Critical mass, the mass bicycle ride that takes place on the last Friday of every month, stirs some strong emotions. Many of us who who ride with critical mass have mixed feelings: we celebrate the strength of the cycling community that it shows, even as we regret the inconvenience the ride causes to pedestrians, public transit riders, and drivers. On the other side, many people who lambaste the riders for rudeness and confrontation admit that cyclists, by and large, demand nothing but the rights we have by statute and nature.
A wise friend observed that nobody does things that do not, somehow, work for them. So what about critical mass works for me? Why do I ride?
- I ride to meet and support my many friends who cycle.
- I ride in the hope of putting my experience defusing violent conflicts to good use.
- I ride because I have made the journey my home, and my spirit needs to move in the world.
- I ride because so many of us ride in fear, and so many others fear to ride, and I want us to have one night in every month when we ride in strength. I ride to remember the white bicycles scattered around the city, and to support the people who go out on the roads despite what those memorials represent.