Sorta serious mass

For many of the years that I lived in the Bay Area, one Friday evening a month included a giant contingent of bike riders moving loudly through the intersection of University and Shattuck, at 5 pm. It being Berkeley, the social/political concern of whatever the day would sometimes be pasted onto this show of Critical Mass. The last time I saw it up close and personal, passage through the intersection, from first to last bike, took three or four traffic signal changes in one direction.

This evening I got to see the Haligonian version:  much smaller–maybe 100 bikes?–and quieter.  And, oddly, much slower, as though part of the idea here is to make up in time for numbers of bikes.  Given the recent weather conditions–rain the past couple days has washed away a lot of the snow but tonight it’s drizzling and the roads are slick–it’s not a time for a race.  And CM wants to make the point of its ride by bringing a lot of other traffic to a halt.

There’s a bike shop on Barrington, where Bob went to buy a cover for his peach-coloured bike, that is every bit as much of there as it is of here.  I was frankly surprised that I didn’t recognize any of the guys working on the floor–tightening screws, sorting through possible solutions to seats–from the schooldays.

About a year before we left MLK, Velo Sport moved from across the street from us to over on University. Back in the day, the number of early Sunday morning bike riders who gathered in the intersection between us was about the same as the gathering this evening. Given the time difference, maybe the West Coast contingent of CM is just thinking about heading over to University in a couple hours, for the evening’s ride.


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