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Critical Mass
Originally uploaded by yvr.photographer

Friday was billed as a Day of Action by Canada’s Aboriginal groups. It also happened to be a day of action for Vancouver cyclists, as it was the last Friday of bike month, which meant a Massive Critical Mass.

The rain came and went all day and scared away many cyclists, but during the ride we were blessed with sunny skies and nearly 2000 cyclists. It was by far the biggest Critical Mass I’ve ever been involved in. I was joined by Dan and a few new cyclists from work. We were riding in the middle of the mass and for most of the ride I couldn’t see the front or the back of the pack, even when we crested hills. It was amazing how many people were out. There were tons of crazy costumes, and even 1 naked cyclist.

I had a blast, but I almost always enjoy Critical Mass. As this month’s ride was the biggest of the year, it came with its fair share of criticism. Dan didn’t like it because he felt it lacked the energy of smaller rides. I can’t argue against that. We were surrounded by a lot of new people, and the spirited, energetic regulars were spread out in the crowd. So, the chanting, singing, and buzz from previous rides was missing.

A lot of motorists were pissed because the ride corresponded with the Friday of the long weekend. Many were stuck in traffic as a parade of cyclists rode by. I understand their annoyance, but it’s once a month, and having to wait an extra 20 minutes isn’t the end of the world. The favourite argument I’ve seen presented by the anti-Mass crowd is that Critical Mass is reckless because it prevents ambulances and emergency vehicles from getting through traffic. Well, 2000 cyclists can clear a path for an ambulance a hell of a lot faster than 2000 cars can. If people really are concerned about response times for ambulances and fire trucks, they would be wise to leave their vehicles at home and free up road space for those vehicles that really need it.

If you watch carefully around 1:26 into the video, you can see naked man walk across the screen.

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