Dressed right, ready to ride

A participant captures the spirit of cyclists during Critical Mass, on a misty saturday morning.

A vibrant bunch of people appear out of the mist, on a Saturday morning in Cubbon Park! On Feb 23rd morning, it was definitely a celebration of meeting people, spontaneous friendships and a common passion/interest that binds us all – cycling.

Pic: Shamala Kittane Subramanyan

"She has been riding with me since she was two and a half years old." says Prabhakar ‘Go Green’ Rao, a father to a ‘happy-to-go-to-school’ daughter. His daughter Pranalani Rao is now seven years old and seems absolutely comfortable on the bike. A beautiful father-daughter relationship, great cycling-together memories to treasure.

Pic: Shamala Kittane Subramanyan

Anindya Rai, who has just moved to Bangalore from his native Madhya Pradesh, mistook the start time as 6:30am and found himself the lone biker at Cubbon Park at that early hour.

Critical Mass are cycling events that happen in cities all over the world. Wikipedia terms Critical Mass rides as ‘celebrations’, ‘spontaneous gatherings’, ‘social movement’ etc. In Bangalore, Critical Mass ride happens on the last Saturday of the month.

With an hour and a half to kill, Rai decided to explore the morning Bangalore. He cycled to Tipu Palace, checks out Lalbagh and gets back just in time for the 8 am ride. Under that retro hat, he sure stands out as a biker who is not going to stick around waiting for people to turn up….no stopping him ! Infact no stopping them cyclists….

As the adage goes, ‘You are not stuck in traffic, you are the traffic’. You can never be stuck in traffic if you are on a cycle or if you are a pedestrian.

Vinay Bangalore Srinivas turned up at Cubbon for a run with his friends but got a little lost. He got a little help from the Critical Mass riders coming his way. You can always get directions from a cyclist when you are lost on Bangalore roads! We know the best routes and optimal distances between two or more points — all secret sandhis and gallis.

As the mist clears out and sun shining bright, veteran participant G V Dasarathi proposes a cheery greeting that bikers on the road could use. An inverted V-sign that implies cycling ensures you get ‘sexy legs for sure’.

Pic: Shamala Kittane Subramanyan

The February ride’s theme was "dress well / dress for the office!" Dasarathi had come dressed in a smart blazer and formal shirt and tie., by the end of the race he was down to his T-shirt. Good that it wasn’t a longer route! For Aditya from Vijayawada, the formal dress code helped as he had a job interview at Domlur scheduled after the ride.

Anupreet Dhody, a volunteer at "Seva Cafe", a new initiative in Bangalore, continues her ride as she gives an interview about Seva Cafe on Radio City 91 FM.

Naresh Khandai now single-handedly manages both photography and biking ! All of Critical mass captured while in motion – more than a 200 pictures….a real motion picture!

Participants of the February Critical Mass ride. Pic: Shamala Kittane Subramanyan

It was a great start to a weekend morning and the next time we plan to be loud and clear about it. Theme for the next Critical Mass ride is "Noise". Flaunt your biking…be proud…and be loud. Whistles, musical instruments, singing…

Critical Mass is a great place to meet people and chat all along the way….its slow paced and especially aimed at including everybody who is anybody and want to start off as just bicyclists in the city.

See you next time.

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