Location: Topeka

Critical Mass Comes To Topeka

From the Washburn Review:

Each month a group of cyclists ride through Topeka, together trying to take up as much room on the streets as possible. This phenomenon is known as Critical Mass.

The term Critical Mass refers to a size, number or amount of something large enough to yield a given result. So when a street has too many bikes, the system breaks.

Critical Mass Topeka began in November 2007 and consisted of five people. There are groups of cyclists that meet and do a similar event in several cities across the nation. San Francisco’s Critical Mass started in the early ’90s and within one year gained 500 members. They now total in the thousands. Imagine what would happen if 1,000 bikes took up the streets of Topeka one Friday evening; people would certainly start to notice. This is what Washburn graduate Karl Fundenberger hopes can be accomplished in the future for Critical Mass Topeka.

“We want to raise cycling awareness in the city,” said Fundenberger. “We want people to know that when you ride your bike on the street, you’re traffic, too.”

Critical Mass is about more than just raising awareness. Junior Elizabeth Carson, who majors in technical theater at Washburn, started riding in Critical Mass in February. Elizabeth rides her bike everywhere and does so for several reasons.

“It’s more fun than driving, you get to exercise while traveling and save money-food tastes so much better than gas,” said Carson. “It doesn’t even take much longer to get to where you’re going than if you were driving and it does a little something to improve the environment too.”

Read the entire article, Massed together: Critical Mass takes off in Topeka, and learn more about the group at the Critical Mass Topeka Blog.

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

3 responses to “Critical Mass Comes To Topeka”

  1. That’s pretty cool…I hope they can avoid some of the confruntations that have happend with Critical Mass rides around the country though.

    Some groups have started to do rides called “Courteous Mass” as at times the Critical Mass groups start to take on a defiant mood and do things like run stop signs and enrage motorists. Which works against what the ride is supposed to be about. Although the agitators in any group the size of the ride in San Francisco is a small number but everyone gets blamed

  2. Kalr says:

    Thanks for the nod! We try to stay as positive as possible on the Topeka CM rides. If motorists get aggressive or honk, our unwritten policy is just to smile and wave!

  3. […] Kansas Cyclist ran part of the Review’s story, and threw in a hyperlink. […]