Saturday, January 31, 2009
Putrajaya Critical Mass Ride
Last night I had my first taste of a Critical Mass ride. The Putrajaya Critical Mass, to be exact.
I had heard about it from friends and I had read about it, too. But this was the real thing.
Critical Mass is a monthly mass bike ride (on the last Friday of every month) which promotes cycling as a fun and healthy alternative to driving. It is also about asserting cyclists' right to the road. The idea was said to have started in San Francisco in 1992 and since then it has quickly spread to cities all over the world. It now takes place in over 300 cities worldwide!
Critical Mass rides are self-organized. It is an expression of self-confidence and a celebration of joy in cycling which arises from within the cycling community itself.
Critical Mass rides (as expected) vary in from one city to another in terms of frequency and number of participants. But one common distinguishing character perhaps is the pride in being independent and somewhat anti-establishment. This is not to say that the participants are a bunch of anarchies. At least not the ones I saw in Putrajaya.
Critical Mass therefore is more of an idea, and a movement, translated into an event.
Sixteen years after it started in downtown San Francisco and 300 cities later, we can now ride in Putrajaya, Malaysia.
As a town planner working in Putrajaya, I’m chuffed.