Monday Action: On yer bike, its Critical Mass time!

Monday, 26th March 2007 at 9:00 UTC 1 comment

See also the Monday Action page.

Its the time of the month when Critical Mass is upon us, and as the clocks changed yesterday, nows the best time to start taking part. What’s Critical Mass?

Critical Mass happens monthly in many cities around the world, when a group of people on bikes ride together through city streets highlighting the joys and worries of cycling, both as a leisure activity, a method of getting around and a way of combating Climate Change. Most rides lack a set route (though Leeds does) so whoever is at the front decides the direction at each traffic lights.

In Britain, its entirely legal to ride as a big bunch of people covering all lanes in the correct direction. The Police often incorrectly cite the highway code, which actually states that cyclists are allowed to cycle in the middle of a lane to prevent someone overtaking them if they feel under threat. You should, however, ensure that you have the right reflectors (even in summer) and lights, and that your brakes work properly.

Where and when?

Many rides, including the original in San Francisco, take place on the last friday of each month, which means this Friday coming (30th March). Here’s a list of places you can ride this Friday:

  • Leeds: Millennium Square from 5:30, leaves about 6pm.
  • Manchester: Central Library from 5:30, leaves about 6pm.
  • London: South Bank, by the National Theatre (Waterloo) from 6pm, leaves at 7pm.

York folks have to wait an extra week, though we gain the advantage of a ride on Good Friday, when more people should have more time on their hands. Meet at the Minster from 5:30pm to leave at 6pm.

No Mass in your city?

Unless that city is Bradford, in which case you can get the train to Leeds (17:02 from Forster Square is best), its probably time to start a ride. First, you need the when/where. Think of your town centre: basically you want the place everyone knows about that’s near where most people work and has space for a few dozen cyclists to hang around waiting. The “meet from 5:30, we’ll leave at 6-sharp” mantra works well for most so try it (London started on this one ten years ago). If there’s a ride in a near-ish town/city already, pick a different Friday, but generally stick to first or last of the month.

Publicity tends to work best in 3 ways: word of mouth is number one, emailing established groups (try environmentalist and cycling groups) probably second, with fliering of bikes third. For bike fliers see the previous designs that I’ve created for York, which you are more than welcome to rip off. The ‘slips’ designs are meant to be attached to bikes by folding them around the handlebars and stapling together (not to the bikes!).


Entry filed under: Environment, Free Space, Monday Action, Participation, York.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. becca  |  Friday, 30th November 2007 at 20:37 UTC


    I was searching for “Leeds Critical Mass” and your blog was one of the top links which had post-2005 info. So I’m just wondering if the critical mass still runs in Leeds, as I’m new to the city.



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