Wow. Today was a day for bike riding I guess. I got up this morning and biked up to Green Lake to pick my car up from the mechanics. This wasn’t a small ride as far as I’m concerned (in my noob out of shapeness). It was 8 miles and up that big damn hill that is Stone Way. I picked my car up, and drove to work where Bryan told me Critical Mass was happening. Whats Critical Mass you may ask?
The last Friday of every month, in 100 cities around the country, Critical Mass happens. Bicyclists in cities all around America (some 100 cities) meet at a designated spot – in Seattle its Westlake center – and go on a huge ride through the city. Basically its to get a good ride in, foster community among cyclists, and raise awareness.
(Gah! So I left work, bolted for home, picked my bike back up and biked BACK into downtown in time for the ride.)
Today there were probably 250 people that showed up. It was awesome. There were some really killer bikes and some very cool people there. As the procession wordlessly got started, everyone poured into the road and we got truckin. Riders stopped at cross streets and lights to pull roadguard duty, blocking cars from bolting through and hurting cyclists, and to ensure the group stayed together and didn’t get split up by lights and stop signs and “cheating” vehicles. You get some angry motorists, thats for sure. In the face of 250 cyclists with U-Locks in their backpockets and a bare minimum of tolerance for douchey drivers – well its them against the mob and its enough to hold traffic in most cases.
At one point with a roar of its huge V8 this Mustang bolted into the middle of First Ave while we were biking – like right in the middle of it. Damn dangerous. I guess he thought he was going to intimidate all these cyclists into getting out of his way. Instantly theres 15 cyclist who park their bikes in front of the guy in the middle of the street. Guy gets pissed, gets out of his car yells something, cyclists yell back, dude takes a look around and gets back in his car and we leave him long behind. There were several instances like that. In each instance drivers are boxed in by cyclists and cyclists relieve one another as needed. I’ve never experienced anything like it. How excellent.
The pace isn’t breakneck by any stretch but its decent around 10-12mph. Tonights ride was 17-18 miles – WAY longer than I’d ever done before. And I did 8 miles this morning covering much of this route already.
This was our route:
Oh, one of the good things about Critical Mass, because cyclists are providing road guards as we go making stop signs and lights irrelevant, theres little or no stop and go, which helps immensely.
Turns out theres a lot of cycling events in Seattle. I think I’m going to create a page/calendar with bicycling events on it – see if I can’t get a calendar put together on this thing.
I’m tuckered out. 26 miles today. Damn. I’ve had it.