A reader suggested that I write about the differences in the many different Critical Mass rides that happen around Los Angeles. It seemed like a good idea, and since I could double up on last weekend by doing the ride and visit the Commuter Bike Expo, this weekend I bring you the first in a series of Critical Mass ride reports from around the region.
The group met at 10:30 A.M. in a local park next to a Gold Line station and you could immediately tell it wasn't a normal Critical Mass ride. Critical Mass in Pasadena is more of a family affair than you might expect. A couple of young ladies who couldn't have been older than 8 helped fill out the group of 20 riders and music played while the ride leader whipped us around Pasadena in a six mile loop to Cal Tech and back to the Bike Expo.
Despite the group size and suburban setting, there were some typical Critical Mass experiences, the solidarity of a group of like minded people taking a ride to remind a community of cyclists' rights. While there was some car honking from irritated drivers who wanted to cruise down Colorado Avenue so they could wait longer at the next red light, but overall the ride was incident free and safe for riders of all age.
When the ride ended, we were at the entrance to Pasadena's Bike Commuter Expo. Outside of the usual suspects, Helen's Cycles, C.I.C.L.E, LACBC and the California Bike Coalition, there were boots set up to get what you need for the bikes you have, buy all the latest fashion accessories (made out of recycled bike tires) and check out a bucket bike in person.
Our friends at C.I.C.L.E. also sponsored workshops designed to get more people comfortable with urban bike riding. Regular Streetsblog commenter David P. teaching one on "biking and using transit" when we went past.
Between Critical Mass and the Expo, Pasadena showed that it has a thriving bike culture on it's own. Check back with us next month for our next Critical Mass report.
Photos: Damien Newton