Who’s up for Critical Mass?

Rider seeks other riders for casual takeover of Wellington streets.

Well.  I looked out the window today and I was duly impressed by what I saw.  Sheesh, this is the onset of winter?  I’m starting to think those nightmarish stories repeated ad nauseum to newcomers until the fearful earworm is embedded are strategic.  Maybe Wellingtonians are keen to scare folks off with woeful tales of winter?  Keep the finery to ourselves and whatnot.  That’s cool. Just let me know if I’m supposed to tow that line.

(Cue the jagged rain.)

This morning, I faced the sun and wanted only one thing.  To go for a ride. Not to anywhere in particular, really, and definitely not for exercise, but just to ride.  Under that warm May sun. I also wanted to enjoy some outdoor dining. Or maybe just a seat on an empty bench at Oriental Bay to spot some stingrays. Maybe an ice cream.

As it happened, I found a friend to ride with and we did enjoy a beer outside after rolling around the bays. But you know what would have been even better?  Rolling with more friends. You know, like, for fun.

All of this to preface my burning, pulsing, aching hope for some social rides.  I’m thinking something along the lines of Critical Mass or Midnight Ridazz, but I’ll take anything that doesn’t involve spandex, clips and drafting.  Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that; I just steer clear of the synthetic fabrics and I’m scared of attaching my feet to anything.  Plus, the killer profile of my killer Frye boots would be severely diminished by clips. There really is no accounting for taste, is there? (None of this is to say that I wouldn’t ride with speedsters, if they didn’t mind, you know, taking it down a notch.  Otherwise, I fear we’d soon part company.  Go get ’em, speedsters!)

So, you know, what about the rest of you?  Doesn’t some Critical Massing sound good?  Doesn’t it seem like it’s just about time for it? Don’t you want to meet new friends and have a beer after?  Don’t you want to see just how many of us there really are? Because you know what?  There are a lot of us on bikes out there. Enough to make our mass critical if we want.

Word on the street is that a Critical Mass will happen on June 24 at 5:30.  That should give everyone plenty of time to make a helmet cozy and find the perfect bike bell for the occasion.  Because, you know, a mass should make a little noise.

Who’s in?  More info to come.



5 thoughts on “Who’s up for Critical Mass?

  1. Simon Kennett

    I used to go to Critcal Mass rides when they started here about 15 years ago, and kept giving them a go up until about 8 years ago. Problem was they never acheived critical mass and they started to turn quite nasty.

    There was often a small group of angry people who seemed to want to antangonise motorists by going as slowly as possible (some of them didn’t actually have bikes, they were just walking on the street like you would at a political rally – trouble was, it was rush hour and this rally was really badly organised). As a result (and remembering this is during the Friday pm peak) motorists used to get pissed off. Then people would be yelling at each other and threatening physical abuse. It was all very uncool and counter-productive.

    Obviously it’s been a while since I’ve been to one. Hopefully it’s changed and it’s the sort of groovy group ride that you’re looking for. If anybody influential is reading this, can I make a couple of pleas (‘cos, at the end of the day I’m sharing the roads with the angry motorists that Critical Mass has the potential to rark up):

    Please don’t ride at 5 kph – you’ll be holding up other cyclists, as well as motorists (which makes cyclists look like park of the problem, rather than part of the solution).
    Please don’t break the law (running reds, riding three abreast or two abreast while passing parked cars, etc) or impede traffic [yeah, yeah – I know we are ‘traffic’, but we’re courteous traffic, right?].
    Please don’t abuse anyone, even if provocated.

    Hopefully Critical Mass in Wellington can make cycling look like fun!


    1. Lisa

      Yeah those were my concerns too. Maybe we need to be the critical mass at Critical Mass?

      I’ll happily give it a go. But if it gets arrogant I’m out of there.


  2. Megan

    I understand that bike riders have a responsibility to be respectful on the road. I also believe that drivers share the same responsibility, not just to other cars but to anyone on the road. Perhaps for Wellington, we can envision a Courteous Mass, sometimes known as Critical Manners.

    I’m with you, Simon. I don’t believe we need to provoke further antagonism. Lord knows that’s already there even without provocation. But I also believe that we need to be out on the street in numbers on occasion, to help reinforce the point that sometimes, you just got to yield to bikes in the lane.


  3. Pingback: Meet Tom Elliot: He’s into bike fun. : Cycling in Wellington

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