June 26, 2005 (Vancouver, BC) – History was made Friday, June 24, 2005 in Vancouver as cyclists took to the streets in the largest numbers yet.
In celebration of Bike Month, bicycle advocates called for 2000 + 5 wheels (http://www.alternatives.com/prms/2005/cmas0622.pdf)and handily topped their target by pulling over 1200 people to the event as cyclists joined the rolling mass of bicycles, skate boarders, and in-line skaters.
“What’s going on?” shouts one driver in a red Passat. A pamphlet volunteer swings over on his bike, handing off a handbill explaining the ride and how to “cork” — a way of safely blocking car traffic from entering the mass of bicycles, boarders, and skaters.
Bike Month is coming to a close in Vancouver, and cyclists marked the bike-event-filled month in style. Starting 6 PM at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the celebratory ride spontaneously crossed the Granville and Burrard Street bridges, and snaked through the city, starting conversations. An important Burrard Street Bridge modification finally goes to Vancouver City Council on June 28 (http://www.vacc.bc.ca/vancouver/burrard).
“This is the best ride ever,” stated a jubilant Steve Kisby, one of the many promoters of the ride. “Last year we had over 800 riders. With the forecast calling for rain, I thought we might just maintain our numbers. The increase is just amazing,” he continued.
Cycling has been gaining momentum as an alternative to transit and operating a motor vehicle. As bicycles enter a new state of cool and shades of hot for the summer, the requisite elements seemed to come together to present the beginnings of an irrefutable “critical mass” in support of bicycle transportation.
“I met people from Melbourne, I met people from Portland, I met people from BC’s Interior coming down for the ride,” said Bev Canuel. “All these people are coming to Vancouver to enjoy this beautiful city and bicycling together. If they’re coming from other places they need to stay somewhere and eat. That has to be good for tourism,” Canuel continued.
The ride is part of a series of rides that occur the last Friday of every month, called Critical Mass, that winds through the streets of Vancouver encouraging motorists to abandon their cars for clean air. Critical Mass is a grassroots reclamation of public space which allows cyclists and other self-propelled people to move safely and comfortably through the streets of Vancouver in a car-free space. The motto: “We’re Not Blocking Traffic — We ARE Traffic!”
Critical Mass was born in San Francisco in 1992, and quickly spread to other cities worldwide. Now over 300 cities boast monthly rides. Attendance at Vancouver Critical Mass has been increasing steadily, with recent rides averaging 300 participants. The next ride is July 29.
For more information:
Amy Walker, 604-255-9689, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bev Canuel, 604-322-9317, email@example.com
Steve Kisby, 604-323-0204, 604-645-2099, firstname.lastname@example.org
The handout for the ride that explains Critical Mass and corking:
Information on Bike Month may be found at:
Worldwide details may be found at:
http://www.criticalmasshub.com or http://www.critical-mass.org