A long-time tradition in Toronto's cycling community, Critical Mass is a large, non-organized ride that happens on the last Friday of every month. Starting at 6pm the group sets out from the southeast corner of Bloor and Spadina, organically deciding on the route as the meandering "peloton" progresses through downtown streets.
The point is (as much as there can be a point for a ride not officially organized by anyone) to show other users of the road that cyclists do exist in significant numbers, to assert our right to be on the road with all other types of traffic, and to hopefully stress that the priorities of cyclists should indeed take high priority in the continuous urban planning process.
Usually, at least a hundred riders will attend Critical Mass. This month, with halloween approaching and the recent failed attempt to save the bike lanes on Jarvis St from removal, Cycle Toronto has put the call out to make October's Critical Mass the Zombie Bike Lane Critical Mass, in hopes of increasing turn-out at the event. Because of its nature, it is somewhat unusual for any group to quasi-endorse Critical Mass, so I found it noteworthy and perhaps telling of the importance of attending this particular rally. If you are unhappy with the removal of the Jarvis St bike lanes, this is one way you can people know. Not only that, but you'll be riding with (and are invited to dress up as) lots and lots of zombies! How much fun is that?!?
For those of you who don't yet know about it, Cycle Toronto is a cycling advocacy group that works to advance the interest of cyclists in the city through raising public awareness and reminding municipal officials of the various benefits promoting and enabling cycling as a mode of transport and recreation.
If you at all feel that the city is wrong-headed in removing instead of adding to cycling infrastructure in Toronto, and feel that you as a citizen/constituent/cyciist are not being served by the decisions being made at city hall, at least in this respect, then the one of the most effective ways you can put your support behind the cause of cycling in Toronto is to join Cycle Toronto. (Another wonderful thing that you can and should do is to write to your elected municipal officials encouraging them to vote for and not against improved cycling infrastructure.)
I am shamelessly including below the link my Cycle Toronto Refer-a-Rider sign-up page: http://cycleto.ca/civicrm/contribute/pcp/info?reset=1&id=225
I don't really get anything out of this, but if you sign up, all cyclists in the city will get something out of it through the increased clout and support of this pro-cycling organization.
From my own very limited experience I've seen that Toronto is not really doing so well when it comes to cycling infrastructure. I was stunned at the awesomeness of (and obvious priority given to) bike lanes in the core of Washington DC when I visited this summer. Down the primary arteries in the core of the city there are separated bike lanes replete with distinct traffic signals. Even New York City has ample space dedicated to bright green bike lanes down important streets such as Broadway. Contrast that with the state of things in Toronto where it is almost unfathomable to consider having bike lanes on streets like Yonge or Bay, Bloor or Queen, or to have separate turn signals for bikes so that a left turn at an intersection is not a dance with death?
So, even though neither I nor Toronto Bike Meetup are organizing this ride, I think it would be really cool if you came to this fun zombie version of Critical Mass. Remember, wear a helmet to protect your brains!!