Tuesday, 4 October 2011

I Bike MCR: Critical Mass

I started cycling (as an adult) 2 years ago after I visited Stockholm and fell in love with the Scandinavian lifestyle. Once I got home I retrieved my old purple Raleigh mountain bike from it’s dusty storage place and fixed it up with a new saddle. The bike is not anything spectacular but in the 13 years I’ve owned it it has never let me down, and has been especially resilient over the past 2 years. My purple Raleigh has gotten me from A to B, and saved me a fortune in bus fare, but as September started to get gloomy and I become fed-up with arriving to work soaking wet almost everyday, I decided to swop my Raleigh for a bus pass. Then just as September was ending the sun started to shine and my friend asked if I wanted to go to a cycling event with her called Critical Mass. ‘Critical Mass is a cycling event typically held on the last Friday of every month in over 300 cities around the world. The purpose of Critical Mass is not usually formalized beyond the direct action of meeting at a set location and time and travelling as a group through city or town streets on bikes.’

The atmosphere that Friday evening was vibrant, with around 60 cyclists attending the event. One organiser (I Bike MCR) was easily noticeable by the huge sound system attached to their bike (God knows how he managed to ride with it), which was playing music, adding to the Friday night party atmosphere. Critical Mass' rules are simple, if the traffic light is red you stop, if the traffic light is green you go, but if the traffic light changes while the group is cycling through than you carry on. As you can imagine we received lots of attention from passersby with around 60 cyclists ringing bells, and loud music blasting out from the sound system. The route went from the meeting point at central library through the Northern Quarter and then out of the centre towards Fallowfield where a venue was waiting to be filled by party ready bike lovers. I missed out on the party due to other arrangements but I am eager to attend the next one. Witnessing so many beautiful bikes with baskets and expensive brown leather saddles made me so envious, as much as I love my purple Raleigh I have always longed for a town bike with a basket and bell. This has resulted in the impulse buy of a Bianchi Spillo town bike with not only a bell but also curved bars, perfect for a basket, mudguards, stand, and a rear rack. I also have my eye on a few accessories so I can pimp my bike before the next Critical Mass.

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