Critical Mass is a giant bike ride held on the last Friday of every month. Greg and I used to be occasional participants a few years ago, and gradually got distracted and stopped going as often. However, we still try to get to the June ride if we can, because it is truly a massive mass. Last year they topped 1200 riders, and this year early estimates expected 1500-1700 or so. There is nothing like being part of a flowing river of over a thousand bicycles, surrounded by happily binging bells and cheering and crazy mobile art displays.
The local organization also has a blog–here’s an account with photos of their latest escapade, which featured 1800 riders.
Being a downtown denizen, I see these protests quite regularly. They certainly make an impact as a massive (heh) show of public activism. It also causes a short-term traffic snarl.
Each time I see a Critical Mass event, I wonder if their approach is correct. Should ‘a grassroots reclamation of public space’ systematically inconvenience the people currently (and lawfully) using the public space? It’s an interesting question, and one I can’t figure out.
I support more bicycles and less cars on the road. However, does Critical Mass necessarily win supporters among the voting public and the lawmakers which, presumably, they want to influence?
It’s apparently quite freeform, light-on-organization group, but I wonder if they’ve done any surveys of event bystanders (and inconvenienced drivers). That might help decide whether it’s a good idea or not.