Bicycles Rule | Healthier and Happier Riding Bikes | CycLAvia | Critical Mass

On a hopeful note, on Sunday, October 7th, 2012 100,000 people took to the streets of Los Angeles. Instead of whizzing by the city in a blur in their automobiles, or for that matter sitting in traffic jams with their annoyance levels rising, they were out in the streets on bicycles, en masse.

People claimed that they were seeing things they never saw before; checking things out for the first time that they never realized were there, just by slowing down and cruising around on bicycles. It was like a big street party, as the writer of this article Ari Bloomekatz describes in the Los Angeles Times. The CicLAvia bicycle festival, during which time bicycles rule downtown LA for a day, was inspired by a weekly
ciclovía festival that has been taking place once a week for the last three decades in Bogotá, Columbia.

Other cities in Latin American and the United States have had similar festivals. The ‘critical mass’ bike riding event was first initiated in San Francisco. The idea is that if enough people join in, the bicycle is no longer a dangerous extraneous potential victim in a ‘car-driven culture’, but that when many bicycles come together, they tip the scale to the critical mass, and ‘become traffic’. The San Francisco critical mass has been taking place the last Friday of every month from downtown San Francisco by the Embarcadero, for decades, since it started in 1992. Something similar to this was going on in Stoclkholm, Sweden in the early 1970‘s. The critical mass bike ride has basically swept across the country and sprung up in metropolitan areas all over the United States, for sure in various European cities as well. New York city has had a long established ‘critical mass’ of its own and plenty of other bicycle related activities, sponsored by a very heavily active organization for the cause Time’s Up. As they say on their home page: “TIME’S UP! is a New York City-based not-for-profit direct-action environmental group that uses events and educational programs to promote a more sustainable, less toxic city.”

I’ve personally ridden in dozen’s of the San Francisco critical mass as well as several when I lived in New York city. The Halloween Critical Mass has always been a great one. Well, Halloween itself and the Day of the Dead/ Dios de los Muertos for sure have been dampened by the recent storm, and my heart goes out to all of those families who have had their lives and homes robbed from them. I’ve heard that in light of the fact that the public transportation has been deluged with water, that there are plenty of people resorting to riding bicycles, which should be prioritized in many metropolitan areas anyway. People would be healthier and happier, if they resorted to riding bikes more often! One of the stunning sensations I had when riding bicycle among thousands of other people during a critical mass bike ride, was to see the streets clogged with people, and yet to predominantly have silence; the hushed sound of only a breeze of people going by – no noise pollution or loud motors whatsoever – fantastic!

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About carolkeiter
Aspiring writer, artist, musician and composer who was born and raised in the United States and has resided in several European countries. Communication is my forte; both through using various tools and in approaching people of divers backgrounds to gather information. Speak conversational - advanced intermediate - French, German and Spanish. Love interacting with people in cultural centers as much as going to remote places to learn more about the different creatures that share our planet. Love of the outdoors and of a variety of outdoor sports. Driven to learn and expand my own consciousness and understanding through curiosity and love of life. Creative skills merge with analytical ones, leading to an interest in a myriad of topics; ranging from politics, economics, science to environmental. Motivated to use my art, music and writing to support and educate people towards humane practices that support and respect all of life, including practices supporting a healthy planet.

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