If you have read our blog at all you probably know how much we have been riding our bikes lately. We had heard about groups that do city riding together and started looking for one in the Atlanta area. We found a group called Critical Mass that rides the last friday of each month and last night was our first time riding with them.
Critical Mass is a worldwide movement to promote the use of bicycles as a viable means of transportation. It has arisen in response to what many call the "car-culture:" an overdependence on the private automobile. It is, more than anything else, a reclamation of space, a demonstration to show that the city belongs to people and not machines. We're not protesting, we're CELEBRATING our vision of a preferable alternative mode of transportation in the city of Atlanta.
Who runs Critical Mass?There is no organized structure for Critical Mass. Show up. Ride. Done.
Why are the rides the last Friday of every month?Critical Mass is a worldwide movement. In order to enhance the feeling of solidarity with other riders around the world, the last Friday has become customary.
They meet at Woodruff Park in downtown, about 2 miles from our place, down Peachtree St.
Each time the ride takes a different route, as the point is to be visible on busy streets.
We got there a little early to make sure we found the group and knew what was going on, however as you see below, finding the group wasn't hard.
Over 300 people showed up and it was amazing to see the group take off and completely stop traffic. We headed from the park through the Underground Area, Centennial Park, The World Congress Center (there was an auto show there) up Peachtree St through Midtown, through Piedmont Park, up through the Highlands towards Little Five Points and back to Woodruff Park. The group rode as wide as the lanes heading in the direction we were going and was full of riders from front to back. We positioned ourselves in the middle of the pack and were able to watch everyone's faces as they realized how big the group was and started to yell, clap, take pictures, and ask "what are you riding for?" The best part was seeing the faces of all the kids who waived at us while saying "it's a parade!". The group yelled "Happy Friday" as well as ringing bells, honking horns and just generally hollering as we made our way through town. While some motorists became a little annnoyed, most yelled "Happy Friday" back and waived and honked their horns as we rode through. While we were able to make it through most intersections without stopping (thanks to riders who cork the intersection for the pack) the police quickly were on to it and began to show up at major intersections and inforce traffic laws. Having 15 motorcycle cops and five police cars show up made certain parts of the ride extremely exciting.
We rode 11.5 miles in all and will definitely be back next month to ride again!
Here are a couple of pics from the middle of the pack.