San Fernando Valley Critical Mass Celebrates 2nd Anniversary
(This article appears as part of a monthly series on Critical Mass in the Greater Los Angeles area. Previously Streetsblog has dodged the police with Santa Monica Critical Mass, cruised with the kids in Pasadena, cruised the downtown in Los Angeles, and kicked around in Venice.)
Last night, San Fernando Valley Critical Mass celebrated its 2nd Anniversary with a relaxed and cordial roll through the Valley. At any given point there was somewhere between sixty and one hundred riders making up a mass that was more about the joy of riding than any political statement. The mass itself was an eclectic mix of riders of all races and age groups.
Most riders showed up to the start point, the Woodley Avenue Orange Line stop, between 7:30 and 8:00 P.M. Ride cards were handed out celebrating the anniversary, and some of the riders from the original San Fernando Valley Critical Mass ride took a second to thank everyone for attending and explained that this ride is about cycling and about the riders, not about confrontation and not about breaking the law.
The ride itself was a different experience than other Critical Masses. It actually felt more like Pasadena Critical Mass than any of the rides done in City limits. There were no run-ins with the police and drivers and pedestrians were more supportive of the ride than I'd seen anywhere else. The only people who didn't seem happy to see us was the manager of a small convenience store who refused to let us in and the security at a Ralph's on Ventura Blvd. who had security escort their shoppers to the cars.
Some of the reactions from non-riders people checking us out were weird, like the little girl who kept shouting "Marijuana" at us from a balcony or the two guys in a convertible that followed us around for an hour riding in a parallel lane slowing down traffic.
Months ago, I was told by a couple different people that San Fernando Valley Critical Mass was the most fun of any of the masses. That's probably true as the diverse age and laid back nature of the ride make it easy to handle and enjoyable. As one poster on the Midnight Ridazz forums said earlier today:
But last night I was impressed at how easy it is to get around the Valley on a bike. In city traffic a bike keeps up pretty well. Of coarse it helps that we have cool tunes to listen too and we go through red lights.... but still.
Even if you don't live in the Valley, don't mind taking a couple of hours off for a late night ride in the middle of the week, and want to break in to the Critical Mass movement; this is the perfect ride for you. Even if you're not a believer in Critical Mass, the good nature of the riders and the community make it an easy and fun group ride to be a part of.
Original SFV Massers Give the Basics Before the Ride
Ridazz Relax at One of the Pit Stops
Lights Show the Way
Photos: Damien Newton