn't teach me.

    What I'm saying is that the message of CM as it is percieved by the public (we've had long discussions about this, I can assure you)and by CM'ers themselves, is always in flux, always changing, and sometimes I myself find it a bit self-righteous, and annoying. However-what other option is there? It seems to be a pretty good way to get the point across, in spite of it's flaws.

    If the main complaint of motorists is "I was stuck in traffic for ten minutes", that seems to me to be a bit, well, indignant with little reason for doing so. Look at this way: someone is driving home, after a crappy day at the office. It's Friday-pretty much a guarantee they are going to be stuck in traffic at some point. The come across a Cm, as it happens to be that time-well, they have free, personal choice as to how to react. Motorist A decides to fume and rage against those cyclists-after all, HE pays taxes, damnit! And dinner's waiting, and he wants to see that movie, and how dare these, these hippies, with their tax free bikes, that cost nothing to ride...well! Or, Motorist B, who thinks "Hey, cool! A parade! Hey look, a pirate! And some gal in a bunny suit with wings and a pirate eye patch-wow, is that a chopper, or-well, it's different." and sits back, and enjoys the ride.

    Your opinions are valuable, especially if being involved in a discussion-which you are, which is good-and neither side benefits from pounding on the pulpit. I've often thought "I wonder what it would be like if there was a public discussion between motorists and cyclists? On how to improve things, how to improve CM, etc. I dunno, just a suggestion.

    Oh, and for Cm'ers: here's an idea-maybe someone could take the time to print out the basic guidelines of CM, on say, a card that can be fit into a pocket or shoulder bag, say, the size of the handbills they hand out for gigs, and these could be handed out at Critical Masses. In fact, Cm'ers, perhaps the vets, could all contribute a wee donation, to get them printed up. That would solve the problem nicely. Guidlelines should include tips on dealing with irate motorists, and what to do in case of accident. If the police knew that these were being handed out, it would also make their job so much easier. I think it's a pretty decent idea-what do you think?

  • At 12:46 am, June 07, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    Hey Mr. Anonymous,

    Well put.

    About the CM tips sheet, it has been done. I've done it and others have too. You can find quarter size sheet flyers to print out right on this here blog! (look up June Massives)

    But the idea of it being on a business card is a good one. Also I think that because of the recent somewhat bad ride (The biggest ride ever that wasn't June, got really disorganised and spread out, usually we know June will be huge so at least someone does a bit extra to make flyers etc but for this pirate ride no one did that - as far as I know)... Is that there is more push to do this sort of thing and have it be really widespread like at every ride. And/or a business card size to hand out to motorists. I think the size is good because it's so easy with something so small.

    The downside of business card size and printing lots is the whole authority over the ride issue. We don't want to print something that makes people think others are in charge of the "rules" and the rules are inflexible. Everybody has to take responsibility for it to work and that also means the rules/values change. But I think we may have outgrown some of those concerns I hope and would be able to write something useful.

    I had a hard time fitting all the text on a double sided quarter page sheet. I go on too much (as you can see by this blog thread). Maybe one side of the business card could just be a picture diagram for how to cork and the other could be the text rules/points.

    Anyway if you're serious about this idea you should talk it up on the velolove list. I'm no longer in the position with my new baby to spearhead such a thing.

  • At 4:40 pm, June 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, Kevin's right. But the thing is, what they're doing can't be announced in the Vancouver Sun or whereever since it's uh.. illegal.
    That's why people are getting ticketed, because the CM riders are all criminals purposely doing a criminal thing, disturbing the peace and blocking traffic without proper permits for doing such things. How about getting a permit, doing your little bike parade thing, feel all good about yourselves, then go home?
    I've read that they are encouraged to not do it that way (permit etc), and to continue to be criminals and break the law in this manner.
    It's also morally wrong as well as legally. CM people "cork", to purposely cause cars to run their engines longer than they normally would on their trip. That hurts the environment doesn't it? Isn't that what you're trying to do by getting people to stop driving so much? Instead you actually cause cars to run longer than they would without your interference. 10 minutes at every intersection, that has how many cars sitting pumping fumes into the air? 50?
    But obviously this is only about the self righteous feeling they are giving themselves by doing this, and the feeling of "stickin it to da man", by corking (how many times do you read how fun it is to cork, fun to stand beside your bike? no, fun to stop cars from legally going through the green light, and therefore feel morally superior to the drivers obviously).
    I can't see 1 positive result from CM. I really can't. I'm looking, but all that I see as a result is bikers pumping their ego, while causing cars to pump fumes into the air more than they would, and pissing drivers off (they enjoy that part especially, from the cheers they give themselves while driving through the blocked intersections, but never during the time when they're just on the road).

  • At 10:46 pm, June 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ha, I can see it now.
    "Hello, Vancouver Sun"
    "Hi, I'm going to get 800 cars (20 intersections times 40 cars each), and run them in a parking lot for 10 minutes."
    "Because cars pollute, and riding bikes is better."
    "And I'll be on my bike shouting woohoo, but I won't have any signs with me to inform the public why I'm doing this."
    "Uhh.. what?"
    "Yeah, cars are bad, bikes are good, and I'll have my kids with me to show that families can do this. See, it validates it all."
    "That doesn't make any sense at all."
    "Oh ok, how about if I get 2000 bikes, ride around the city, block cars, causing them to pollute more than if I didn't do this."
    "That doesn't make any more sense. Wouldn't you be making drivers upset as well as all the other negative things."
    "No, because I'm right and cars are wrong."
    "Hello, police, we just got this call..."

  • At 8:29 am, June 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "it is not necessary for individual cyclists to stop at red lights and stop signs as long as the head of the group does so."

    Uh, I thought one of your groups big claims was that there is no leader blah blah...
    I guess there is eh? Ha.

    "Things don't always go perfectly. I witnessed one very serious accident in the ride last night when a car broadsided a cyclist in the intersection at Main and Alexander. Not pretty. The group was sparse and there were no corkers blocking traffic on Main. That's when accidents happen, and it did."

    No, that's what happens when you run red lights! Wow, are you really that dense?
    If you are traffic as you all like to say, then obey traffic laws, otherwise you're criminals who then complain when an accident happens.

    Are you really all that irrational and devoid of logic?

    "The frustration of slightly delayed motorists is a *very* temporary side effect."

    You're enjoyment must be at the expense of people trying to go about their lives without stupid interference? Are you that immature? Wow!

    "I guess what I'm saying is, can't we save the earth without being self-righteous a-hole's about it? What I saw last night was over 1000 people drawing attention to a worthy cause by being obnoxious. I think that you would agree with me that being a dick is never the way to get things done."
    Pretty much sums it up.

    CM results are farrrrrr from the intentions. Why don't they see this?
    Blinded by ego?

  • At 8:35 am, June 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good info here:

    "Dumb massers will conquer the whole damn roads while smart massers will stop at traffic lights and obey. A smart group of massers will be lead by one or two other massers, who will stop the traffice momentarily for the whole group to go. This is to avoid accidents. Mind you if a dumb masser trying to be cocky and block the whole lane for his own bike "ego" then it might lead to a very sad accident."

    Read and learn.. read and learn...

  • At 4:59 pm, June 26, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    Hey anonymous, sounds like an echo chamber eh?

    Your argument that idling cars are the only thing Critical Mass doesn't hold much water. You've been very dramatic and disparaging saying the same point over and over but your point is still wrong.

    Are some cars wastefully idling 'because' of critical? Yes, in the sense that we may stop them for a little while.

    Are more cars wastefully idling overall in Vancouver on the day of Critical Mass? No, not likely. Possibly less cars are, because many cars are displaced (not driven)

    Is it my fault, as a CM blogger, for wasteful cars idling? No, it's not my car! Maybe people who are upset about idling cars should stop doing it. After all, idling is illegal for more than 5 minutes. Plus, the driver is wasting their own gasoline which isn't so cheap anymore. Many drivers who choose to wait at an intersection for Critical Mass (rather than turn around) or those who get stuck - many do turn off the engine. It is smart of them and I try to thank them for it (maybe more massers should)

    The reason you and I (and the majority of the world who doesn't drive vs that North American minority who does) can't comprehend each other is we see the road differently. I'm talking about the whole road, the whole transport system, the whole street. You're talking about the individual driver who gets frustrated because cars - as a mode of moving around - are very inflexible.

    This is not what you paid for: cars are sold as freedom machines. I too, would be upset too if all the advertising for something I spent tens of thousands of dollars to buy were a lie.

    Cars get stuck and they make others stuck. They are basically like a train with each car having its own engine and a kind of train track that is everywhere. But that illusion of freedom can't go on. That illusion is based on exponential expansion of the road network using resources we can't afford anymore. The car also requires us to displace pedestrians, cyclists and almost everything else in the city.

    You know what car culture produces: Nothing but asphalt, more cars and bad air. If that's your vision of the world you can have it. But I doubt even you are that dystopic. Really you are naive because you are looking through the North American windshield lens of "the individual is all, damn those other individuals."

    Yes Critical Mass does precipitate conflict. But that conflict was already there. Cars do not share the road. Driving really slow (under 30km/hr) and being super alert for pedestrians doesn't count as driving to most people. It is also not how cars were built to be used. But it is the only safe way to use them. And only if you limit the number to a fraction of what we have now.

    And of the minutia:
    Thanks for the link to putrajaya! However, that is a site from Malaysia and it is different here. It is different all over the world as it happens in hundreds of cities (maybe thousands). You are translating their message wrong. Their language has been taken out of context. We do what is safe and practical here. In Poland, they have a 3000 person monthly ride that does have police permission because you don't want to fight the police in Poland. We don't want to fight the police here either. We do what is best for Vancouver. The point is not to just make ourselves feel better (though the ride certainly is fun, you should come sometime, it is obvious you haven't been to one). The point is that bikes ARE traffic. Actually at CM the traffic volume increases very much and moves a lot faster. This because bikes are more flexible and take up less space. Hundreds of people on bike can move comfortably where only a dozen cars with only 13 people in them would be a Jamm.

    And on the point of leaders, your quote is not accurate or it is taken extremely out of context. The "leaders" are whomever decides to go to the front of the mass and lead it. This is open. The front (the head?) of the Mass should stop at red lights. The middle should not. This is so we stick together and don't get cut in half (which would be A LOT more chaotic and idling and conflict with drivers, they did that on purpose in San Francisco once to make a point, sometimes I think we should do that but it would be not nice to drivers)

    The way we go through red lights is probably the more common way for CM around the world to do it. We do it quite well in Vancouver and are better than many cities in my opinion. For instance, Portland OR could learn a thing or two about corking from us. They don't really cork there but have lots of conflict with police and motorists. This in a more bicycle friendly city. As a result the ride there isn't popular. But that is me being judgemental. I'm certain the Malaysia Masser knows his own streets and says what he says because it makes sense there. In Vancouver that would be more disruptive.

  • At 9:10 pm, June 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 4:19 am, June 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How can you say cars don't share the road? Wow. All over Vancouver there are bike lanes, do you not see them? Cars share the road with bikes obviously, otherwise bike lanes wouldn't be called bike lanes..
    We do see the whole road structure the same, what I'm saying is do your little protest properly to carry the message (a sign would help, most drivers don't have a clue what you people are doing other than pissing them off, c'mon guys, a sign or 2 to promote the validity of your cause) Why don't you do that? Street people are smart enough to have a sign, why aren't you?
    So how about sharing? What you're doing is being as bad as you say cars are (taking up the whole road as you falsely claim (see above re: bike lanes exist).

    Of course more cars idle on CM days. They do so because you cause them to. If you didn't then they wouldn't. You're an accessory to the crime of idling for more than 5 minutes, but would rather blame them and not look at yourself.

    By the way I don't even own or drive a car, I bike as you do, it's more about how your intentions don't add up to the actual result, and cause drivers to think of us all as a bunch of punks who don't care about society. Talk to some of them and see what they all think(see above re: signs).

    And obeying the law is disruptive?
    Really? Wow again.
    What that other CM says is valid and rational. So.. Vancouver causes you to do illegal things, while Malaysia allows her to be a law abiding citizen? But here doing it legally is disruptive? That doesn't make sense.

    Here it is *in* context:
    {post removed and reposted}
    {reason: proceeds to copy entire forum discussion from link already posted to Putrajaya CM website - reposted without the spam}

  • At 4:50 am, June 29, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    No, I don't think we do see the road the same way. You seem to think that the normal day-to-day and legal status of the public streets in Vancouver is OK. Critical Mass as a "protest" does not. That is why we are there! If we were 100% OK with the way the roads are now (in part due to current laws) then it wouldn't be CRITICAL Mass it would just be a Mass. And it would be 100% celebration/party instead of the current situation of a mix of things including protest, celebration, and many other things. So, although breaking the law isn't the express purpose - it is not contrary to the purpose if said laws are grey area laws which we are protesting. (I could get into that and many have - the BC Motor Vehicle Act is NOT a just law to govern Pedestrians, cyclists and all others in the public space)

    About Malaysia: I'm not sure what you are trying to point out by repeating. Could you clarify? Obviously in this webforum the instigator of CM was trying to justify his choice of planning the ride in a way that is not as expected among the typical CM around the world (where corking is the norm). The context is not a web forum it is Putrajaya. I've never been there and I doubt you have either. If it works there then good for them. What we do does work here. That is partly evidenced by Critical Mass constantly growing year by year as well as the relatively positive (Compared to many other cities, and I have ridden CM in half a dozen places over many years, and read and viewed the movies and books about CM and been the subject in some... I do know a few things about this).

    Maybe you are right about the legal approach. I invite you to start up a Courteous Mass, or a Polite Mass or some other variation of that theme. That idea isn't new and has been tried in many different places at different times. I'd even help organise it. I've been thinking about that a lot lately for various reasons. I even asked Chris Carlsson (the CM "founder") about that on Thursday. However, I do insist that in my experience on hundreds of rides that it would probably be MORE disruptive and MORE self righteous. Certainly that is my interest lately in trying to investigate how other cities have done it (there aren't any big examples in Vancouver that I know of). I would be happy to have you prove me wrong. If you still can't imagine why... it's hard to explain but I feel that way based on a lot of things though I certainly don't know for sure. But the most obvious reason is this: when we ride as we do now we are very dense (The May ride debacle being the exception) whereas riding single file all broken up is more spread out. Being dense and taking up less space is one way of being less disruptive. I could talk about more reasons but it really would be way better to do it for real rather than talk. All talk and no action = zero!

    I had a sign on the last ride and I agree that more people holding them would help improve communication which I also agree with you is very important and something that some Massers should pay more attention too. I did see a lot of Massers on this June ride specifically making a big effort to talk to drivers and I know that people involved in the ride are actively encouraging that.

    About idling. I don't see how you can say "of course" more cars idle. That reason just isn't very convicing. I admit WE make some cars idle. We are party to that crime. Look at us! But I vehemently disagree that it is more cars idling overall than normally do idle during rush hour on Friday afternoon in Vancouver. I do think it would be better to do real research on such topics as these so that the answer was not just speculation. I'd help out but I can't make it happen on my own (or spearhead it now that I have a baby)

  • At 5:12 am, June 29, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    PS: The Putrajaya webforum includes a description of the Vancouver CM movie called 'you never bike alone' (a very good film!) However, the description there has a gross inaccuracy in summarising CM Vancouver's History. The dark days of CM being in conflict with the Police and having people arrested regularly were a lot longer ago than the early 2000s. The time when many were arrested was in Summer 1997. The time when many were ticketed was Feb 1998. The last time a person on the ride was arrested (until rides got huge in the past 4-5 years and it became impossible to keep absolute tabs) was november 1998 and that arrest was changed into a ticket (it wasn't a legal arrest really, it's on video in the movie you never bike alone in fact)

    Since then on huge Mass rides I have heard rumours of a drunk guy being arrested or a ticket for no helmet being issued. But the only confirmed one I know of is Ifny being arrested on Commercial Drive in an incident that was more complicated than just normal CM (though pretty unfair to Ifny and I'm 90% sure that also because a ticket or something minor)

    So just to point out the facts, there have been very, very few arrests at Critical Mass. Since 1998, riding every month of the year there have been zero signifigant conflicts with the police. We like it that way because it works better to work together.

  • At 5:29 am, June 29, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    Bike Lanes are segregated bicycle facilities. The road is not shared, that is the point. In Vancouver there are indeed a lot of Bike Routes (Bikeways, Greenways EG Ontario St) which do involve shared road. Lots of cyclist complain about the cars on the bike routes taking over the bike route or honking at them etc. Ditto with bike lanes.

    Cars cannot share the road. Just as trains don't. Of course people do it anyway, but therin lies the danger and the death toll. We have segregated sidewalks but more pedestrians are killed than cyclists! In a broad sense cars do not share because they take more space than needed and can run people over. They have overwhelming force. In an individual case there is sharing. In a collective sense people are afraid for their safety when they ride or walk.


Post a comment

Please be respectful and constructive. If you want to vent or hate do it somewhere else. Violent, threatening and abusive comments will be removed. Please read other posts and discussion to avoid duplicate questions.

<< Home