Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Critical Mass meets the St Paul's Occupy protest

One less car - Norwich
Last Friday, the last Friday in the month, saw the regular Critical Mass ride visit the tent city at St Paul's not just once but twice, heading straight there and then returning via a long loop. Like Occupy, the Critical Mass protests are more about highlighting issues than about proposing concrete solutions, and have a similar leaderless democratic structure - no membership and no agenda, you just turn up and take part. Which is not to say those taking part are not serious about protesting against the way cars and lorries endanger everyone else using the roads.

Londoners probably don't realise they are not the only place where Critical Mass rides take place. There are at least 24 other UK cities that have Critical Mass events. As it happens I was in Norwich that Friday, sitting on the steps at the Forum in the city centre when cyclists began to assemble there wearing various kinds of fancy dress. I didn't realise what they were doing until our park-and-ride bus out to the airport slowed to a walking pace as this same group took the ring-road out of town, occupying the whole width of the road. A modest group of just sixteen riders is hardly a critical mass, but it's a start.

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