Part II- The Ride.
Even before enthusiastic riders saw the bikes, the ride was oversubscribed –800 people for 400 available bikes. In the end, well over 200-300 people rode their own bikes amongst the sea of cyclists on Dutch bikes and clad in orange safety vests. Yes, there were at least 600-700 cyclists for probably Richmond’s first critical mass-like ride with the mayor in attendance.
I was one of the grateful folks who rode their own bike. It was the right decision, after watching an acquaintance, 5’ 3” in height, nearly fall over when she tried to dismount her Dutch bike. Her toes could barely touch the ground while she was sitting on the bike. I am shorter and have nearly resigned to the probability that most one-size rental bikes or shared bike designs do not fit me.
But after a few shaky initial moments of parking lot trials and speeches by officials, we all set off en masse, as an orange river of cyclists shepherded at intersections by the RCMP police.
For just a blissful forty minutes or so, it was suddenly peaceful and quiet with only conversational murmur of cycling companions and ringing bike bells. It was a celebration for many participants who corralled friends and children for the ride and photos.
May this sunny-day group ride translate into more people to use their own bikes beyond the Olympics. We are hopeful.
Update as of Mar. 9, 2010
After the Olympics, it was discovered 21 Dutch bikes were missing.