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Critical Mass is Alive and Well: Guadalajara’s Paseo de Todos

Walking and bicycling in Guadalajara can be dangerous in many parts of the city, but there's a big movement among many citizens to alter that. GDL en Bici is a group of wonderful citizens and bicycle advocates who have been organizing multiple weekly bike rides for years, and nothing is more impressive then their first Thursday of the month ride - the Paseo de Todos - which regularly churns out up to 5,000 riders to celebrate and demand safer cycling conditions.

People just have a lot of fun. You'll see families, students, and older citizens heavily sprinkled throughout the critical mass. Drivers who usually rule the congested roads seem to mostly tolerate the inconvenience. The police largely ignore the whole thing. Helping matters is that each of the rides is theme-oreinted: one month it might be to celebrate Mexico's Independence.  Another week it could be comic books. This month was particularly fun since it was all about celebrating the Day of the Dead!

Streetfilms would like to thank Guadalajara 2020 for making it possible to make the journey to document this wonderful event & sponsoring the film.  And to Gil Penalosa, Executive Director of 8-80 Cites, for organizing the details.

 

[music] 

Carmen Diaz:  [00:14] We’re at the Paseo de Todos, the monthly ride that we organise.  In this ride we invite all cyclists to come join us in a nightly ride where we take back our streets. 

 

Speaker:  [00:26] One of the great things, one of the highlights of night rides is that they are totally citizen organised and community done.  And once a month, on the first Thursday of every month, all the rides get together and they do a huge ride with thousands of people. 

 

[music] 

Ovi Montiel:  [00:52] Around 4 or 5,000 cyclists come.  Students, whole families, grandpas, what’s so nice is that whole families come to ride. 

 

Speaker:  [01:07] It’s a cool experience because it’s strange to ride through the whole city on bicycle. 

 

Speaker:  [01:14] You feel like you own the city for a little while. 

 

Speaker:  [01:17] I ride my bike every day but riding with a whole bunch of people is a lot more fun. 

 

Gerardo (El Chino):  [01:24] This night ride was created to take back the space that cyclists need, to take back the streets, to make ourselves known and to have rights. 

 

Speaker:  [01:41] Basically to demand that drivers respect us and to know that we are part of traffic. 

 

Carmen Diaz:  [01:52] We have a theme, different theme every month.  And for tonight it’s going to be the deaths night and the devil’s night. 

 

Speaker:  [01:59] In this vicinity is the day of the deaths we celebrate in Mexico.  We don’t celebrate Halloween.  We celebrate death and in a happy way.

 

Speaker:  [02:09] Let’s go!  Let’s go!

 

Speaker:  [02:14] This is stress relief, that’s it.  That’s it, stress relief.  I mean you just want to be home sitting down watching TV, eating popcorn?  No, come out here, enjoy yourself. 

 

Speaker:  [02:25] It’s a great way to meet one another, of showing how the bicycle is a great way of helping the environment. 

 

Speaker:  [02:32] Reducing the amount of cars – increasing the amount of alternative transportation, bike lanes, buses and light rail. 

 

Jess Linz:  [02:44] And you see a lot more people riding who aren’t normally out on every Wednesday night ride, thousands of people every Wednesday.  But this gets more people who have other obligations. 

 

Speaker:  [02:56] It’s a great way for people to meet one another while using an alternate means of transport. 

 

[music] 

Speaker:  [03:09] For those of you who have candles, we’re gonna stop at el andador Escorza to leave them there. 

 

[music] 

Speaker:  [03:19] It’s difficult to ride your bike during the day as a means of transportation.  It’s risky to ride alone. 

 

Speaker:  [03:26] This is a good way to make the people in the government that this is important to have ways for the people that is in bicycles. 

 

[music] 

Speaker:  [03:58] It’s cool, everyone’s in a good mood, we’re physically active, we want a cleaner city with less cars.

 

Speaker:  [04:10] It’s fun, you get to see the city from a different point of view. 

 

[music] 

Carmen Diaz:  [04:17] For me it was this sensation of freedom, of being able to live today what I would like to see one day. 

 

[music] 

Gil Penalosa:  [04:29] Every time that I come to Guadalajara, and I come quite often for some kind of work, I come to this because you really get energised from riding with people, and there you get enough energy for a few months.   

[music]

Transcription Sponsored by: Transcript Divas Transcription Services

Clarence Eckerson, Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • Mike Gaughan

    Great Spirit!

  • Edpino

    Another great job. It is nice to see other places have what NYC should.
    Thanks

  • Kent Strumpell

    I love this quote from one of the riders:

    "You feel like you own the city for a little while."

    Beautiful.

  • Andy Salkeld

    A great film of a great global idea and movement ... Monthly rides here in Leicester attract 200+, are great fun and are helping to grow the cycling culture ... 'Facebook : Leicester Critical Mass' for photo's, film, news and views ... Go Guadalajara !!

  • Ian Dutton

    Way to go Guadalajara! In my visits to Latin America I'm often so disappointed at the lack of respect for the pedestrian - so much space is dedicated to cars, sidewalks often don't exist or are blocked by parked cars, drivers don't follow rules and don't seem to care. It's wonderful to see such a strong sense of returning streets to those who would use them for community, for safety and for the public!

  • Ben from Bed Stuy

    Buena honda montar en bicicleta con miles de amigos y amigas. Montar con sus vecinos es empezar construir una comunidad nueva para un mundo mejor.
    Felicidades, Clarence!

  • Tcrsfse

    Great video. San Diego's Urban Bike and Social group goes to Paseo de Todos in Tijuana to participate every first Friday of the month....

    There is a new ride that began in San Jose, California called Bike Party where 1800+ bicyclists participate that's very attractive to bicyclists of all ages. 

  • Death_Zapata

    Great ride! I loved being part of it, and I hope I attend to more Paseos. Thanks to the organizers!