What is Critical Mass?
Critical Mass is a bike ride plain and simple. The ride takes place on the Last Friday Of Every Month (in Chicago anyway). A Critical Mass is created when the group of riders comes together for those few hours to take back the streets of our city. The right of the people to assemble is guaranteed in the Constitution, and Critical Mass helps people remember that right. The Mass itself has no political agenda, though, no more than the people of any other community do. Critical Mass is open to all, and it welcomes all riders to join in a celebration of riding bicycles. Why? Because bikes are fun!
Sure, as with any community, you'll see people of all types. Some people see Critical Mass as a forum for grassroots political change. Some people see it as a protest against cars. Some people just like to ride. The Mass, however, is just that...a bunch of bike riders. You can drive a car the whole month and ride in the Mass. You can be an anarchist and ride in the Mass. The point of the Mass is the Mass, nothing more. Critical Mass has no leadership. It is a ride where no one is in charge. At any time, riders are free to leave, stay, stop, or even help out. Everyone is responsible for themselves and the Mass. Learn how to get involved!
Once you realize that, you're free to enjoy the exhilaration that is a large bike ride. It's quite a sight to be parading down Michigan Avenue with thousands of fellow riders, wishing pedestrians and drivers a "Happy Friday!"
Chicago Critical Mass is a community, yet it's also part of a worldwide Critical Mass community as a whole. Critical Mass rides take place all over the world each month, and Chicago is proud to join in to proclaim our love of bicycles. If you love bikes, and you want to show others how you feel about cycling, come join us!
For more information on the origins of Critical Mass, please see the excellent Wikipedia page on the subject.