- This is a History written mostly by Russell until 1999, more of a journal really of earlier rides he had been to in Vancouver Critical Mass. If you have more history of Critical Mass to add please email it and we will post it here (though not instantly, we're all volunteers!)
- To get a good General History of the Critical Mass movement as started in San Francisco go check out their web site.
- Also, there are many Critical Mass web sites worldwide which have various stories to tell.
- We now have a songs section which transcribes much of that.
- Also check out the photo section which features many images of rides in 2001 The velolove listserv where Critical Mass organising has occured since the summer of 2001 is archived on this webpage and is a good unedited history.
Feb 27/98 Ride!Posted to BEST listserv: BEST@sustainability.com
I was just at critical mass downtown this evening when an unfortunate incident occurred. We were riding around quite happily until a police squad car started following us. Then a "nice" bicycle police man came up riding sort of with us and told us to please move over to only one lane on the right. We pretty much did that - this one guy was arguing but not being too much of a problem and so we thought the police had been appeased. This was all traveling NE on hornby and then we turned right onto Georgia. The police continued to follow us as we waited at a red light behind some cars, noticably less joyous as we felt we were being watched. Then when the light changed we continued but seemingly out of nowhere at georgia and granville there was a police motorcycle in the second to the right lane blocking traffic. We approached cautiously and then 2 more motorcycles came to blocks (on the right side of the road - where we were riding at the time I must add) Then I don't know if they told the people at the front to stop but weekend that is what they wanted when one cyclist at the front didn't know what they wanted and was riding slowly by and an officer grabbed the back of his fender and said forced him to stop. So the bike police surrounded us on the front and side with the bike cop and the squad car boxed us in from behind. They proceed to go around collecting ID and issuing tickets, asking and taking ID before telling people what was going on. So almost all of us except one or two that were missed got an 86$ fine for "not riding close enough to the right"
We were fairly co-operative considering it was like pulling teeth having them tell us what they were doing. And our supposedly "nice" bicycle cop was heard to remark: these streets are designed for cars when asked about the obvious injustice of us being fined rather than the real cause of congestion on the streets. When I asked about the specifics of the law which says cyclist should be as far to the right as practical, I suggested that the law meant safe=practical and perhaps we were just being safe spreading out on the street to the extent we did. This was not agreed by the officer and he said we should not be anywhere but the far right -indicating to us that his interpretation of the law does not allow cyclists room to pass safely! So we are of course all very mad at our treatment and not happy with shelling out 86$ so we will probably try to challenge the tickets on the right side of the road safety issue
Is there anyone out there who would like to help see justice done - especially those who are legally knowledgable? email me if you want to help. Hope your friday was better than the end of mine. Later
"Cars really suck" -Jesus (Matthew 15:43-44)
The first court challenge is finally coming January 5th, for more info and how to show your support email me!
The Ride originating at Grandview Park had problems, there were another 50-60 people who showed up. A full review will come from if he ever decides to write it!!! (send him email and bug him about it!)
November 27/98 BUY NOTHING DAY RIDE (From posting to BEST listserv again)
Buy Nothing Day and Critical Mass went quite well this month. There were a good number of people who showed up and many thanks to the awesome adbusters people for supplying lots of energy. There was an incident involving the police in which a motorcycle officer grabbed a female rider 'Smith' for running a red light, though it was simply her at the back of the group where they held up traffic to all stay together in a group rather than entering a red intersection against traffic. She was slow picked seemingly randomly. The police grabbed her off her bike and manhandled her putting her into handcuffs (entirely unclad for use of force) and did not tell her why except many minutes later suggesting she was under arrest for resisting arrest.
The whole group gathered round and two video cameras and an international radio reporter from france put the spotlight on the officers so that they were prevented from further mistreating her and they were sort of stuck as to what to do next. Eventually Sergeant Rob Rothwell (bike police from Spoke n' Word Fall'96) showed up and realizing the stupidity of the police action took her away to the nearby community police station to be "talked to" and they did unhandcuff her. She was then taken there and fined approximately $270 for running a red light and refusing an officer then set free shortly. The ride meanwhile continued to be upbeat and without further incident with the police even supporting by diverting traffic away from the ride.
I have a lot of very good video 8mm footage of the events including the overzealous apprehension of the bike rider. She is planning to challenge the ticket.
So I am going to ask for:
1. Help from anybody with legal issues of challenging the ticket. Contact me and i will be in contact with our abused rider.
2. Help with the videotape - anybody interested in helping possibly put some of the footage in the media and secondly if anyone knows how to take still photos from video so we can put them on the website and possibly into the media.
Despite the arrest our heroine remained upbeat if a little shook up and the ride was NOT effectively intimidated. It is unlikely the police will use such unsound tactics in the future.
Since then, Smith has gotten legal aid and will challenge the ticket, we still need any help we can get with publicity however.
Update of Nov27/98 Arrest!
(Updated Oct.8, 2002)I had put together a very short (1 minute) and low quality video of the arrest, several months after the event. At present I have removed the video, at the request of the victim, M.Smith until I can edit it so that it does not show her face (If any video experts out there can help me with this, please do, email . I still have the video and may show it privately if you contact me by email .
Smith emailed me with a very brief update on the eventual outcome of the charges layed against her:
The ticket was dismissed as far as the fine was concerned though i did get a "point" on my driving record for "running the red light". The fellow who aided was most gracious. I was extremely thankful for the support. The experience was horrible for me.
Editorial written at the time the video was posted (June 99)
I will say as well that this seemed to be the last time the police have "harassed" us and they seem to have changed policy de facto. I talk about this more in the Feb 26/99 ride reveiw. But since Feb 26/99 they seem to ignore us becuase i think they realised that day if they don't create a confrontation then we will be OK and are we are doing is riding our bikes and we want to have fun and not be arrested and such.
The persistent problem is of course that the police could just as easily change tactics and start harassing CM again because the law is actually not written but gives a lot of leeway for enforcement to the police. For instance "riding to the right as is practicable" is the law and can mean almost anything. Cars in fact are to ride to the right under nearly the same provisions and so it is really up to the officer. Right now we seem to have some smart enough police to realise that traffic law is about safety, bikes increase safety and should be left alone. However this can change at any time.
What needs to happen is that bikes must have full rights plus be a major transportation policy objective as they are simply a better way to move people than cars which require so much theft of public funds to maintain. That is why we ride, to create that safe space for a little while and lead by example.
Dec.18/98 RideDecember ride was good, if cold. About 20 showed up despite this.
A stupid incident occured when this maniac driver hit someone riding at the back of the group without any real buildup of tension. This was an accident on the drivers part but resulted from him driving super aggresively, trying to intimidate the us. Robert, who's bike was hit, was unhurt and only his rear wheel was damaged. This was supposed to be solved privately, it is a matter of less than $100, but the driver is uncooperative Robert was dealing with ICBC. At this point it is unknown how ICBC will arbitrate. It seems like they favour the irate passenger witness whose testimony is below. My own testimony is below. I will post here when I know more.
After the ride people decided that they wanted more fun things to do on the ride, such as singing. A meeting was arranged for Jan.15th/99
Account of events by Russell Adams on December 18 1998 about 6:10 p.m. in Front of Vancouver art Gallery on Robson Street and Hornby. (testimony to ICBC)I attended the Critical Mass ride on Friday, December 18th, 1998. This is an event where cyclists gather to cycle to show solidarity for each other, to highlight the dangers of automobiles and to have a safe, peaceful ride together. December's ride was especially relevant due to the then recent death of Terry Van Fleet, who was killed riding lawfully in a bike lane in Victoria.
The jovial atmosphere of the ride was abruptly interrupted by a very aggressive motorist who hit one of the riders at the back of the group. Thankfully no one was hurt and only the bike suffered any permanent injury.
The automobile in question was first encountered riding along Robson Street. I noticed him maybe around Thurlow as we headed South East. I was at the front of the group so I didn't pay him much attention but certainly heard somebody honking their horn. This sort of thing is unfortunately not uncommon for a cyclist. Though there was only one passable lane (Cars parked in the right lane) and we had the same rights as an automobile to be there, there are certain drivers who think that they own the road and if you're not going 70km/hr your not fast enough. I figured it was one of these drivers; a driver you should leave alone and not aggrevate, and I did. There was traffic ahead most of the time anyway so he was being quite unreasonable. The irate driver seemed to relent as he eventually stopped honking.
Once we passed Burrard and there were two lanes we moved to the right lane and the irate driver in a maroon van sped past along the left side of us very close and then cut into the right lane sharply, dangerously close to me and other cyclists at the front. Then he stopped hard at the light which was red and he had been driving too fast for the one block distance he covered. This seemed to be an aggressive move on his part, I think meant to intimidate. In retrospect I think at this point we should have tried to stay very far away from this very dangerous driver, not that he had any right to intimidate us so or that we were obligated to, but that it is better to drive or ride defensively. Unfortunately the group was not all knowing and instead pulled up beside him in the left lane. Some were behind him catching up.
At that point I spoke to the driver because he rolled down his window and yelled something about cyclists not paying taxes. I was right next to the drivers side window. I laughed at this and then began to reply, the public subsidising of the automobile being one of my major points of complaint about personal automobiles. It is well documented knowledge that private automobiles receive more public funding than any public transport, per capita or in sum; cyclists must subsidise their silly habit and pay to have our lungs and environment toxified. This is a major reason why cyclists feel so hard done by and that they need to ride together, in essence a reason why we were riding that night. So I was trying to put this into succinct words but he just rolled the window up. He was an angry driver who didn't want to see his position questioned.
What struck me at that point however, was how "respectable" this man was. With irate machismo drivers one expects a young aggressive male (Yes I know that is a bad stereotype) but this man was well dressed, clean-cut and articulate. What is more, he seemed to have his whole family aboard, in a very non-machismo mini-van. Yet he drove very dangerously and appeared to be completely ignorant of the economics of transportation, not characteristics you likely see in a "respectable" middle aged family man.
The red light turned green and the other cyclists and I started up, passing the maroon van driver who was behind me. The two lanes merge at this point so it was not practical for him to go ahead. I did not try to overtake him but bikes accelerate faster than cars in short distances so there we were. Unfortunately he did not wait for the only 15 or so cyclists to pass him and regroup as he was impatient. I did not observe him at this point because he was behind me but I gather that he started driving into the group because at the time of the collision there were cyclists behind him. This was all within a very short time span.
I slowed down as there was stopped traffic ahead of me and then I herd a loud bang behind me and I turned and saw that Robert's bicycle had been hit from the rear. Robert is a cyclist I invited to Critical Mass through email, he is from Australia. I stopped in the road and went back. Robert's rear wheel was tacoed (bent in half) and the van was not damaged. Robert's bike was under the bumper. The group gathered in front of the van, stunned. I asked other riders how Robert had been hit and they said that the driver had been revving his engine in short spurts, accelerating in spurts and he came too close and crunched Robert's wheel.
Robert went up and talked to the driver who hit him and apparently the driver was saying he did not have a driver's licence. Robert told me this when he went back to us cyclists frustrated with the driver whom he said was being unhelpful. He was very frustrated with the driver who was not volunteering any information and Robert thought that the driver would was going to leave if the cyclists in front of him moved, so we stayed where we were on the road.
A very angry pedestrian came running up to us out of nowhere and was yelling at the cyclists to get off the road and we had no right to be there and that it was our fault because we shouldn't be there. The driver did not get out of his maroon van to inspect the damage or the bicycle, he seemed to be hiding in his drivers seat. The irate pedestrian took Robert's bike from under the van and roughly threw it to the side of the road. He yelled at people to get off the road. We stayed away from him but did not move off the street. He said he was going to call the police and he did on his cell phone. This was good because the driver was being very uncooperative and not convincing Robert that he would be paid back for his damaged bicycle and we were afraid he would drive off. It was obvious an old clunker of a bike bike but it clearly needed a whole new wheel. Robert suggested to the driver to give him $100 dollars, tho cost of a bike wheel, if he didn't have his licence and didn't want to give his licence information.
The pedestrian seemed to calm down and another cyclist, Guy Wera helped talk to the driver and Robert and calmed them both down some. Robert was quite (understandably) angry and was not great at talking to the driver. Guy Wera however was very diplomatic and got Robert to calm down and the driver to talk. I think he may have also talked to the strange pedestrian and calmed him down. Then the group decided that we ought to move off of Robson St as we were right in front of the Art Gallery plugging the single lane traffic. So we all moved forward and onto the sidewalk and the driver pulled his van onto the sidewalk as the irate pedestrian yelled at us to hurry up and get out of the way. We waited there a while and Guy, Robert and the Driver talked things over. The driver never got out of his maroon van, but seemed to be more responsive and things were less tense.
I had a video camera with me that sort of works, so I turned it on and filmed them talking, the vehicle's licence plate just in case we needed it later, and Robert's damaged bike. My camera was not working properly so I turned it off soon after the police arrived. I got about two minutes of footage but the tracking isn't perfect. The licence plate number was FFG 852.
The police finally arrived and pulled up in behind the van and they talked to both the driver and Robert. The police were helpful and smoothed things out. I crossed the street to talk to the people in front of the Art Gallery at the Anti bombing Iraq candle light vigil because I knew some people from my church there. I don't think I missed much however because the police were just talking through the details with people. The police gave Robert a ride home in their van because his bike was broken and we cyclists continued on Critical Mass which ended at the Vancouver Public Library a short time later. The rest of the ride was fine.
In conclusion I was impressed how the driver appeared to be so respectable yet was driving like a maniac and was saying he had no licence ID to Robert. I also was surprised that the pedestrian came out of no where and started yelling at us, taking the side of the driver. There were other pedestrians who said it was the drivers fault, and expressed that to us but they did not stick around very long and we didn't think to get their names to call them as witnesses. Finally I was surprised at the gall of this respectable middle aged man who thought he could get away with ramming into a cyclist and then just drive off.
Testimony by pedestrian witness mentioned above, yes, be very afraid "tree huggers!" Actually the scary part is the comments by Bill Bonar, the ICBC guy, these indicate his support of this witness who is so very "animated." I have not converted it to text so click on the link to get the fax image:
Jan.5/99 Traffic Violation Hearing for Nicole WestmanSent out before Court date:
As you may or may not know, the Febuary 27th, 1998, Critical Mass Vancouver ride was broken up by the Vancouver Police under the auspices of issuing $86 tickets to riders for not "riding to the right of the highway." This direct intimidation made me personally quite angry, and got me involved in Critical Mass. I, and several others vowed not to pay these ridiculous fines, and we arranged to challenge them as a group.
This group challenge is unnacceptable to the court system so we must challenge these tickets individually, and the first date is Tuesday, January 5th. Nicole Westman received an $86 ticket for the above fine and will dispute it Tuesday, Jan 5th, 10AM at the Downtown Vancouver Courthouse on Hornby, Traffic Court, Room 200.
I urge anyone who can make it to show up and see what happens to cyclists who defy being marginalised, to those who define the "riding to the right of the road as is practical" in the law as practical=safe and cyclists should be alowed to ride safely. If you are interested in police issues, cycling issues or just freedom for people to be in their streets, do come. Show up on a bike and show that this was political intimidation and that people have a place on the road and it should not be secondary!
The trial was more complicated than anticipated, and we did not benefit much from the officer falsely accusing us of occupying the whole of Georgia St. The decisive point (according to the judge) was the riding abreast of each other which we did concede which is illegal as well. That was not the charge but by interpretation we were riding abreast and therefore not to the right as is practical.
I think a bike taking only one lane is quite reasonable and so should not be ticketed. My own ticket will be coming up in May so there is another chance to win this as there is no real precedant in these sort of traffic court cases. The main reason I really want to win this is that there will be a 'de facto' precedent and the police can come to future rides and stop them in the same manner with the same tactics.
We will in May call on a different police witness (If we can find him) which will hopefully corroberate our story. As well, it would be nice to have an "expert" on biking tell the court how "Practicable" it is to take a (Omigosh) whole lane for a bicycle. So is there anybody out there who is a Can-Bike instructor or knows someone who might be willing to serve as an expert for a relatively low key court case?
Jan.15/99 MeetingThere was a meeting of several interested parties on the subject of
Critical Mass on the 15th of this month. It was a good evening, partly a
social event, but some concensuses were reached. Generally people thought
there should be more planning of themes, signs, flyers, propaganda,
costumes, publicity stunts, flourescent patches and the like. And
furthurmore, the way to acheive this better would be to gather after the
ride for a meal or a drink (not necessarily alcoholic)
So one suggestion is the Bombay Bicycle Club on 921 W Pender but that is
just a suggestion. In any case, the plan is to have a bit of a social
conspiring session after the ride so be prepared.
Jan.29/99 RideThis was the first ride at which it has really been raining in over a year. I think this is a sign that the movement is so awesome now that it no longer needs the help of the Gods to control the weather as has happened so far. Or maybe it's El Nina/El Nino (a.k.a. Global warming isn't happening, this is just the regular 4 year El Nino cycle that no one had ever heard of until last year...)
So actually there were only 8 of us which was pretty good. I came late but brought a freshly made new poster which now includes colour. We rode down Robson and back up Davie and even let some motorists pass us now and then. It was a very positive ride. Lee Showed up with Patti and led us in joyful refrains of Pedal Power and Oleum Petroleum. We sang these also in front of Virgin Megastore but that was little weird because we felt like Hare Krishnas. The problem with singing is it's hard without reading words on a bike and also just singing while riding hard gets into very complicated breathing skills. Yet if we stop in a small group we feel like Christian Preachers.Anyway, I'm sure we'll find a balance with practice.
Many people couldn't stay long so only Charles, Tom and I went out afterwards. We tried the Bombay Bike Club but it was just a fancy Bar so we ended up at Malones. Despite it not being the cheap place for food Tom thought it might be we had good Nachos. We actually didn't talk about rides all that much. The idea of these things was that we'd get new involvement and large group concensus at after party events. That didn't work with only 3 die hard Critical Massers but Oh well, next month.
Here are some lyrics: (I think Lee wrote them)
Pedal Power Round
Pedal power rolls down the right-of-way,
Rockin way to get around every day.
Living way to go,
breathing, don't you know,
Bikes are here to stay.
Pedal power rolls down the Bikeway fair.
Cycling doesn't burn the earth or foul the air.
Park those fossil cars
and grab some handlebars
and ride the Bikeway fair.
You can't get to heaven in a limosine
'Cause the Lord don't sell no gasoline.
No oleum petroleum.
We ain't a-gonna burn much fossil fuels;
We ain't a-gonna be such fossil fools.
We ain't a-gonna be such fossil fools.
You can't get to heaven in a muscle car [racing car]
Cause your tank of gas won't go very far. [get you far]
With oleum petroleum.
You can't get to heaven in a four-by-four
Cause heaven has a real narrow door,
No oleum petroleum.
[You can't get to heaven in a Cherokee]
['Cause living lightly is the key.]
[Not oleum petroleum.]
You get bad Karma from a big old Jeep
For what you've sown you soon shall reap,
With your oleum petroleum.
There's bogus karma in an S.U.V.
It's neither sport nor utility,
Just oleum petroleum.
You get bad Karma from a Mercedes
When others pay for your life of ease,
Your oleum petroleum.
We don't burn diesel, we don't burn gas.
We burn the lard right off our ass.
Not oleum petroleum.
[You gotta stop making that greenhouse gas]
[And use your legs and use your ass.]
Hey, figure it out Courtesy of: Albert Klassen
Hey, figure it out
It's not that hard
You can get to where you're going
Without your car
Hey, figure it out
It's not that hard
You can get to where you're going
Without your car
You can ride the bus
Or you can ride your bike
Or you can take the train
Or you can take a hike but you
Gotta figure it out
It's not that hard
You can get to where you're going
Without you're car
Hey, figure it out
It's not that hard
You can...... and so on
Ok, we didn't sing that last one in January. Actually, I just was sent that now (March 10) as I update this. What I'm going to do is make a seperate page just for songs and remove these from this space. I'll do that in a few weeks probably. So send me your songs and include the authors name and email if possible so that if people want to clip them they can easily email the author. Of course this is an AntiCopyrighted site so don't expect royalties or anthing. Just the sincere appreciation... ;)
Feb 14/99 Dino Ride Press ReleaseFrom: Carmen Mills
Subject: Release the Dinos!
For Immediate Release
February 21, 1999
Dinosaurs Celebrate Victory Over Fossil Fools!
The Dinosaurs Against Fossil Fuels, Vancouver's infamous gang of bicycling veloraptors, are claiming victory in the release from jail of Alberta farmer and outspoken oil-industry critic, the Reverend Wiebo Ludwig.
On February 14th, nine fearsome Dinos and their supporters took to the streets of Vancouver on a Valentine's Day ride "for the Love of Air." To the delight of cheering pedestrians, the Dinos cycled down the center of car-congested Robson Street, demanding, "Free Wiebo Ludwig!"
Five days later, Ludwig was released on bail after it was determined that the RCMP had interfered in the case.
"Wiebo didn't blow up any oil wells; he just had the guts to speak out against a powerful industry which is killing our planet. The oiligarchy is an industry of death." said Rex Bicyclops, Chainringleader and Spokesreptile for the Dinos Against Fossil Fuels. "Fossil-burning vehicles spew out 75% the crap that's floating around in Vancouver's air. Cars are poisoning kids and changing the climate. There are better ways to get around-that's why the Dinos ride bicycles. Vancouverites have to change their fossil-burning habits before it's too late, because extinction
Buoyed by their recent victory, the Dinosaurs Against Fossil Fuels plan to step up their ongoing crusade against oiligarchy and fossil foolishness.
For more information contact:
Rex Bicyclops, via his handler, Lee Henderson
For colour pictures of the Dinos Against Fossil Fuels:
Feb.26th RideThere were about 6 or 7 dinosaurs in attendance this month which is always good. Happily I got the privledge of being one. I really like the costumes at CM and facepaint is also good. Please do not be timid and come out with a costume for it seems to really be a lot more fun with them. The ride had no problems and ended by about 7. However, it did start later than many people wanted priomarily because some dinosaurs arrived just slightly after 5:30! Now I understand people who come late, I am the worst person for punctuality in the world so I am going to have to be a complete hypocrite! Nevertheless, PLEASE COME ON TIME! Especially if you have a dinosaur suit give yourself some time to get dressed.We are supposed to meet at 5pm and leave by 5:30, not quarter to. It's really not fari to those people who arrive right at 5pm and find that they have to sit around for ages.
The police were waiting on motorbikes in front of the Art Gallery for us and came up to us, said they didn't have a problem with what we were doing, that they would be loosly following us and they'd like to know what kind of route we were going to take. The idea of police asking about the route I personally found a little worrisome for it reminds me of the San Francisco Critical Mass History in which such issues became points of contention. Luckily others were more pragmatic and less politically minded and did tell them our basic route, and said that it was general and we might not stick completely to it, for reasons such as safety. The police seemed understanding. I think that this approach was probably a good idea. What I mean about San Francisco is that some got worried that the police were trying to control or Co-opt the ride by sort of chaperoning it. The idea being that the riders needed the police protection. At the same time riders thaough it was imporant to insist that we did not need police "permission" as we are only riding our bikes and that we have every right to be there etc. Thus when rides became big and people pre-planned the routes there was a lot of politics around who controlled the ride, factions of riders or the police. In the end Willie Brown and some aggressive police came out when they felt they were not being obeyed and cracked down in very brutal ways.
However, in Vancouver's case, we are a lot smaller and the police are much less hostile and I dare say there are even some police in authority who are sympathetic. (For example, it is my impression from various sources that the police were embarrassed by their actions of November 27th) In the end the ride went off well with the police loosly following as they said they would. By the end of the ride they had left, in part because they couldn't keep up (They should ride real bikes not wimpy motorbikes next time!) and because they might have gotten a little bored. I don't think it's too much of an appeasement policy to tell the police roughly where we're going if that's what they want to know. They were pretty sensible about it and so were we. Hopefully this can continue in the future. I have no desire to have more stupid hassles with the police, these are always a pain, especially court (Which is no place to advance a socail cause unless your really rich) Critical Mass is about riding around on the street and creating a positive, utopian environment, everyone is equal and everyone rides bikes, fighting the police is a waste of time and not in our mandate. Getting the police to join us, riding their bikes is one of the many goals!
As usual, these opinions are mine and by know means represent Critical Mass or anyone else or even myself when I'm in a more thoughtful mood, because no one can speak for Critical Mass, there is no official policy. If you come out you can create your own reasons for Critical Mass which are just as valid. I notice the irony that I am the only one bringing up stupid politics and police relations even though my main opinion is that we should get over that stuff and not be so ideological. Oh well.
One last point about the police, I could tell they'd been reading my web page because they knew about meeting up with Rock 4 Choice afterwards which was actually just mine and Rowen's idea and no one else even knew about it because we got lazy and didn't really tell anyone except posting on the web page, which no one reads much anyway. Except the police read it now I guess, which is good, it's public information. So I guess I have a direct line to the police,: "Hello Police" I advise the police to read that history of Critical Mass in San Francisco (link to History) as that will them give a bit of indication of why people might be wary of the police (apart from history of things in Vancouver) Down there things got way out of hand and I don't think anyone wants that to happen up here. As well, I have nothing against police coming, everyone is welcome, but please ride your bikes! That is the point eh?! As well I think it would be really cool to have some official credibility lent to the cause of cycling. I'm sure bicycle police know exactly what riding is like for the rest of us; they don't always wear a uniform when their cycling. Sometimes I'd like to be a bicycle police, chase after that asshole who nearly missed killing me to make a right turn and then I could give him a ticket. That would be sweet revenge!
Feb 28/99 Ride to save Burns Bog
We rode out to Burns Bog, starting early in the bright sunshine at 9am and ending much later in the afternoon in the pouring rain. We started at SPEC with 4 people, stopped off at Grandview park and Guy and Lee put on dinosaur suites, I put on skull facepaint, then we stopped in cenral park and met the last few cyclists, maybe 20 in all. W rode along the Skytrain corporate bikeroute which was not impressive but really fun with lots of people. Somewhere in New Westminster we came across a dying car and we stopped for a photo-op with the dinos.Ii'll post that here when I get it in digital. We rossed these bridges design for people who speed out to suburbs with fake sidewalks for killing pedestrians and cyclists and then we were at Burns Bog. We met at the tractor and enjoyed some great snacks, herbal tea and a tour of the bog. The tour of the bog was very dramatic, it was punctuated by ferocious hail storm then sunbeams amongst the cedars and finally trail about 1 foot deep in water (Yes, it's a bog) We also learned a bit about the ecosystem and the political system in which the Provinical government bailed out the Company trying to destroy the bog of 25 million dollars! And they say they couldn't afford to buy back the land.
Later we rode back in the rain and some people tried to sneak onto Skytrain (bike aren't allowed on skytrain because...) All in all it was a fun ride and also good at getting people together. If you want to find out more about this or join the email list of people with updates about burns bog email Guy Wera and he'll put you on the list or in contact with those who set up this event (It's not really *pure* Critical Mass)
April 30/99 RideThis was a good ride. I came late. Nothing special happened that I can remeber. There was a man from Alberta Critical Mass whose name I forget but he has a short range FM radio broadcaster thingamajig. He has a sign telling motorists to tune in and they can hear birds chirping on the radio - what they might hear in a nice paceful city without so many cars. So Bring a small battery radio next time if you can and then we will have a better effect so that pedestrians as well can hear your sweet broadcast. I think this is a super cool idea.
May 14/99 CM court date for Russell from Feb/98 TicketIf anyone is interested I went to court Friday the 14th to contest my February 1998 traffic ticket from Critical Mass. I asked for an extension of tame which I got and the saga will continue on November 12th. I am still trying to find the cop who told me to take one lane only and that would exhonerate me because I was riding under his direction. Not very political but I will add the anti-car arguements on top of that. Court is not the place for Bicycles to prevail - the streets are. We are infinitly more powerful going straight to the public than through some lame-o legalistic third party. Court Sucks.
May 28/99 RideI was super later to this ride and with the dinosaurs I delayed it quite a bit because people were waiting for us dinos to suit up. Sorry.
Also, people met on the Wrong side of the Vancouver Art Gallery we are supposed to meet on the Georgia St. Side next to the lions.
ICTV came and filmed and interveived me and others. The publicity is much appreciated It is part of the show East Side Story which is supposed to air the second Friday of the month at 9:30 pm (June 11/99) and the following Tuesday at 1:30pm (June 15/99) all on Rogers cable 4 in Vancouver.
This was the ride right before bike week as put on by BEST and it was a lot of fun.
June 27/99 tame the Lions RideThis was a great ride, despite the wet weather (which is caused by Auto pollution on weekends anyway) and we had 350 people actually show up (some media said 120, some observers said 500) I have lots of good photos on the June 27th page and a description which I will eventually move here after I take down that page. But for now just follow this link.
July 30/99 Ride by John BuchanI participated in the July 30,1999 Critical Mass ride. Ten of us congregated at the appointed location. Only one or two had ever been on a critical mass ride! Nobody there seemed to have any official, or organizational status. Two of the people were actually visitors from other countries, who came for the one ride. I am curious as to where the 'Dinos' were, that I have heard so much about? Where were all the BEST staff? Carmen was on CBC, I understand, to promote this very event. So what happened to the turn out?
At 5:35 we decided that we must be it, and rode around the Art Gallery once to confirm this. We were ten, but we made our presence felt!!!! We took all the lanes on Robson, took Denman to Davie, and went up Davie to Burrard. Looking back at Bute, we had eastbound Davie crawling behind us. Feeling a definite sense of power, we then assaulted a hotly contested stretch of roadway- The Burrard Street Bridge. We rode two lanes wide, and whooped and hollered the entire crossing. We then took a circle through Granville Island. A fairly cycle friendly place, but we wanted the exposure to a large group of people. We then resolved on an even bigger goal- Broadway. Up Fir we rode, and onto that auto-centric piece of pavement. Rush hour was over, so the parking lane was filled with cars. We used the other 2 lanes all the way to Cambie! Broadway was never so pleasant to cycle! Our final act was to ride over the Cambie bridge. We blocked the 2 on ramp lanes from Cambie Street, and drew much criticism from the car bound people. Our attitude remained positive, but we had to move to the 2 right lanes to cross the bridge. This of course gave every motorist the opportunity to bad mouth us 'crazies'! As our numbers dwindled, a final 5 of us decided to take Seymour, then Hastings east to Commercial. We finally dissolved our group at the Adanac Bikeway, each going our respective ways. For 90 minutes, I felt the power, and the difference that just a few people can make. My personal resolve to cycle, and to stand up for my rights has been recharged. I can hardly wait for the next ride.
So where was everybody anyway? What is the problem? I know there are many people out there riding, why are they not showing up to this most important event? Is the problem with awareness, or with the schedule? Many people said before the ride, "Oh well, it's the long weekend." Does this mean that all the Vancouver cyclists had to rush home to hope into their SUV's, and take off for the wilderness? I would be interested in contributing to the solution. I have lived in Vancouver for 4 years, and due to my shift work, have never had Friday afternoon available. Now I do, and I thought would be participating in something a little larger than what occurred. Do not misunderstand, our Critical Mass was just right. We were big enough to be empowered, but small enough to cover a lot of territory, and make intersections smoothly. So, to whoever receives this- What is to be done to improve turnout? I will be looking forward to the next ride, and many more after. Keep up the good work on the web site, and hope we see more cycles next month.