Travel Tales: Biking with Critical Mass Houston

Estimated Read Time 2 minutes

On the 4th Friday of every month, thousands of bicyclists participate in Critical Mass Houston, which is a bike ride that starts downtown and rides various routes throughout the city. Other cities throughout the U.S. have their own Critical Mass ride as well. These rides are a way for bikes to dominate the road for one evening a month and advocate for biking in these major urban areas. The Ayoopa team participated in our first Critical Mass this past month.  If you are looking for a new way to bike Houston, a creative date night idea, or just want to be active on a Friday night, this is a great ride! Read below for a recap of our experience.
Riders gather before the start of the Critical Mass bike ride in Houston
Riders gather before the start of the Critical Mass bike ride in Houston
Give the quick and dirty on the ride. How long was the ride? How far did you go? Where did you stop, etc?
The route changes every month, but always starts in Market Square Park in downtown. This month the ride took us down the Washington corridor and up into the Oak Forest and Garden Oaks area before we made our way back to Market Square Park. We took a break about halfway through to rest, refuel and socialize at a grocery store. The total ride was just under 20 miles. The pace is relatively slow due to the large crowd so the total ride took about 2 ½ hours to complete. The route is not published before the ride so it is “follow the leader” style with a Critical Mass leader showing the group the way.
What type of bike did you ride?
I used my road bike, but there were people on any and all types of bikes from cruisers to recline bikes to tandems. I would recommend that you do not use a single speed as there can be some pretty steep hills depending on the route and those are just painful when you don’t have the right gears available. If you need a Houston bike rental, you can compare your options from different vendors throughout the city on or you can also use the B-Cycle stations located in Market Square Park once you arrive. If you choose to use a B-Cycle, be sure to check the seats before you take off! One of the riders in our group couldn’t lock the seat into place and it made for a long ride!

What was the best part of the experience?
It was amazing seeing the number of riders that turned out for the ride! It was a great opportunity to meet other cyclists and to see the city from a whole new perspective. We rode into downtown from the east and there was an amazing view of the city from the Hardy bridge. Everyone was stopping to get a picture because the skyline looked great all lit up! We had a great time!
Any words of advice for those thinking about participating?
Make sure that you know how to bike safely in a group! Communication is important to help you avoid collisions. If you have not ridden in a group before, check out our post on bike safety and group cycling etiquette for some tips!
Also, please be respectful of the city and neighborhoods during the ride! For the most part, the riders were wonderful, but there are always a few that can make the many look bad. This ride is to promote a bike friendly Houston and to advocate for cycling in the city. A small group of participants were littering in the neighborhoods and not being respectful to the communities we were riding through, as well as those riders around them. Please be respectful to the community!
Have you participated in a Critical Mass bike ride in Houston or another city? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Looking to ride your first Critical Mass, but don’t have a bike? Ayoopa will help you find the best deal on your next Houston bike rental in one, easy to use search!

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