Vancouver Critical Mass - June 2006

What a ride! Bike Month Critical Mass 2006 was getting up near the 2000 riders mark. Someone counted 1800, although it seemed more. It lasted much longer than in previous years - starting at around 6pm outside the Vancouver Art Gallery and not ending until two halves of the mass ended up at Kits Beach sometime after 9pm.

My parents (dad in his Seventies, mum a few years younger) rode on the ride. Their first Critical Mass and they loved it.

My neighbour also went on her first Critical Mass ride and said she would be back for more now. Her abiding memory was the serene quiet riding across the Georgia viaduct ("it's like being in a no man's land").

Huge numbers and a great party atmosphere made this for me one of the best rides I've been on. Certainly, the biggest. And really nice to see so many motorists getting into the spirit of things, turning off their engines, sitting on their cars and hanging out in the middle of the road. As always, no lack of impatient drivers and a few hotheads threatening to run down the cyclists, but riders would probably agree that these incidents were diminished by the much more prevalent celebratory atmosphere.

I got some lovely close-ups of people gliding down the Granville Bridge, feeling the breeze on their faces, some making little snaking movements back and forth, one with her kid on the handlebars, another squirting a water gun at others...

Got some nice shots looking off the bridges, particularly as cyclists swung off the Granville Bridge and seemed to loop endlessly around with bikes above and bikes below the bridge.

The Route

After leaving the Art Gallery a little around 6pm, it crossed the Granville Bridge, looped down to 6th, headed North on Cambie to the Georgia Viaduct, crossed the viaduct and snaked through Chinatown and Strathcona along the Adanac route as far as Clarke, headed East along Hastings and Pender til it reached W Georgia and Denman, where it split between those going to the beach and those going to the Lions Gate Bridge. I took the Bridge route. The ride went to the crest of the bridge where it did a u-turn, and then came back through Stanley Park (a dreamy coast downhill), followed Beach Avenue to the Burrard Bridge, crossed Burrard, and took Cornwall to Kits beach where it ended. I seem to remember the time being 9pm when I finished.