Critical Mass, organized by New College second-year Kaithleen Coñoepan, hit the streets of Sarasota this Friday. More than 20 cyclists attended. The majority of them were New College students but also included several members from the Sarasota community.
Coñoepan had participated in Critical Mass events in Miami and wanted to bring the event to Sarasota. Coñoepan advertised for the event by putting up flyers around campus and at several local businesses and posting on the forum.
Cyclists met at the parking lot in front of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. From there, Coñoepan led the group down Bayshore Road and crossed onto Dr. Martin Luther King Way. The mass then turned onto Cocoanut Avenue and continued down the road into the downtown area. The ride ended at Five Points Park across from the Selby Public Library.
Coñoepan said her favorite part of the ride was hearing people cheer for the bikers as they rode by. She believes the Critical Mass was important because it helped to raise awareness of bicycles on the road and bicycle safety in Sarasota.
“I think it went really well,” Coñoepan said in an email interview. “I think we all did really well in sticking to a nice easy-going pace for everyone! I think it was really important for the people of Sarasota to see a group of cyclists riding and sticking together.”
The Critical Mass saw one flat tire and two falls, but everyone made it back to the starting point safely in the end.
“It’s not a Critical Mass unless someone falls off their bike,” Brian Campbell, a barista at Coffee Loft who participated in the Critical Mass, said.
Coñoepan is working on planning the route for next month’s Critical Mass and is looking forward to making it a monthly event. She hopes even more people will come to the next Critical Mass as word spreads.
The first Critical Mass was live streamed and can be accessed on the NCF Catalyst Facebook page.