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Cambridge Critical Massed

A! | 24.07.2005 23:46 | Free Spaces | Cambridge

The first Cambridge Critical Mass for a while and about thirty people, twenty nine bikes and a unicycle gather on Midsummer Common on a slightly gray and wet Saturday afternoon. While the mass gathers balloons are inflated, flags attached to bikes and Respect newspapers ignored.

Set off
Set off

Happy roundabout
Happy roundabout

Bike limbo
Bike limbo


Coffee cop
Coffee cop

The mass set off around 1.30pm and took a nice slow, car-holding-up, pace from Midsummer Common towards Elizabeth Way roundabout. A healthy tailback of cars soon forms behind the group but it's all very peaceful and no car horns are heard for a while.

Twice round the roundabout and bike based confusion starts to bring some of the streets to a standstill, off up East Road and we're heading back into town. Although there's no mobile sound system a nice atmosphere is with the group, bike limbo under the balloon string taking place.

A quick left up Mill Road and a few passing cyclists join the mass for a while, others leave, but the mass holds and the cars are pilling up behind us. Then a turn down Tenison Road and some taxi drivers make their thoughts heard as they manage to cut past on the right of the group. One gets stuck in the middle of the mass and then an unfortunate incident, one of the mass is knocked from her bike at the Junction by the taxi. It gets a little heated as the taxi driver jumps out of his car to confront the group. It takes a while for the situation to calm down and the streets really are jammed solid for the duration.

Then we're off again, down from the station towards Hills Road, a right and spirits start to rise again after the 'taxi incident'. The numbers have dropped a little as a few people have left the mass, it seems the pull of shops was just too much for some.

A right again and it seems the mass is drawn towards East Road, making it all the way to Elizabeth Way roundabout before a police car manages to fight it's way through the traffic jams to stop beside us. Out jumps a cop who seems to have drunk a little too much coffee that morning... "Section 25!", "Obstructing the highway!" is shouted at us with a voice that makes me think of the film Withnail & I.

Some of the mass try to explain we're just out on a bike ride but he seems keen to try a break up the group. Whilst standing in the middle of the road he explains how we're blocking the roads and that he'll arrest us all if need be. At one point his colleague has to try and calm him down a little as he grabs one of our bikes (whilst the rider is still on it).

The a decision to head back to the Common for a debrief and the 'calm cop' is almost converted to 'our side' when there's talk of beer, he asks for a flag.

Back at the Common and there's general agreement that it was a fun afternoon on the roads and something we're all keen on trying again. There's talk of more flags, a sound-system, a big Critical Mass banner and lots more shouting / flyering about the event for the next one.

From now on their seems to be agreement on the last Friday of every month, 6pm, meet beneath the Elizabeth Way Bridge... Bring your own non-polluting transport.

Toot Toot!



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Nice one

25.07.2005 11:31

Well done for getting this idea going again in these parts...surely if any city should be having a regular Critical Mass, it's Cambridge, sometimes called the "Cycle City".

See you on the next one :-)