May Critical Mass

2008-05-31

in Canada, Ottawa, The outdoors

Ottawa Critical Mass

Following Ottawa’s interminable winters, Critical Masses of decent sizes have resumed. While some thin-skinned individuals were scared away by a few low-lying clouds, it was ideal cycling weather: warm and overcast, with no danger of discomfort of any kind.

For the most part, this was a civilized ride. There were a lot of first-time participants, so it was unusually important for people who knew what’s what to direct the mass. There were a couple of insane things done by taxicabs. The mass was heading up along the eastern edge of the Rideau Canal, along a two-lane road. Unwilling to wait a few minutes, to taxicabs decided to gun it the wrong way up the road, beside the mass. The second cab came within a couple of metres of crashing spectacularly into oncoming traffic.

Anyhow, here are some videos from yesterday’s mass:

I look forward to the ride next month.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

oleh May 31, 2008 at 9:31 am

Vancouver also has a critical mass ride on the last Friday of every month gathering in front of the Art Gallery at 600. There is also a monthly theme. Yesterday it was the pirate theme. Fun and fellowship is the constant. My Curious George shirt fit right in, Perhaps you will want to try it next month. Argh, me matey.

Litty May 31, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Cute girl

. May 31, 2008 at 2:24 pm
. May 31, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Gardiner plugged by 200 rogue cyclists

At least 200 cyclists, some with kids in tow, swarmed the busy Gardiner Expressway last night in a reckless 7-km protest that brought traffic to an abrupt halt for 15 minutes.

Hoping to garner support for more bike lanes on Bloor St., the cyclists, many of whom were members of Critical Mass Bicycle Ride, pedalled up the Jarvis St. on-ramp around 7 p.m. and took over three westbound lanes of the busy highway as they rode to Dunn Ave., police and witnesses said.

Sarah May 31, 2008 at 5:10 pm

We’re not blocking traffic, we ARE traffic!

Litty May 31, 2008 at 9:19 pm

There is a difference between a Mass moving through city streets and a Mass moving onto a highway. They are both forms of social protest, but they differ.

The first is a way to re-occupy valid space: like the ‘take back the night’ marches women do. The second is more aggressive: it is being an inconvenience on purpose. Drivers may deserve to be inconvenienced (their choice to drives harms others), but overly punitive behaviour has a different effect on how people think about cyclists.

Sarah May 31, 2008 at 9:48 pm

I’m not sure I understand the difference you’re getting at – after all I regularly see small groups of cyclists on the Trans-Canada. Wouldn’t it be reasonable for them to join together into a larger group in order to more safely use the road that their taxes pay for? Or is it the intent in the Toronto case that you see as distinct?
For contrast, you might consider how you would feel about other slow moving vehicles eg. horse riders, farm machinery, or even lorry drivers blocking the roads in protest (as has happened at least twice in London since 2000). If you find yourself more sympathetic to the guy driving the combine harvester or the protester in the lorry than the multitude of cyclists then it might be worth thinking about why.

Milan June 1, 2008 at 2:02 pm

I agree that there is a strategic side to consider, in relation to Critical Mass. It can be satisfying to antagonize drivers, but it is probably counterproductive overall.

A lively display on roads seems to please more people than it annoys (judging by people waving, shouting things at the Mass, etc). Blocking a highway is likely to annoy or anger everyone not in the Mass.

. June 4, 2008 at 11:40 am

Critical Mass Rides

By Adam on politics

On Friday, May 30th, two hundred plus cyclists gathered together to ride up the the Jarvis Street ramp to slowly (and illegally) take over the entire westbound lane of the Gardner Express Way. This was part of the Critical Mass movement which takes place on the last Friday of every month in cities like Toronto. The general purpose of the rides is to increase awareness of cycling and cycling safety issues. While not attempting to be overtly political, 200 plus cyclists stopping traffic on a Friday rush-hour will always be viewed as a political statement, regardless of intent. Fellow contributor to the site Padraic, may be divided on the issue, but I take exception to acts like this.

. June 14, 2009 at 1:34 am

The Naked Bike Ride

Posted by zoom! on June 13, 2009, at 5:53 pm

The Naked Bike Ride was hilarious. There were naked and semi-naked bodies of varying ages and sizes, along with curious spectators, voyeurs, bicycle cops and tons of photographers.

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