Merida "Courteous Mass"
Most cyclists have heard of critical mass where cyclists take back the streets.
Earlier this month I got to take part in a weekly bike ride in Merida Mexico. Every Wednesday about 1000 people go on a 6 mile bike ride around the City. This ride is different in that riders actually do share the road.
The event starts with an introduction of how to ride safely, how to share the road, why they’re doing it (no bike facilities here yet) and what to expect. They have about 30 people going up cycle-hurd on bikes making sure people are well behaved and blocking all cars from interfering with the group. They are like human sheep dogs keeping everyone to the right and stopping both cars and bikes when appropriate.
When the cyclists ride by an intersection with waiting cars, all the riders yell “thank you” to the car drivers for waiting. Also, there’s a lot of Good Evenings (Buenos Noches) to by-standers and gawkers.
Also, at the three mile mark there’s about 1/2 hour rest at a park where food vendors sell all manner of sandwiches and drinks. This part of the ride is the “date night” part of the night where people who have been eying each other during the ride say hello.
The group posts photos of the blog here. you’ll see mostly average young people with no helmets. Lots of people rented bikes at the beginning. I saw kids as young as 8 riding on their own as well as a fare number of working class Mexicans.
Beyond CicloTurixes, there’s also an incredibly popular Sunday CicloRuta:
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