As much as I love to read and review books, I’ve really been enjoying finding things to add to my When We’re Not Reading segments. It has forced me to be bold and adventurous in the Houston area, re-visit my attitude from my college years. Which went something like this: It could be fun, Its free, Why not?
This month my best friend invited me to a not-so-little shin dig called Critical Mass. Cyclists all over the world get together in their home cities and take to the streets on the last Friday of the month every month. Hundreds, easily nearly a thousand, people on bikes trekking through downtown together for 20+ miles. It was nothing short of amazing.
I’m not the biggest fan of getting info from Wikipedia, but they do have some interesting tidbits on what Critical Mass is all about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Mass.
For some people this event is an agenda to gain respect on the road for cyclists, make a statement, and more. From my bike seat, it was a fantastic rolling party. It was a blast that still managed to create a new appreciation for the world of cyclists, and for my need for headlights, tail-lights, and a helmet. I would also like a bell and basket.
Last night’s ride was a Halloween ride. There were costumes and all sorts of excitement. In advance, my friend and I had agreed that if we lost each other to simply look for “the hat and the tutu” (two costumed people that were easy to spot and part of our collective mini-group). This is a good plan. If you ride a Critical Mass, whatever you do, don’t stop to look for someone… just keep on rolling and catch up to each other when you catch up to each other.
Many motorists cheered, took pictures, and had a general blast right along with us. However, there were the occasional drivers that got really pissed off that 600 people were holding up traffic as we had to roll through the red lights. I understand that this is technically illegal, and with an individual or a crowd of 2-30, very ill-advised. But with 600 riders, stopping at the red light is far more dangerous than holding up traffic. You wouldn’t ask the Macy’s Day parade to stop at all the red lights, and it is obvious that an event is happening. So if you happen across this group on a Friday night, please be patient and don’t hate; 99% of the people involved in this ride are trying to be as safe and friendly as possible.
Check out this awesome crowd:
Initially, I was under the impression that it was a 10 mile ride. My husband was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to do it, as owning a bike is something that has only been a part of my recent adult life. I’d never taken the thing farther than around the block a few times (most likely about a mile, 3 miles at best but that could be stretching the truth of reality). Come to find out, it is actually about a 20 mile ride. Someone gps-ed it as we went and came up with this map after the fact: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/149370997. Include our ride to the event and back to the house when we were done and I can safely say without exaggeration that I rode 22 miles.