Critical Mass

Critical Mass
Photo: Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Critical Mass is coming to Raleigh.

What is Critical Mass?

Critical Mass is the biggest ride in town. Once a month, riders in cities around the world fill the streets with bikes instead of cars. Critical Mass is a movement, a statement, and a peaceful protest all rolled into one - pushing back against the idea that you need a car to get around in a city. It started in San Francisco back in the early '90s, taking over streets usually jammed with cars to show that bikes are just as viable as cars for urban transit. By riding en masse once a month, we make a claim for our right to the road, flipping the script on urban transit and challenging the car-is-king mindset.

Why do Critical Mass?

Critical Mass helps shift how the general public thinks about getting around our cities. By rallying a group of bikers so big it can't be ignored, we make a point: our streets should be safe and accessible for everyone.

Riding a bike through the city connects us to our surroundings in a way driving never can. It opens our eyes to the nooks and crannies of our neighborhoods and brings us face-to-face with the pulse of our community. It's a vote for cleaner air (cars pollute) quieter streets (cars are loud, cities aren't) and a healthier way to live (cars enable a sedentary lifestyle).

This ride is our way of painting a picture of what a more bike-friendly city could look like.

How Do We Do Critical Mass?

Step 1: Follow @raleighcriticalmass – I promise it's not secretly me behind that account! It's someone else. But I know them.

Step 2: Show up on May 10. Place and time will be announced on the Instagram page.

Step 3: Ride yo bike.

Joining Critical Mass is all about spontaneity. There’s no set route—leaders (whoever happens to be at the front) decide turns on the fly, guiding the flow like the current of a river. This organic approach keeps the ride lively and unpredictable.

You might wonder: Is Critical Mass legal? Absolutely. We cyclists have the same right to the road as cars. It’s like a bicycle rush hour, reinventing the rhythm of the streets. Regarding red lights and traffic laws, while we’re out there making a statement, we’re still part of traffic. That means we stick to the rules too, observing lights and one-way streets just like everyone else.

And do we block traffic? No —we are the traffic. While it might look like we’re slowing cars down, we're just bringing them down to a more human speed.

That's pretty much it. Let's get out there and make a statement.

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