Left work early to use up some TOIL and went down to IdealBikes to take photos of bikes. The first bike I took out had a loose chain fitting and really high suspension struts, which meant as soon as I leant on the pedals to get some movement I had a chance of the chain slipping and my knee hitting a strut - naturally, every time it was my right knee that got dinged. I took a few more out, but ended up cherry-picking bikes that were closer to my height so I could put less stress on my knee. I finally gave in and hit the drugstore for some Ibuprofen, after taking that I sat down in the bike shop for a while and ate a couple of Clif bars.
Next, I headed up to Victoria Park for Critical Mass. I was there a bit early so I sat and fiddled with a new Ipaq I got to see what I could get it to do (not much - I think I'm going to end up putting Linux on it to turn it into something useful). People starting arriving around ten to six, and by quarter past the numbers got about as high as they got. At half past there was a long involved discussion about whether allowing busses to pass was "the right thing", and it essentially ended up at the consensus of "do what you want to do", which seemed a bit obvious.
We finally all set off in a slightly ragged procession, with Martin (one of the mechanics from IdealBikes) leading in possibly the most outlandish getup; a homebrew superhero costume, riding a kids bike with a front suspension fork recycled into a seat, with what looked like apehanger bars on the front - it really had to be seen to be believed
! He had to jump off at certain spots and run along pushing his bike instead so he could get back up to the front - not a big problem since the speed was pretty low and we were only going between 10 and 15 km/hr. It was nice being able to be social (I had a chat with one of the guys there about Brooks saddles) and also not having to worry about cars on the road - since we were taking up the whole road there was no way a car could get past.
The ride seemed to be demonstrating to people where the fast roads were and what the alternatives were, as we kept doubling back; for example, at one point in the ride, first we went up along Quinpool, then turned back and came along Pepperell, a quiet residential street that parallels Quinpool. It was slightly bizarre as most of the routes we took were the same as the routes I take on my commute. There were a few I know of that didn't get used, though...
Also fun was Danny, a skateboarder. He tagged along off my bike a few times, and decided to go bombing off on his own
. Next he grabbed on to a cyclist on his left and me on the right and we went riding down a freshly repaved section of Robie. He wanted to go fast down there; I got him up to 35km/hr or so before he jumped off his skateboard and ran along to slow down.
We ended up at Point Pleasant Park (those who hadn't peeled off already, anyway). I headed over to see a friend, then headed home once it got dark and my reflective gear could kick in.
Some of the pictures I took that weren't horribly out of focus from trying to shoot from a moving bike are available for viewing
Distance logged: 26.941km
Average speed: 16.1km/hr
Max speed: 54.7 km/hr
Temperature: 26C-20C, clear
Cumulative distance: 4364.173km
Cumulative cost per km: $0.47
Monthly distance: 742.779km
Monthly cost per km: $0.46