Happiness is a Critical Mass — Adventures in Happiness

For those that have ridden a Critical Mass I just don’t need to explain. For those that haven’t I can’t fully explain. I simply love it. Call it a celebration of cycling, call it a rolling street party, a reclaiming of the streets, peaceful assertiveness, a ride for solidarity, a community; Critical Mass is all of these things and more, a ride like no other.

via Happiness is a Critical Mass — Adventures in Happiness

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Let’s Mass – and other fun bike stuff

This months ride 29th April

Yes it’s the middle of the month and the Mass is in sight – 29th April. It’ll be our first fully light ride of the year so definitely one to catch. We’ll be meeting from 6.30pm in the Mid-Meadows Walk to leave at 7pm. It’s the usual drill – a fun, friendly ride where everyone is welcome, and the more the merrier/messier/massier.

Meadows meet

We’ll meet here at Mid-Meadow Walk at 6.30pm for chats and giggles and then we leave around 7pm for a fun cycle around the streets of our city

But before then…

A lot will be said for cycling this month with the annual Pedal on Parliament. PoP is taking place on the 23rd April this year. Critical Mass will be there with a sound-system or two and hopefully we’ll be convincing a few cyclists that we need to get out on the streets en masse more than just once a year. Hopefully we’ll get a few to join us the following week for our own ride (for once PoP is the week before our ride rather than just after it). We’re going to meet at 11.30am at the Pavillion cafe so we can join the ride together. Facebook details here

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Their is always a strong Critical Mass presence at PoP – we wouldn’t mind a little reciprocation (imagine a 1000+ strong force taking control of Edinburgh’s streets every month – I went to London Mass last month and if it can be done there then why not here…)

And after…

Right after the Critical Mass ride we’re probably going to hang out somewhere social together – have a drink, talk, and stuff like that…we’re in the process of arranging a film to watch at ACE. More details will follow on that. We’re a fun community so it’s not uncommon for us to meet up in the middle of the month for a few drinks…watch out May…

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Don’t Miss March Mass

This Friday we will be riding. We’re still working with our new meet time and place which seemed to work out well last month – 6.30pm to leave at 7pm at Mid Meadow Walk. The only thing for you to do is join us and bring as many cycling friends as you can. All welcome. Simple.

If you want to know more about what the ride is about before joining us then check out the Frequently Asked Questions page.

After the ride we will probably go for a drink somewhere -one proposal is to go to the SHRUB and celebrate their 3rd anniversary.

Flags and sound-systems were out

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February’s Mass may have been cold but we were on fire

What a fun mass last Friday. This month we trialed a new time and new place to start our monthly ride. And it seemed to work. At 6.30pm, at one of Edinburgh’s busiest cycling junctions (Mid-Meadow Walk), there was already a decent number of cyclists gathering and chatting with one another and with a sound-system arriving not long after there was a nice energy bubbling away.

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We hoped that a later meeting time would not only mean people wouldn’t have to rush to make the ride but also so that our ride didn’t start in the thick of the peak time traffic. We want our ride to be as peaceful as possible and to attract a decent size mass so that we can ride safely with one another. Sometimes change is necessary and sometimes once it’s changed you ask yourself why didn’t we change this before. It felt a bit like that as the ride in February (yes cold February) had about 25-30 cyclists and with a fun-loving energy connections were created and cemented between us all. It felt good and this was transmitted to the streets around us with loads of fun and positive responses from those around us – whether the onlookers were pedestrians or those in cars we could see they all wished they had bikes🙂.

We rode for about 8 miles (GPS route here) mostly around the centre of Edinburgh, although going across Dean Bridge was a rare highlight, and ended up with a bit of food and drink at The Forest Cafe. It wasn’t about the speed it was all about the community and we think that is building. Catch us on the next ride on March 25th.

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Critical Mass Edinburgh Overhaul – NEW TIME, NEW PLACE

Critical Mass in Edinburgh has been going for many years now and in that time we’ve waxed and waned – hardened and softened – yet still bringing joy to those that have ridden with it. We’re still here and we sense a period of waxing is upon us…it’s 2016 and still our cities are dominated by cars. Cyclists – let’s get out on the streets at the same time.

A few of us got together the other week and decided to change things a little. From now on Critical Mass Edinburgh is meeting at 6.30pm at Mid-Meadows Walk to leave at 7pm. Mid-Meadows Walk has an amazing amount of cycling energy and it’s a perfect place for any bike journey to begin and the later time allows people more time after work to come and join us.

More about the mass can be found on our FAQ – we’re a friendly group of cyclists and everyone is always going to be welcome. See you then!

Meadows meet

Here’s where we will be from 6.30pm last Friday of the month

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A spooky mass, anyone?

Next mass is on Friday 30th October. Let’s make it a spooky one with creepy costumes, pumpkin laden bikes, painted faces…whatever works for you!!!

hideous bunch
Afterwards we’ll head to ACE to watch a film. Current proposals are for something with a halloween theme. Suggestions welcome.

When and where? Friday 30th October 2014 5.30pm outside the Scottish National Gallery on The Mound to leave just after 6pm (for those that miss us at 6pm there will be a 2ND MEET POINT AT MEADOWS PARK AT 7PM – bottom of the Quartermile, in the middle of Middle Meadow Walk). Probably they’ll be some face paints about.

Who? All types of cyclists. Everyone to feel included. Spookier the better…

What? Cyclists taking to the streets en masse.

Why? Because we want to be visible on the roads and feel safe. Plus when else to we get to get dressed up on our bikes. Check out our FAQs (https://edinburghcriticalmass.wordpress.com/faqs/) for more about what Critical Mass means and how and why we ride how we do…

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Get on your bike and ride with us

It’s the middle of July and the last Friday of the month is fast approaching. And that means just one thing for anyone who loves cycling. Critical MassYeaaaaaaaah.

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In cities up and down the country, and across the world too, cyclists will come together on to ride in solidarity. We aim to make cycling more visibly and illustrate that bikes are an important component of a modern city. Our streets need to be shared.

In Edinburgh we are regularly getting at least 30 cyclists joining together (even in the rain or cold weather, which unfortunately seems to have coincided with the last couple of rides). But we should have more. We could have more. There is energy for it.

Flags and sound-systems were outFor many of the regular riders the dates of the next rides are in the diary well ahead of time but for many others it just depends on whether we can share the information wide enough to draw in the numbers. But this takes energy and timing, and a bit of luck too, but it is worth it when it all comes together. There is nothing like being part of a huge mass of cyclists riding down the Royal Mile or up Princes street. And with a sound-system or two in tow there is no better place to be.

And so the date of the next ride is Friday the 31st July.

Come and join us, you won’t be alone.

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We meet on the Mound from 5.30pm

As usual we will meet at 5.30pm on the Mound outside the Scottish National Gallery. There we always have time for chat – a catch up, getting to know one other…sometimes we paint our faces too…all very essential for building a fun-loving community! Then we set off a little after 6pm to ride around Edinburgh in a peaceful yet assertive way.

Meadows meet

And pass through the Meadows for 7pm

We pass through the Meadows at 7pm so join us then if 5.30/6pm is too early for you and we’ll then ride some more. Who knows where the road will take us and who knows what will happen – but riding in the mass we can be sure we will are visible, feel safe, and have great fun. Please share details of our ride and/or sign up to the event on facebook. See you there…

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Calling ALL cyclists – this Friday you’ve got to be Critical

11178328_10153247185114269_7057436405244833238_nOur monthly celebration of cycling is almost upon us again. Critical Mass is about getting together as cyclists and making cycling both visible, safe and fun. So let’s join together this Friday and assert ourselves on the streets to highlight that cycling is a necessary part of any modern city.

Round and round the naked cyclists go

Round and round the naked cyclists go

It was only two weeks ago that many of us who cycle with Critical Mass got out on our bikes for Edinburgh’s World Naked Bike Ride to protest against the dominance of car culture on our roads and highlight the vulnerability of cyclists on the road (whether they are wearing clothes or not). Not only did the naked cyclists have a great time but by demonstrating our cause in this way we brought attention to the issues.

And this is why Critical Mass gets out on the streets the way it does.

At Pedal on Parlaiment - We need to get 100s if not 1000s on the streets regularly if we want to be visible

We love Pedal on Parliament  but surely we need to get 100s if not 1000s on the streets together regularly if we want to be truly visible

Group cycling is a beautiful thing and it shows people that there is a solid biking community that wants better facilities for cycling. Whilst the annual Pedal on Parliament is integral to raising awareness to issues around poor cycling infrastructure and lack of awareness of the needs of cyclists around Scotland we also have to couple this with regular demonstrations of bicycle power. And sometimes it is important to do that in a bold way and in line with the international movement that is Critical Mass.

Cyclists in cities throughout the world will be out, as usual, on the streets this Friday. Critical Mass can differs hugely by city and often depends on the history of Critical Mass in that city or the people that are involved in it at the time. However, there are key uniting themes – the non-hierarchically orgainsed structure of the ride, the ride is free and open to everyone on a human powered vehicle, it is not a race, and we do our best to enjoy ourselves (some FAQs here).

Flags and sound-systems were outAnd so we welcome you to come and join us this Friday. As usual we will meet at 5.30pm on the Mound outside the Scottish National Gallery. There we chat, catch up, get to know one other…maybe paint our faces too…all very essential for building a fun-loving community! Then we set off at about 6pm to ride around Edinburgh in a peaceful yet assertive way – riding in a mass with good music and illustrating that we too are traffic and celebrating the beauty of one of humankind’s greatest sustainable inventions.

We pass through the Meadows at 7pm so join us then if 5.30/6pm is too early for you and we’ll then ride some more. Who knows where the road will take us and who knows what will happen – but riding in the mass we can be sure we will are visible, feel safe, and have great fun. Please share details of our ride and/or sign up to the event on facebook. See you there…

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Semi-naked super-bike-stars of Edinburgh

Organised and led by many of us at Critical Mass – it was a really fun ride. Check out the blog post about the day…

World Naked Bike Ride, Edinburgh

Wow, what a thrill – incredible.

Well we all knew there was a chance we’d get the badge for the coldest World Naked Bike Ride event this but with all the glorious weather in the week leading up to Edinburgh’s ride on Saturday we were almost fooled to think the weather was going to be with us.

Well, at least it didn’t rain.

Getting the message across Getting the message across

But there was quite a chill in the air and the die hard among us did not get phased. The message about the ride – to protest against car culture and highlight the vulnerability of cyclists on the road – had been spread far and wide and 100s if not 1000s of people certainly knew about it but we did wonder if anyone would turn up on what would be deemed a cold winters day in some countries. But no this is June and…

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Summer time masses – let’s make the most of them

The weather may have been all over the place last week but it was certainly on our side for Critical Mass last Friday. Since Critical Mass is very much on the side of the environment this only seems fair. Thank you to the weather gods!

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Pre-ride face painting is fast becoming a fun part of our Critical Mass…

And when the sun is out we surely should be making the most of it. Cycling the Mass in the sun can be so much fun – there is a certain relaxed freedom and joviality that many of us struggle to find cycling in a city – and so in spite of the fun we did have I did find myself asking where everybody was this month?

Where were you?

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We did have a healthy crowd of about 30 cyclists, which is awesome, as it means I get a chance to speak to pretty much everybody. But surely there are more than 30 cyclists in Edinburgh who are not satisfied with the state of the cycling infrastructure.

At Pedal on Parlaiment - We need to get 100s if not 1000s on the streets regularly if we want to be visible

Pedal on Parlaiment – We need to get 100s if not 1000s on the streets regularly 

In May last year we saw about 70 riders and that was great fun. And in april this year there were literally 1000s of us out on our bikes on a sunny day for the annual Pedal on Parliament.

But is turning up announced at Parliament once a year going to enough to make our roads more cycle friendly?

Personally I don’t think so.

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We need to get together more often, throughout the year, in all conditions, and also turn up unannounced when there aren’t cameras and people don’t have prepared speeches. And that is what Critical Mass is about – a non-hierarchically organiased ride where everyone has a voice, everyone is welcome, and we pedal about wherever we please asserting ourselves peacefully (see our FAQs for more).

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And many people did honk us in support – we bring fun and our energy is positive

Last Friday’s ride took us all over our beloved city – through quiet streets, through busy streets, through famous streets, and although we inevitably pissed a few people off (simply because we’re cyclists and not because of the way we ride), we got a lot of love, as ever, from motorists and pedestraians (here is a wee video). At the end of the day we are a peaceful protest and people feel that and are generally very supportive.

So why don’t you join us next time – 26th June is our next ride. We do this every month – every ride is different – different streets, different faces, and different sounds.

Pssssssst…don’t forget  that on the 13th June there is a World Naked Bike Ride right here in Edinburgh too…many of the Massers will be out for that…

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