Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Critical Mass cometh
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Budapest's twice-annual demonstration/celebration for bicycling happens once again this Sunday (April 19), starting at 3 p.m. from the park in Tabán. To ensure a good-sized crowd by starting time, organisers encourage participants to make a day of it by bringing food and drink to the park for a picnic starting around 1 p.m. Officially, alcohol is discouraged, as boozing before biking is illegal. Probably one beer won't hurt -- but you didn't read that here!
The procession will go down Krisztina krt, across Erzsebet bridge, do a quick loop in Pest and come back across the river, back up the Tabán on Attila út, then through the Chain bridge tunnel and across the river again ... Nevermind: you can see the full route directions here. Click the first subhead: Mikor lesz a felvonulás? És hol? És mettől meddig tart majd?
As has been the custom for Earth Day Critical Masses, the event culminates with a bike lifting at City Park 2.5 hours after the starting time at 5:30 p.m.
This event won't be the in-your-face, politically-serious, rush-hour type ride as organised last fall during European Car Free Day. Instead, it will be a light-hearted, celebratory ride in which everyone is encouraged to turn out, including children. In fact, parents with prams are invited to take part in the first-annual "babakocsi" Critical Mass, which will start from Kodaly körönd at 3:30 p.m., and then proceed straight down Andrássy to join the cyclists at City Park.
It'll be interesting to see if participation in this year's Earth Day Critical Mass can beat last year's, which organisers claimed set a likely World record at 80,000. A lot will depend on the weather, which looked partly cloudy, partly sunny, but with rain on the day before and the day after. Cross your fingers.