Critical Mass


driving-is-bad-for-your-ass.jpg critical_mass_sprayed_on_2006.jpgA Critical Mass flyer stenciled on to the 3rd & University Poles (found 2006-02-12).

Critical Mass reboot, just in time for spring. Next ride is Friday April, 26th 2013 at 5:30pm; ride starts at 6pm.

On the last Friday of each month, cycle-minded folks from Davis meet at Central Park and subsequently swarm the streets on their leg-powered two-wheelers. They used to meet at the Oak tree in Central Park. Folks decide the route while en route, so feel free to ride with us and pick it. During the summer, the mass sometimes goes pool hopping, which occurred in July 2006 and 2007.

Critical Mass is the name for this phenomena which occurs in more than 300 cities around the world - see the wiki [WWW] Given the love this city has for the bicycle, it is no wonder that it should occur here. There used to be an email list (<>) for Davis info. For those Facebook addicts out there, there is a [WWW]Davis Critical Mass Facebook group that is still active.

Larger, less-local Critical Mass events are held in Berkeley and San Francisco, where the cyclists come out in the thousands. The September 28th San Francisco Critical Mass [WWW]marked the 15th birthday of the movement.

See Bicycling Advocacy for other bike-related events.

Learn more about Critical Mass in the documentary [WWW]We Are Traffic.

A Vision Statement

    1. A Vision Statement
    2. September 2007 CM: Biggest Mass in Davis History
    3. Make Your Voice Heard:
    4. Suggested Do's and Don'ts
      1. Do
      2. Don't
    5. The Law and Critical Mass:
    6. Avoiding Mass Arrests
    7. Photos
      1. February 2011
      2. November 2008
      3. October 2008
      4. November 2007
      5. September 2007
      6. October 2006
      7. June 2006
      8. May 2006
      9. April 2006
      10. February 2006
      11. January 2006
      12. Fliers


Critical Mass is about envisioning (and for a small moment, creating) a world where bikes are the dominant mode of travel. By riding en mass we create an experiential space for both cyclists and the wider community to see what a world full of bikes looks and feels like. When more people ride bicycles it means less congestion for those still in automobiles, safer and quieter streets for children and the elderly, less taxes needed for new road construction, less pollution and climate change, a healthier and more fit population, more community interaction, reduced urban sprawl, and reduced reliance on foreign oil.

Davis is already a very bicycle friendly city (14% of Davis residents bike to work), but our city could become even better. We have the greatest potential out of any community in the whole country to reduce our traffic fatalities to zero by reducing the probability of fast heavy cars colliding with people or bicyclists. This can be done a number of ways: slowing down cars where they mix with pedestrians and bikes, separating them completely using bike and pedestrian paths, and increasing the proportion of walking and cycling such that there are fewer cars to collide with.

One obvious way to encourage more bicycling is to make it easier to ride by improving the connectivity of bicycling infrastructure. In Davis, one key piece of infrastructure is missing—a safe east west corridor. Fifth Street lacks a safe bike route between A Street and L Street. Russell Boulevard lacks bike lanes entirely. Our forward thinking city council has almost approved a “road diet,” conversion of one lane in each direction of fifth street to a bike lane. All they need is a little encouragement. Even the Downtown Business Association has endorsed the road diet.

There are many other steps that can be taken to encourage bicycling in Davis. Stop signs should be yield signs for bicyclists, businesses should provide covered bicycle parking, yard waste should stay out of bike lanes, and downtown should be a car-free zone one Sunday a month so people can experience what such a space feels like in Davis. The university can also encourage cycling. The “car free campus” has sprouted a large number of trucks in the last two decades and can become a safer place by becoming car free once again. Unitrans should join the ranks of most municipal bus services by providing bike racks or bike trailer services for its riders.

September 2007 CM: Biggest Mass in Davis History

Sources say that hordes of Zombies and Pirates will swarm the streets Friday September 28th to fend off the car invasion. Pick your faction and grab your bike for the critical mass of fun!


Make Your Voice Heard:

You can also contact current city council members and staff to make your voice heard on and off the street. Urge them to support a bicycle safe Davis.

[WWW]City of Davis Contact Info

Suggested Do's and Don'ts


critical_mass_bike_2006.jpgA bike parked before the May 26, 2006 ride.


mass_sign.jpgsign from signmaking party on 10-26-06

The Law and Critical Mass:

California Vehicle Code 21202 (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations: (1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction. (2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway. (3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane. (4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. (b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway, which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

California Vehicle Code 21208 a) Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway, any person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction shall ride in the bicycle lane, except under the following situations.

  1. When overtaking or passing another bicycle, vehicle, or pedestrian within the lane or about to enter the lane if such overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the lane.

  2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

  3. When necessary to leave the lane to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions.

b) No operator of a bicycle shall leave a bicycle lane until it can be done safely and then only after giving an appropriate hand signal in the event that any vehicle might be affected by the movement.

[WWW]California Bike Laws [WWW]Davis Bike Laws
[WWW]Critical Mass History

Avoiding Mass Arrests

In the late 90's (citation needed), on the second critical mass organized, the Davis Swat was called. A perimeter was marked off, a trap was set, and mass arrests were made with fines imposed. According to SteveDavison who was there, it was "a blood-bath," so much so that he is afraid to go on any other ones. However, the police haven't cracked down on the mass in awhile and recent comments by the police chief could possibly be interpreted as tacit approval.


February 2011

IMG_2812.jpg IMG_2839.jpg

November 2008

[WWW]YouTube video

October 2008

oct08 group.jpg oct08 coolspot.jpgCool Spot ridin' the wave oct08 la rue.jpg oct 08 u.jpg

November 2007

WEPS.jpgMass summits the $24,000,000 West Entry Parking Structure. Why can't we get even $50,000 for bike parking?!?!?

WEPS2.JPGLots of concrete here. Signs noted that if you drive to a football game, you need to wait 1 hr 15 mins to exit from this level. They should also note that if you live in, say, Rancho Cordova or Vacaville you could bike home in less time than it would take you to wait in traffic and get out of the parking ramp...

September 2007

120+ zombies and pirates
Zombie Pirate Panorama.jpgThe Horde/Crew gear up.jpgPirate, meet Zombie. Raven Pirate.JPG.....Arrrrrrrrr!... Zombie Friends.JPGBraiuuuuuuuhns!! Zombie Friends II.jpgDid you hit your head? TV Crew.jpgcan you elaborate on Uhhhhhhh? brains.jpgRefreshments. pirate ship.jpgAhoy! pirates.jpgArrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! zombie.jpgUhhhhhhhhhh!

October 2006

Halloween Ride!!! Costumes!!! Accordians!!!

oct_2006_car.jpgThe ghostcar and it's inhabitants oct_2006_mass.jpgLadybugs and lions and barbies, oh my! oct_2006_park.jpgeven some who couldn't bike managed to come oct_2006_accordian.jpgand where would we be without accordian music?

June 2006

This June ride involved pool-hopping! The first mass dip into a pool was at someone's house...we had permission to use their pool, of course. The subsequent two or three pools into which we jumped were those of apartment complexes along our route. We didn't have official permission to use these pools, but we didn't get any complaints from apartment dwellers or management! We just had a lot of fun. Must've been a seven- to nine-mile ride or thereabouts?

mass.jpgA poor representation of how many people were actually in attendance. Sorry guys! cmass2.jpgAnother poor representation. And another apology. =D june_cm.jpgHeading north on Anderson june_2006_mass.jpgOn Covell, eastbound approaching F st june_2006_zel.jpgthis puppet likes bikes too! june_2006_pool1.jpgat the first pool june_2006_pool2.jpgin front of the house with the pool

May 2006

[WWW]video of the May ride

may_2006_01.jpg may_2006_curve.jpgRiders roll along the South Davis Bike Path. may_2006_tandem.jpgTandem bikes are fun for two.

may_2006_yellow.jpg may_2006_parked.jpg

may_2006_mass.jpg may_2006_covell_anderson.jpgRiders relaxing at Covell and Anderson

April 2006

criticalMass.jpgBike nuts gather at Central Park

april_2006_01.jpgOn B St approaching 14th

February 2006

feb_2006_01.jpg feb_2006_02.jpg feb_2006_03.jpg feb_2006_04.jpg feb_2006_05.jpg feb_2006_06.jpg

January 2006

jan_2006_mass.jpgmass on Russell at sunset



Comments about the Velorution:

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2006-02-14 11:01:09   I think this is a cool idea, but really people have to be more responsible with it. I saw it go by downtown a few weeks back, and not only were the riders blowing stop signs, but two or three almost got hit. I'm pretty sure the idea is to create a massive group of bikers, not to endanger the lives of yourself and others. —PatrickProctor

2006-03-08 13:25:32   We tried this back in the late 90s about 50 of us met in Central Park and road down Russel. Blvd to Anderson. After Anderson we made a U turn and headed back down town. Before we got to B St. we were swarmed by cops. On the way we blocked off several streets, and ticked off many, many drivers. One rider was intentionally hit, fortunately at a slow speed and several people were arrested. The Davis Cops were not amused and came down on us hard with pretty much the whole police force. There was little enthusiasm from participants for a repeat the activity. —ColinWalsh

2006-03-08 13:42:55   How stupid and annoying —JoshFernandez

2006-03-13 20:36:47   I think drunks & cars are stupid and annoying. —PxlAted

2006-03-19 15:50:59   Don't forget to come out and be stupid and annoying again in two weeks on the 31st... I expect to see you all there. —GarrettGallegos

2006-03-28 16:58:44   I saw the words "Critical Mass" and thought about nuclear reactors ... *embarrassed* —TusharRawat

2006-04-24 16:06:47   Photos Above are from Feburary's Critical Mass...Remember Critical Mass is happening this Friday!!! —NicholaiLinesch

2006-05-03 23:35:06   April Critical Mass we had a motorcycle cop 'escorting' us through intersections on the ride. Quite a different response from cops photographing us and threatening us with conspiricy... —PxlAted

2006-05-08 20:07:36   Whether you completely understand what the point Critical Mass excatly is, or not. I definately recommend giving it a try and really experience davis. —KyleLanderhoffis

2006-06-28 22:59:55   I mostly just consider it an excuse to get outdoors and interact with real people... —MistressAlthaea

So does anyone know how Pixel is? I heard he lost three teeth. TobinJones

2006-07-31 15:39:08   Towards the end of the ride I crashed on my bike [going really slow] and somehow ended up with the bike crashing down on my front teeth while I was laying on the gravel, thus dislodging two teeth and chipping another. At the hospital they fixed me up nice, replacing my teeth, sewing my gums back together, and holding them all in place with a metal wire and glue. Plus, I got some vicadin [ran out!], AND it's a great opportunity to quit smoking, so all in all I'm doing just fine. —PxlAted

I feel that the "police plan" is a little off course. I don't want to say what the mass needs or doesn't need, because no one has that right in the zerocracy that the mass is, however, the police plan is a plan and that works against the idea of the mass just occurring and rolling wherever. No routes, no plans, just a happening. And as for the cops, let them do their thing. The mass is not wrong, people see it as wrong because they view their automobiles as superior, but we see each other as equals. Possibly there'll be the masser(s) getting out of line, in which others should step up and ask them not to affect the celebration, but don't act like you're doing something wrong when the cops show. We're not doing anything wrong and we should stand by that, not flee. - Bentaylor

2006-08-24 10:50:28   There are many steps that can be taken to ensure that the cops don't show up in the first place. In the Late '90s we didn't have the current defination of CVC 21202 which allows us to take up the entire right lane on streets such as 5th street. If we annoy people by blocking the entire road than people will call the cops, and then the cops will show up. Less annoyance = less cops. Another tactic is to change juristictions of which we have two in town, the city and the University. —PxlAted

2006-11-26 12:59:20   miss riding with all of you. keep it FUNky. —PxlAted

2007-01-29 16:28:10   I've always had a great time doing this. I've been forgetting lately, but I want to start coming again. My favorite experience was when I was walking along the quad, having forgotten that it was happening, when the pack rushed by. Arlen was on his two-seater, and yelled, "Brian, hop on!" And so I did. I love spontaneity. —BrianAng

I disagree that we should always disperse at the first sign of cops. Are we serious about stopping the rat race and global warming, or are we just screwing around? If we have someone bring a camera, we can deter the cops from mass arrests. TobinJones

2007-04-27 18:48:47   I saw the mass twice today, Once headed West down Fifth, and then again headed west on 2nd between F and E. At the second site I managed to give a "YEAAAAAAAH CRITICAL MASS" and I also saw the mobile bike church and was able to give a "YEAH MOBILE BIKE CHURRRCH" as well. The yelling comes in the spirit of the way I yell at village cabs "YEAAHH village cabs⁄!" —StevenDaubert

2007-05-25 18:15:14   This makes me so furious. You want to make a difference in cycling rights? Bike to work every day, obey traffic laws, and support politicians who support cyclists. I know this isn't as much fun as being a 'beret-wearing anarchist' like TobinJones, but it may actually have a positive impact on the world. As opposed to this B.S., which only infuriates the people whose minds you're trying to change. —BillyBudd

2007-05-25 19:27:43   May 25, 2007. Lots o' people attended mass. HELL YES. Ride on! —EliseKane

2007-05-28 22:58:17   hiya. So who has pics from this past ride? If anyone has some shots, let's see them posted. Can't wait to see 'em! —EliseKane

2007-06-29 22:00:49   In SF, the cops cork the intersections for us! —PhilipNeustrom

2007-07-22 15:58:02   Fifth street HAS a safe bike route from A to L streets. It is called THIRD street and EIGHTH street. The trucks get one good road to barrel down which keeps them off of the two roads that have bike lanes that we can fly down more safely. If Fifth (the only car-friendly road south of Covell) is converted to an 8th-st.-like mixed use, then the trucks and fast cars will spread out to all the roads we bicyclists use and make them less safe for us. — NotTires —NotTires

2007-09-28 19:57:31   Ok, today's mass was awesome! I had such a good time. Seeing everyone dance in the middle of the quad during the freshman welcome was funny. Congratulations on having a successful mass. —JessicaRockwell

2007-09-29 01:03:34   We honked at you guys when you were going down Anderson! The HUGE crowd of zombies and pirates made my day :D —KellyCorcoran

2008-03-28 17:05:41   What path do you guys take? I like to get my customers to support you outside my store, but never know when you guys will pass by or if at all. Its 5pm now and I'm anticipating... —SunjeetBaadkar

2010-02-23 09:57:06   Strongly agree with PatrickProctor;

Strongly encourage involvement at USA Cycling Events.

Worse than motorists, these f-ers think they should be able to charge cyclists for, AND prohibit those who do not pay from, using the public roads.

Please pass the word to other CMs and individuals who would like to participate in "group rides" w/o paying.

2010-09-20 21:00:31   Will the critical mass here ever pick up again? They are a ton of fun and I'd love to see one happening locally! —ToddKaiser

2010-10-29 10:39:28   is this happening tonight or will i be the lone dork in costume hanging out near the oak tree? —BoogabaahWeesnaah

2011-01-29 22:34:29   REVIVE CRITICAL MASS!!! Feb. 25: get your glow sticks, glow necklaces, cool bike lights and meet at central park for a mind-blowing glow ride. [WWW]

2011-11-19 16:34:26   It's about time the rest of the world go off its' couch and joined Us:


2013-02-22 09:31:51   Is Critical Mass still happening in Davis these days? —OliviaEmerson

2013-04-14 00:30:13   I want to revive Critical Mass! See you all on the 26th in Central Part at 5:30pm.

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