Critical Mass Art

Posted by chdot on February 22, 2007

Critical Mass glasgow handbill feb 07
Glasgow’s Critical Mass handbill Feb 07.

It’s nearly that time of the month again (last Friday), when Critical Mass takes to the streets of cities around the world. Usually billed as a ‘celebration of cycling’, there are still those (including many keen cyclists) who regard it as a ‘motorist annoying annoyance’.

People involved in the Glasgow CM have consciously tried to emphasis the fun element encouraging dressing up and circus style activities. They also produce quirky, eye catching posters. This has long been part of the process in America. If you happen to be reading this in Chicago make sure you visit the Mercury Cafe for the annual Critical Mass Art Show 2007 (now in its 10th year). Art is also a key element in the New York CM.

Perhaps Glasgow and/or Edinburgh will do the same one day. Both Scottish cities have their own Critical Masses (Edinburgh Foot of the Mound, Glasgow George Square), and there are rumours of a new one starting in Perth next month. March could see a significant rise in numbers as rides will take place in daylight for the first time this year.

6 Responses to “Critical Mass Art”

  1. Matchstickwarrior said

    Critical Mass has literally just happened in Edinburgh.
    You can find my pics of the assembly on the Flickr group, and I dare say others will add theirs.
    There was one down point as we were brought to a halt by no less than 4 motorcycle police officers.
    This issue regarded lighting.
    Talk rebounded around the group as to the cause of this which seemed to be that some members of the group did not have a complete set of lights, or in some cases none at all. This resulted in a £30 fine for one poor soul.
    There was also talk regarding the issue of flashing lights on cycles and everyone quickly changed their lights to a steady beam.
    Up until 2 years ago, any worrying could well have been justified, however, since 2005 flashing lights are completely legal on cycles.
    Therefore, to put aside any doubts, here is the link to the relevant Department Of Transport webpage:

    Along with the lighting regulations from the Road Traffic Act 1989 and its 2005 amendment: (Sections 12 and 13)

    And a link to the Audax site which is a bit easier to understand:

    Print them out and give them to any police officer who stops you for having “illegal” flashing lights.

    And make sure you have lights after dark: £12.99 at Halfords for a cheap-as-chips British Standard set!!!!


  2. Tyre Lever said

    It was excellent to see so many cyclist turn out for this months Critical Mass.
    However, I do feel the Mass would be more enjoyable and effective if the pace was quicker. Cycling at little more than walking pace fails to convey the practicality of the bicycle as a means of urban transport and I found the atmosphere a bit lack lustre. Upping the pace would mean we’d generate momentum and energy (both literally and emotionally!)- as well as take the message to more people (and keep warm!). The point after all is that we aren’t blocking traffic – We Are Traffic!

    I’m not talking about riding like maniacs – I agree we have to stick together and keep safe. But a faster pace gives a positive, happy, energised vibe.
    If you were on the ride -what do you think?

  3. Alex said

    Nice to see that a couple of people could use the Thanks for waiting cards, and great to see it in action on flikr. A PDF of Thanks for waiting can be downloaded from here (44kB)

  4. Tyre Lever: I was at the critical mass yesterday for the first time. I felt that the pace was very slow, and it was more of a demonstration than a bike ride. I simply struggle to cycle at 5 mph. It is much easier to cycle at 15-20 mph, which I’m sure everyone would be able to keep up with. It would also encourage more people to join in. Along the route there were a few folk who did join in for a bit, but disappeared as they didn’t like the slow pace.

  5. chdot said

    there is now the concept of Critical Manners –

  6. Lorna said

    Far too slow…I would cycle everywhere if it weren’t for the dangers (and my job). I regularly ask my local councillor (in Glasgow) about why cycle lanes are so few, and cars being parked in them etc
    When you are stuck in a car behind people who are laughing at you as you become later and later, it isn’t a gathering or just a bike ride. It is a protest to people who can actually do nothing about the roads. Yes, safety in numbers is good, but descent cycle lanes are just that bit more practical. Would it not be more productive to lobby councils for far better cycle provisions, rather than create higher emissions from cars, buses etc from many gear changes and inconsistent speeds?
    Or just cycle normally and at least the flow would be constant…..

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