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!


Fun Family Ride Today!

It's that time of the month, it's that time of the year!

Leaving from the VAG around 6pm. Get there earlier.

Time for a fun ride in the streets of Vancouver. June is Bike Month. We've had an awesome Velopalooza. Good time to be biking in Vancouver.

Critical Mass rides every month. It is not really a protest. It is a celebration of peaceful public space. It is a direct action: by simply riding together we transform an unsafe and inhospitable environment into one that is safe. We can talk to each other and pedestrians are not endangered.

Critical Mass is not formally organised. It is anarchic. YOU are in charge, together. But it is not a mob. (Important to remember after recent mob Hockey destruction) We self organise. So, the event can change every month. For big rides like the June ride where maybe we can't all talk from the front to the back of the group it is really important that we remember these self organising principles to keep the ride safe, fun, positive and together. This has been written many times before but I'll write it again here now:

  • Stick together! That is the point. That means corking so the group stays together at intersections. That means stopping at red lights if you are at the front of the ride.
  • Keep it fun. That is why we are here, so keep it positive. So, let's take responsibility for the tone. Respect is really important and taking the high road is worth it. That means respect for drivers in cars, even agro drivers. They are people in those cars. They are trapped in a cage because they decided to get into a car this morning. They are trapped and confused because society doesn't facilitate them getting around except by car. So don't take it out on the agro driver even if they are taking it out on you. Talk in a calm voice. Try to diffuse things. If someone isn't receptive to your ideas don't force it. Remember and remind people, we are just riding together, we will be through soon, it isn't a long wait. Thank them for their patience. We all have to be patient as it takes years to change our system which is literally made of concrete and asphalt.
  • Talk to everyone! Tell them why you are here. Welcome new Massers. Please really show respect and solidarity with pedestrians. There have been incidents of pedestrians feeling trapped by the Mass in the past and this is not acceptable. A person on foot can be safely accommodated by the bikes at a Mass. That is the point. We're improving the space for everyone in the city, not just bikers.
  • Pause at the peak of the bridge to get the group together. It's important to periodically pause so that the fast people at the front and slow people at the back have a chance to stick together. This could be at the peak of a bridge, at a red light, or any time people at the front notice a gap behind them. The ride is no fun when it gets strung out as we take longer overall (too strung out) to go through intersections and it is unfair to corkers to have them stopping cars when bikes aren't there. There have been some rides where the self organising really broke down and we had a lot more conflict and less people having fun. So please, pay attention to this if you like to be up front. Usually this works well in June because it's known to be a big ride and we are extra diligent.
  • Be safe and careful: You are still riding a bike. You still need to watch where you are going! Sometimes riders get lulled by the fun social scene of the ride and are chatting instead of looking where they are! Don't get hurt. Wear a helmet. Save the libations for after the ride.
  • Watch out for others! We stick together, eh!? Sometimes someone might not notice a problem. It is up to you to speak up and make sure the ride is good for those around you. Some riders might be really inexperienced with biking - some people only ride bikes at Critical Mass because that is the only time they feel safe enough because of the group buffer from the cars. Such people need support from experienced cyclists. It never hurts to communicate. Also, young families like to enjoy the ride and sometimes need extra support.
  • For big rides (ie June and other summer rides), choose wide enough roads if you are at the front. We don't want a long long narrow strung out ride. Also, don't ride to the top of the LGB then turn around. Let's go to North Van already! It just makes more sense to not be doing U-turns like that.
  • If you do experience violent or threatening road rage then talk to the Police about it. Don't try to solve a violent problem yourself. Take a step back and breath. Don't become part of the problem.
I could go on for days but I won't. Let's just all have a fun ride. Looks like the rain might be clearing up. The ride is sure to end at a Beach as per tradition. :-)

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  • At 5:07 pm, July 16, 2011, Anonymous Adrian SInclair said…

    speaking of " Saving the libations for after the ride." - I would like to cordially invite all critical mass riders to stop by the Fussian Hall after the ride for $3 dollars off the door price at BRASS UH! FUNK: A DANCE PARTY featuring:

    TUBALUBA (Seattle)
    A New Orleans 2nd Line band based out of Seattle, WA, Tubaluba is just the grease you need to shake what yo mama gave ya. Tubaluba brings vocals, piano, drums, and a mess of horns to the party, serving up New Orleans classics with second line-ified R&B tunes and booty-shaking originals. Funk yeah! Tubaluba influences: Rebirth Brass band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Mama Digdown’s Brass Band, bourbon, hot sauce, sweet potato pie.

    DEEPSEATED (Vancouver)​m/deepseatedfunk

    THE CARNIVAL BAND (Vancouver)

    BRASS UH! Funk Live Music Dance Party

    DATE: Friday July 29, 2011
    LOCO: Russian Hall (Strathcona) 600 Campbell Street
    DOORS: 8PM
    SHOW: @ 9PM
    TIX: $15 Advance ($18 at Door)
    DISCOUNT: Critical Mass Riders ($3 off door price)

  • At 9:39 pm, July 16, 2011, Blogger Rusl Bicycle said…

    Hi Adrian, you should do a full post instead of just a comment. If you email me I can set you up (email at top of the page) Your name links to facebook? first time I've seen that on blogger. I don't do the face book so oh well but if you read this email me. (I'm out of town so if I take a few days to respond don't worry)

  • At 10:08 am, September 01, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    just an FYI there is an underground pedestrian group who are going to be at the next MASS they plan on walking in front and blocking us
    this not a joke I overheard at about 20 people at Reckbeach the other day stating they were tired of getting run over

  • At 10:40 am, September 01, 2011, Blogger Rusl Bicycle said…

    Hey Anonymous,

    It's hard to believe it isn't a joke but that would be pretty awesome if true. It would be super if we could highlight pedestrian issues more at Critical Mass - it's often, sadly, overlooked. Pedestrianism is our common denominator.

    Of course Critical Mass does not and has never been about "blocking people." As you or anyone who has ever been to CM knows. The point is to stick together.

    That said, I know some Pedestrians have been annoyed at us due to having to wait as the Mass rides past or trying to cross it and not having cyclists be courteous to that. They have complained. Sometimes its a bit out-of-proportion the standards that a once a month ride are held to vs the day to day supposedly legal and safe norm - ie CM won't kill or maim you though 'normal' traffic very much will. Also, you can talk to the Mass 'traffic' of bikes and negotiate a better way - unlike our BCMVA mandated road rules. Still, I've often requested/advertised that there be and wished that there would be more efforts by CM bike riders to heed the pedestrians at our rides.

    So, if a bunch of pedestrians want to come to the mass and advocate pedestrian rights they are very welcome (this has been said before but it was years ago.) I'd love it if it was done in a dramatic fashion. If you know anyone who is involved with this please get them to contact me or the velolove list and I'll do my best to help accomodate this.

    A Pedestrian Mass would be a great thing on so many levels. It would probably even encourage more cyclists at Mass to be more alert to pedestrians in their day-to-day riding. We're all in it together and need to support each other. Car Free Vancouver all the way! :-)

    I hope its not just a joke. Pedestrian rights are a very serious and overlooked issue. It's insane that one is subject to the BCMVA to just walk in public in the city - that one can be negligently killed by a car while walking and due to right of way or some other nonsense its 'your fault' for walking in your own city.


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