Due to work commitments, I missed out on a big monthly bike event this evening. Critical Mass is a global (un-)organised gathering of bike riders that takes place every last Friday of the month.
The intention is to share the joy of cycling with everyone else in your city. The group acts as if it was one vehicle, swooping through the city in a direction set by whomever is at the front of the ride.
The Manchester Critical Mass tends to start from outside the iconic Central Library on a Friday evening at 6. Half an hour later, the gathered riders of up to a hundred or so set off on a route around the city centre (and often Salford/South Manchester) for the next hour. Thereafter, the participants decamp to a bike-friendly pub for beer and chat.
It’s quite a sight when the ride is in motion, especially when there’s lots of people out – usually when the weather’s nice. In the winter, riders often light up their bikes with all kinds of pretty arrangements. One of my first Instagram photos features a rider at Critical Mass in December 2010.
Critical Mass is intended to be a fun, safe and family-friendly activity. I’ve often seen families out on the ride with children on bike seats, trailers, tag-alongs or their own bikes. The established cycling fraternity are also out in force, including couriers, fixie skidders and activists from groups like GMCC and GM Love Your Bike. It’s a great place to meet other people into cycling and have fun taking in the city as one big group.
Mike of Mad Cycle Lanes usually attends too, bearing a sound system. Check out his photos below.
Maybe I’ll see you all there next month?