As the lights buzzed on along the waterfront last night, the glow sticks came out to brighten Wellington’s Critical Mass. Sixteen riders showed up to the Civic Center on Friday evening for a giddy little celebration of bikes, riding them and the happy relief of solstice. As one rider pointed out, it was a 400% increase over the last two rides. Impressive growth, right?
Among the riders– daily commuters, couriers, long-time cycle advocates, long-term tourists, Uni students, a stuffed animal lover and a bunch of really good noisemakers. If I was choosing a killer championship Mass team, these would all be first draft selections.
The ride wound ’round Civic Center and onto Jervois Quay, into the CBD, up Victoria Street, down Vivian to Cambridge before we headed into the heart of Friday’s action, cruising down Courtenay Place and into Cuba Mall. Riders stuck close together, chatting, indicating turns, waving at drivers and pedestrians, occupying a lane and keeping a good pace and better vibes along the route. Smiles were pretty abundant from the footpath, a couple taxi drivers looked genuinely entertained and a couple riders joined our ranks along the route. I was mildly intrigued by a woman who averred politely that we were likely to be “run over” as we passed her with bells ringing and horns honking. What a lovely sentiment. Anyhoo, we wished her a good night and carried on.
As it turned out, drivers were respectful and patient, as were the cops who pulled our bunch over to advise that one of our riders needed to fix up her lights. Nice guy, that officer. I’m told he’s diligent on keeping riders well lit and he was pretty darn kind in the dispatch of his duties. He waved us off with wishes for a nice ride.
We finished up our ride on Cuba Mall, lifted our bikes high overhead (well done to some of those big steel frame riders on that one) and wandered off for drinks because who wants to go home thirsty?
So, congrats to all comers on their amazing energy. Even among us, we were a diverse bunch, older kids and younger kids, new riders and veterans, all of us pedaling well-loved beasts as varied as we were. Despite the various paths that brought us together, we rode together like friends and brewed up a little hope that our position on the road is a bit more secure. Seriously, my favorite part was hearing everyone talking about next month and the friends and co-workers they’re going to invite along. Yeah. That’s how it works.
If you couldn’t make it this month, maybe we’ll see you in July? Or, maybe we’ll see you on the road. Either way, it’ll be good to see you. Smile and wave. Smile and wave. We have a place out there and it’s right and good to claim it courteously.
Note: Because I’m a spaz with a camera, my pics are horrible. Apologies. As soon as I get a few better ones, I’ll post ’em up.