Think of the sea breeze whipping through your hair, the saltiness of the sea on your lips and the adrenaline of riding a bike through all of that. Would you think of Karachi? For those who wouldn't, let me open your eyes to the world of Critical Mass.
Karachi's Critical Mass is made up of a group of enthusiastic recreational cyclists who have set out a cycling movement on the streets of Karachi. The group meets at a set location and time (usually around 7am on Sunday mornings at the Salt and Pepper Village at Sea View), to pedal through set routes.
The ride could range from anywhere between five to 80km. There are many different groups of people who come together: children, adults, grand parents, babies on baby bike seats; all with the common goal of wanting to spend time outdoors, enjoying the ride and view of Karachi.
This Thursday, May 1st, was a special day for Critical Mass. Instead of their usual ride, they had a ride against cancer for the Children's Cancer Hospital. In an attempt to create awareness for the treatment of children from underprivileged families suffering from cancer, participants joined the ride and donated generously for the cause either by pledging an amount or buying t-shirts.
As one of the participants, I was fortunate to be in the company of the good people at Critical Masses. When I arrived, I found many spare bicycles provided for new comers at the start of the race and many people who were stationed to help adjust seats and provide water for all the participants. The ride itself was very liberating because it gave me an opportunity to be mobile and free in an environment that I have been conditioned into believing as 'unsafe'.
I was glad to be part of the experience and heartened by this new means of recreation that was aimed to help those in need – what a virtuous cycle indeed.
These are a selection of photos from the ride.