Co-written by Anna Duckworth and Mark Lamovsek
HALIFAX – Tonight is the much-anticipated Hallowe’en Critical Mass ride. And hopefully the beginning of a new chapter for the Halifax ride.
Critical Mass is an international monthly celebration of bikes and bike culture. In Halifax, cyclists gather at Victoria Park on the last Friday of every month to cruise around the city.
For most, Critical Mass is a chance to cycle safely, experience strength in numbers and celebrate life on bikes.
Despite Critical Mass’ generally celebratory and peaceful nature, it’s garnered some negative attention as of late. The ride has been associated with aggression, an effort to pit bikes against cars and even some police intervention.
Just last month, police stopped riders at the corner of Quinpool Road and Oxford Street. Historically, police seem to struggle with the concept of Critical Mass – perhaps because of its non-hierarchical, leader-less structure. No one is in charge during a ride.
The most recent police interference inspired a few cycling enthusiasts to get together to chat. It became clear at the meeting that Critical Mass represents a myriad of voices and opinions – a spirit of diversity and inclusivity.
While motivations for riding are varied, a consensus was reached on at least one point: Critical Mass is ready to shed its aggressive reputation and invite the entire community – babies, parents, old folks and Peter Kelly – to the most wholesome party of the month!
photo by Mark Lamovsek