Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

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Critical Mass

We ride together on the first Friday of the month at 6.30pm leaving from edge of Cathedral grounds behind Rackhams. All welcome. No elitism. The ride is at the speed of the slowest rider.

Location: Birmingham
Members: 74
Latest Activity: Nov 25, 2015

Discussion Forum

Member Numbers? Why so few? 12 Replies

Started by Surrinder Kumar. Last reply by Kim Jan 4, 2014.

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Comment by Kim on November 20, 2013 at 17:22

Heh, only just noticed that photo.

Comment by Georgia Stokes on November 20, 2013 at 14:03

Hi all, 

We're working in south Birmingham to get people on their bikes, usually for the first time, and to keep them cycling. We plan to have free bike hire for adult and children's bikes, maintenance workshops, group rides, and commuter trains. We want to bring existing projects, rides, enterprises together to help people get on their bikes.

We're through to the finals of People's Millions to win £50,000 to get started. We need votes on 26th November. If you can vote and share the group, Cycle South Brum - www.cyclesouthbrum.co.ukthat would be amazing.

Thank you.

Comment by Jane Baker on October 30, 2013 at 16:44

Critical Mass - Can you help Cycle South Brum develop community cycling activities in South Birmingham?

BIRMINGHAM CYCLE PROJECT THROUGH TO ITV’S PEOPLE’S MILLIONS FINAL - Please share and vote on Tues 26 November.

www.cyclesouthbrum.co.uk

Twitter: @CycleSouthBrum

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CycleSouthBrum

or 

http://northfieldecocentre.org/activities/cycling

Comment by Dave Kirkby on April 8, 2012 at 22:16

Jess: Once a week is too often and will spread the great numbers we get now over four weeks. Also, you then beginning to organise mass! There are plenty of opportunities for people to organise their own weekly rides which will suit them better.

Jess, Critical Mass is a mix of people who like/dislike certain proposals. I would like to be part of a weekly Critical Mass network, who would then merge into a larger monthly Critical Mass network. Does anybody have any contacts in their network would like to do a weekly organic ride, possibly finishing in Victoria Square (proposed guideline).

Toby: I attended two Critical Masses at the end of last year. I would say that if a couple of riders fancy blasting off the front for a bit of sprinting fun, fine, but the onus should be on them to wait for the rest of the group and the rest of the group and the slower riders should not feel any responsibility to pick up the pace to catch up.

Toby, I like your comments and have addressed them above. I'm from the stay together network, which is why I stayed at the back last week, with the slowest rider (Gemma, Aldo, and Dave). Digressing slightly, I'd like to create a weekly Critical Mass Walking event as well. Where people with walking/movement difficulties wouldn't be left behind. Personally, I would like to walk alongside wheelchair users as well, to find out if the city is designed in a disabled friendly manner. Start in Victoria Square... finish in Victoria Square, with no set route. End of digression ;-)

Toby: Red lights should be observed and stopped at. If I judge I can skip them while riding on my own, that is entirely up to me. But when cycling in a group, I prefer to be mindful of the safety of others.

Toby, I agree with what you've written here. Group dynamics add a different layer to the safety considerations usually assumed by individual/atomised riders.

Toby: My last Mass was the Xmas one. There was an incident after the group took all three lanes of Digbeth High St. It caused a huge amount of furore from cars that were held up. The mischief in me found observing this unfold amusing. I also felt that it was an unnecessary obstruction to the normal flow of traffic and cars should have been able to overtake in the right hand lane. The incident left me ambivalent about the Birmingham CM and unwilling to take my partner who is a novice cyclist who is taking tentative steps to riding on the road.

Toby, I agree with this as well. A possible guideline could be "ride in a way which maximises the flow of all traffic on the road" e.g. if there is more than one lane, leave at least one lane free for other traffic flow.

Anyone interested in a Critical Mass Walk? :-P We need to petition people first. Early days. Could be dead tomorrow :-P

Comment by Dave Kirkby on April 8, 2012 at 22:16

Midge: I think doing it weekly would probably bring C.M to the attention of the authorities who at the moment seem to tolerate the event, especially in the Summer with the large ~100+ turn outs.

Midge, for me, getting people together, as often as possible, it what life's all about. To counter the atomisation of society, as explained in "How To Start A Revolution", by Gene Sharp. I consider myself to be from the weekly Critical Mass network, and would like other weekly riders to voluntarily turn up. We would then merge into the Monthly Critical Mass network each month.

Richard: As it happens, I think once-a-week may be too frequent, and boredom may set in if the route, is similar each week.

Richard, as stated above, I would like to be part of a weekly Critical Mass network, merging with the monthly Critical Mass network each month. How about adding some guidelines to the event (not authoritarian rules), such as "Start in Pigeon Park", "Finish in Victoria Square", with the route each week being completely undefined and totally (99.9%) organic.

Jess: Ultimately though, Mass is down to each and every individual and no-one can tell anyone what to do, where to ride and when as it is not 'organised ' and the minute it is, it will lose it's essence.

Jess, as a keen anti-authoritarian anarchist, I understand the enjoyment factor of voluntary participation (I cannot stand people who manipulate others with smart diplomacy). I genuinely feel that the Critical Mass riders would benefit from a small set of simple guidelines. How you reach consensus on that is another matter.
For example, 50% of the group, could settle on a monthly Critical Mass event. 50% of the group, could settle on a weekly Critical Mass event. If this was the case, it would then make sense, for the group to split into 2 networks: weekly and monthly (with weekly merging with monthly each month). Taking on board Toby's comments, you could have 10% of the group wanting to time trial and race, with 90% of the group wanting to ride at the pace of the slowest rider i.e. riding alongside my ageing Mother in her zimmer recumbent http://tinyurl.com/839d7gw
You could use petitions to establish the network structure and possible overlaps.

Jess: What is bordering on needing to be tolerated is the dangerous behaviour of those who find it necessary to jump red lights when there's no need and purposely incite anger from car drivers just trying to get home on a major road out of town. Like I say to everyone, "If you want to be treated like traffic then act like it...".

Jess, personally speaking, when no police authorities are about, I always attempt jump red lights, in order to sustain flow, sometimes with a little risky danger to stimulate adrenaline and a sense of freedom. The traffic in Yogyakarta is 6 times more crazier than here http://www.travel-earth.com/indonesia/yogyakarta-malioboro.jpg
(you walk into the road, and the traffic flows around you), and there should be much more accidents than actually happen Group-wise, I like Toby's comments about being mindful of the safety of others (somebody could jump a red light which was safe for them, but dangerous to those in tow). This could be a proposed guideline, for people to say YES/NO/ABSTAIN to.

More...

Comment by Toby on April 8, 2012 at 18:37
I attended two CMs at the end of last year. I would say that if a couple of riders fancy blasting off the front for a bit of sprinting fun, fine, but the onus should be on them to wait for the rest of the group and the rest of the group and the slower riders should not feel any responsibillity to pick up the pace to catch up.

Red lights should be observed and stopped at. If I judge I can skip them while riding on my own, that is entirely up to me. But when cycling in a group, I prefer to be mindful of the safety of others.

My last Mass was the Xmas one. There was an incident after the group took all three lanes of Digbeth High St. It caused a huge amount of furore from cars that were held up. The mischief in me found observing this unfold amusing. I also felt that it was an unnecessary obstruction to the normal flow of traffic and cars should have been able to overtake in the right hand lane.

The incident left me ambivalent about the Birmingham CM and unwilling to take my partner who is a novice cyclist who is taking tentative steps to riding on the road.
Comment by Jess on April 8, 2012 at 17:36

Dave, I was the girl on the white bike with the polo mallets sticking out my bag. I was trying to keep the group together at several points but it was difficult due to a few individuals who thought we were doing a time trial... Ultimately though, Mass is down to each and every individual and no-one can tell anyone what to do, where to ride and when as it is not 'organised ' and the minute it is, it will lose it's essence. It is up to each cyclist to be considerate of other road users, whether they be other cyclists struggling to keep up or cars trying to get by on a three lane road. 

As for 'toleration', Mass is simply a group of cyclists on a ride around the city. Last time I checked there is nothing illegal about that? We are simply asserting what is our right. What is bordering on needing to be tolerated is the dangerous behaviour of those who find it necessary to jump red lights when there's no need and purposely incite anger from car drivers just trying to get home on a major road out of town. Like I say to everyone, "If you want to be treated like traffic then act like it..." 

Once a week is too often and will spread the great numbers we get now over four weeks. Also, you then beginning to organise mass! There are plenty of opportunities for people to organise their own weekly rides which will suit them better...

Comment by Richard Smith on April 8, 2012 at 13:31

No-one is in a poistion to "tolerate" cyclists riding their bikes - any more than pedestrians "tolerate" car drivers.

As it happens, I think once-a-week may be too frequent and boredom may set in if the route is the sameish every week.

However I honestly think that 500 cyclists is an achievable turnout in the summer months. When you consider how few people know of its' existence in relation to the thousands of people who own and use a bike, it surely has scope to grow.

Comment by Midge D on April 8, 2012 at 10:45

Re: #4: I think doing it weekly would probably bring C.M to the attention of the authorities who at the moment seem to tolerate the event, especially in the Summer with the large ~100+ turn outs.

Comment by Dave Kirkby on April 7, 2012 at 0:38

Critical Mass is listed on the Birmingham Shared Calendar http://www.tinyurl.com/c9c5yp8

If you'd like to add events to the calendar, email dave.kirkby1975@gmail.com

 

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