Thousands of cyclists from all walks of life regularly gather in Buenos Aires for a communal, organic event that celebrates the joys of cycling and promotes its positive effect on the city.
La Masa Critical (Critical Mass) takes over the streets
of the Argentine capital on the first Sunday of each month and every full moon,
and the route is completely spontaneous each time.
Mass started in San Francisco, California, in 1992 when a group of cyclists
gathered in the city to protest against the traffic. The idea quickly spread to
other cities around the world, with cyclists meeting regularly to promote biking
as a form of urban transport.
There is no
formal leader, organization or event publicity, and everybody participates for
different reasons. Some cycle to make political statements while others join to
exercise, see friends or connect with strangers over a mutual passion. Anyone
with non-motorized transportation, like rollerblades, skateboards or
wheelchairs, can join in, starting and leaving the ride at any point they want.
meet at 4 pm in front of the Obelisk
monument on Avenida 9 de Julio. The ride lasts around two hours and ends either
back at the starting point or in a local bar.
to the city who would like to participate, bikes can be rented from La
Bicicleta Naranja (50 Argentinean pesos for a half day or 85 Argentinean
pesos for a full day, including a helmet and a security lock). La Bicicleta
Naranja has offices in Palermo (Nicaragua 4825) and San Telmo (Pasaje Giuffra
308), and bicycles can be picked up and returned to either location.
Tim Fitzgerald is the Buenos Aires Localite for
BBC Travel. He also writes gringoinbuenosaires.com.