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!


Department Of Health And Human Services Recommends Standing At Least Once A Day

WASHINGTON—As part of an ongoing campaign to promote physical fitness and well- being, the Department of Health and Human Services is urging all Americans to set aside time at least once a day to stand.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius extolled the numerous benefits of regular standing, explaining that it can be central to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

"We recommend placing two feet on the ground shoulder-width apart, straightening out the legs, and then locking the knees to hold an upright position," said Sebelius, adding that just about anyone can start standing regardless of age or prior experience. "Supporting your own weight while keeping your torso erect won't just make you feel better. It will also force much-needed blood to your legs—and the positive effects will continue long after you've sat back down."

"So get out there and stand," she continued. "One to two times a day, if possible."

In conjunction with the announcement, HHS officials are distributing a free poster to the public with guidelines on how to stand safely and efficiently. The instructions, along with illustrations to show each separate phase of movement, caution beginners to rise slowly, brace against a sturdy object for support, and always be under the supervision of a spotter.

While the poster lists as an initial goal the ability to stay up for five seconds, it suggests those who have mastered the basics aim for at least three minutes of moderate standing per session. Advanced standers, classified as those who can easily maintain the position for 10 minutes or more, are urged to also try lifting their arms to eye level and, if they're feeling up to it, taking a step.

"We don't want people to push themselves too hard too quickly and get hurt," said HHS Deputy Secretary Bill Corr, noting the importance of saving enough energy to bend one's knees and sit back down. "If done correctly, though, standing can be a fun activity people actually look forward to each day."

According to surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans who stand daily has dropped 32 percent in the past decade. In an effort to reverse the trend, HHS is hoping to increase its education and outreach programs so that the majority of citizens are standing regularly by 2016.

Dallas resident Joshua Miller, who recently signed up for a standing class at his local gym, told reporters that while adding a standing regimen to his daily routine has at times been challenging, he believes that he will eventually see results.

"You can really feel it in your legs; it's hard work," Miller said. "There are some days when I'm so exhausted that the thought of putting on my clothes and standing just sounds like the last thing in the world I'd want to do, but I try hard to push through. I know the more I stand, the more energy I'll have later on for other things, like eating."

HHS officials were also quick to note that proper stretching and breathing techniques should be performed before and after every session in order to avoid common standing- related afflictions such as vertigo and stander's knee.

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January Critical Mass Vancouver

I just had to reprint this really pithy little summary of yesterday's Critical Mass. Please see Flick Harrison's original post for full article and many more pictures.

This week there’s been a debate on the Velolove email list in Vancouver about Critical Mass: should it be abandoned or radically altered now that we have a few bike lanes and a pro-bike council? The debate got me so riled I decided to go to Critical Mass for the first time in years, partly to re-assess my ideas about the event. I also wanted to show support for bike culture in general at a time when the haters are hating and they’ve taken over Toronto.

A basic medical ethic says: First, do no harm. In other words, don’t make things worse or it will be harder to make them better. A few folks think that Critical Mass does more harm than good, especially now that bike culture has invaded city hall.

I don’t think CM needs to stop just because we got a couple of bike lanes built in Vancouver. How many Vancouverites really understand how important CM, and other bike-advocacy clusters, really were in that process? The visibility of any interest group contributes to their political success, and cyclists are no exception. So if CM faded away, what would happen to everything cyclists have gained in this city? Do the powers behind the automotive industry and consumer culture in general just fold up their tents and admit defeat?

Would those same people argue that the car culture in Toronto will now sit back and enjoy their victory, stop agitating their base, etc, now that Rob Ford has declared the war on the car is over? Should the cyclists in TO just give up? No to both, of course; cars will keep trying to consume everything put into their gas tanks and cyclists will keep struggling for saner alternatives.

Is there any other activist camp that has a big public party once a month? CM is a vital and unique node, and it should continue.

I can assure you that after a super-fun, polite, and exciting tiny little ride (one person counted 28 riders at peak), I came away certain that Critical Mass can do no harm. We got one unfriendly honk versus dozens of friendly toot toots, lots of hollers, the group stayed very tight (it was small, after all) and corking was barely necessary.

~from Zero for Conduct blog

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Approaching Critical Mass

It's good to hear people taking interest in the direction of Critical Mass.

Critical Mass is simply a gathering. The motto is, We Are Traffic.
Until that slogan makes sense to everyone in the city, Critical Mass
is sorely needed.

Critical Mass is not a fuck you. It's not much of a protest either. It
is a direct action to change the use of space. It is short lived. And
it works best when it is a celebration and not antagonism.

It's disheartening to hear people who have ridden on the mass yet feel
still so beholden to the city of cars that they think riding together
is impolite, impolitical or otherwise pushing for too much. It's a
pretty pathetic standard of accomplishment if at the first sign of
progress we give up.

Let's be clear. This city is still built for cars which, when used
properly, kill pedestrians and our environment. There is a lot of lip
service from the city and other levels of government about cycling
now. Advertisers and private interests now like to fly the flag of
cycling. Cycling is photogenic. Supposedly pedestrian and cycle use of
the city streets is the priority. Every day there are 50-200 more cars
(depending on the numbers you use) added to the total in the lower
mainland. 95% of all the bike facilities in the city, even the new
ones, would be pointless if there were not cars - in other words, they
are car facilities that allow the existance of bikes (meagrely) more
than they are actual facilities to help cyclists. The city is
currently installing pedestrian push buttons at major intersections so
that the timing of lights can exclude pedestrian crossing if the
button is not pushed. This is a major downgrading of pedestrian
priority yet the funding for this is the "pedestrian improvement"

There is lots to fight about and for. We have not won. We have small
gains. When we have won we will know because Critical Mass will be
enjoyed universally as it should be - the haters will no longer be
voicing their old old same old story that biking alone or in a mass is
wrong on our public streets.

That said, strategy is good. Cleverness is good. Now is the time to
improve Critical Mass if we can. Or change to suit the city as it
changes. It would be nice if we could mass in Surrey and Langley and
pretty much everywhere but downtown Vancouver. But that's a hard sell
to those who enjoy the current ride in the current favourable
location. We should be creative and try bike in bike lanes. Why not.
We can figure out fun ways to do these things. I've always thought it
would be fun to ride around the non-arterial bike routes on a mass.
And it would be satisflying to displace some of the cars that overuse
those routes (Heather Street!?). We should express support for city
policies we like. Giving up or apologising for being there is not the
answer and will never be. People advocating that, especially those
saying that there is some new condition that makes it imperative that
we stop, are using the same old argument that bikes don't belong. If
you are a cyclist and think that cyclists gathering to cycle together
is offensive in some way - then you are simply self loathing. It's
hard not to feel that way. The street in front of your house is built
for cars first and if you get killed riding your bike there it is your
own fault. We can change this. Patience is good. If you think there
are parts of Critical Mass that you don't like, that are not just
people gathering to cycle, that convey hostility, etc. Then change

Critical mass will continue. It would be better if those critical of
it are included and help it grow. As long as we start from a place of
respect: That we all belong here in our city and in our streets. We
will continue to roll forward.

Take care and take the lane,
rusl bicycle


Of all forms of caution, caution in love is the most fatal.



  • under Burrard Bridge (downtown side) by the Vancouver Aquatic Centre parking lot, 1050 Beach Ave. Vancouver BC
  • 12:00pm - 5:00pm, Meet anytime after noon for free coffee/hot chocolate - we will ride around 1pm

Saturday January 29th 2011. Meet at 12pm for free coffee/hot chocolate. Wear a costume and win prizes! The ride is about 12km on bike paths/lanes with very limited amount of on street riding. It will end at the Brixton Cafe (212 E. Georgia) where we can warm up and prizes for costumes will be awarded. Bring your kids! We will have a shorter ride option for them.

(Please RSVP if you're bringing kids so that we know how many will join us. Grab bags will be handed out for ALL kids at the Brixton.) You can RSVP on facebook or email info[at] Velopalooza, info at,

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Bike P0rn IV

The one and only Reverend Phil is bringing bike porn to Vancouver. Get out and support some creative local film making and all round bikesexual fun.


Saturday Jan 29th
Dharma lab
1881 Pandora

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How propaganda poisons the mind - and our discourse

By Glenn Greenwald

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Who REALLY pays for Highways? NOT drivers, report finds.

from the VACC listserv:

A recent American report shows in detail how drivers DO NOT pay for the roads/highways that they use. The author also provides some insight on WHY the 'useful fiction' of drivers paying is so persistent, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

While based on the USA situation, most of the elements of the author's analysis look to apply equally to the Canadian situation.

Available as a direct download from

Ron Richings
Vancouver, BC

Hi Ron:

Thanks for sending this around.

There are two other reports like this that I have seen. One is from ToddLitman at the VTPI, the other is from the BC Provincial Gov't (Department of Transportation and Infrastructure).

Their conclusions are pretty much congruent between the three of them.

Bye, Ken Ohrn