AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin cycling group will celebrate its one-year anniversary of trying to make city roads safer and more accessible for all kinds of mobility.

Critical Mass is a group ride that takes place in cities around the world. It was initially founded by Chris Carlsson and a group of cyclists in San Francisco in 1992. Austin had a Critical Mass group in the 90s and early 2000s before it waned. In summer 2021, co-organizers Raquel Ortega and Nona Allen revitalized the group with an emphasis on “all wheels are welcome.”

On Friday, the group will celebrate its one-year reboot with an 8-mile ride and roller disco, starting at 7:30 p.m. at 15 Chicon Street. Ortega told KXAN Tuesday they want to make Austin a safer city for all transit users by supporting safer bike infrastructure and an all ages and abilities network.

“[The future of Austin mobility] looks like people getting around on every possible type of device that you can imagine,” Ortega said. “And not just thinking about bike lanes, but alternative lanes that can be used by any type of transportation — be a skateboard, quad skates, inline skates, electric unicycle, electric skateboard.”

Currently, Austin’s All Ages and Abilities Bicycle Network has 215 miles of connected bikeways, nearing a 2025 target of more than 400 miles built out.

As part of Critical Mass Austin’s advocacy efforts, the group has partnered with local nonprofit organizations to help make cycling, skating and other forms of mobility more accessible in and beyond Austin. Carlsson will be present for Friday’s ride alongside the following nonprofit partners:

  • Austin Yellow Bike: 25-year-old community bike shop where customers can go to pick up donated parts and learn bike mechanical skills
  • Ghisallo Cycling Initiative: Bike training and education plus lower cost-entry points for bike access
  • Great Springs Project: Effort to create a greenway of protected land between Austin and San Antonio to address environmental protection and conservation
  • Red Line Parkway Initiative: 32-mile hike-and-bike trail connecting downtown Austin to Leander
  • Safe Streets Austin: Organization aimed at restoring Austin streets, bikeways and trails to create equitable spaces

“If we continue to work to have more accessible, equitable lanes, then more people can get around more efficiently and it reduces congestion on the roads,” Ortega said. “And it also just makes it safer for everyone, no matter what device they’re on or in.”

More information on Friday’s event, including rider safety rules and giveaway prizes, is available on Critical Mass Austin’s Facebook and Instagram.