Thursday, September 29, 2011

Critical Mass Spins through City Streets Friday

Friday night I’m going to ride my bicycle from Public Square to North Collinwood — and I’m going to do it with more than 300 of my closest friends.

In 1992, a few dozen San Francisco bicyclists decided to get together once a month and simply ride their bikes. Critical Mass has since become a worldwide phenomenon. In more than 300 cities spanning the globe, people grab their bikes and just ride.

This ride will be my fourth — which makes me still a newbie by Critical Mass standards. The rides usually begin in Public Square and end at a bar in one of Cleveland’s many hip neighborhoods, where you get to chat with other pedalers. I ended up on Larchmere, in Ohio City and on Whiskey Island after my first three treks.

I realized Critical Mass’s epic scope within the first few minutes of my initial ride in June. We were a mass of bikes taking up the entire eastbound lane of Lakeside Avenue. With hundreds of people around me, and the buildings of the city encompassing us, I immediately understood the ride’s appeal.

The rides begin with a destination in mind, but the route is never predetermined. The organizers just go with the flow. Veterans of past journeys will rush to the front to “cork” intersections and let the mass of bicycles pass through safely.

Every ride has gone through some of Cleveland’s poorer areas — and this has been the most rewarding part. People come out and cheer us on. There are no pretenses to Critical Mass, so when someone asks what we’re doing this for, several riders often shout back:

“For fun!”


Angie said...

Nice article. Glad to have Cleveland Magazine along!

Alicia at Poise in Parma said...

UGH. Why am I always booked for the last Friday of every month?! One of these months, I'll get there! Enjoy the ride tomorrow.

xlpharmacy said...

Coo, pictures, it was actually my birthday, and I spend the day doing some mountain bike activities with some friends.