Saturday 28 September 2013

Sensational September Critical Mass

After the slightly somber, yet uplifting mood of August's ride, this month was well back into the party spirit. Around 280 people took to the streets with at least 4 decent sound systems. There were lots of new faces and some people returning to the ride after many years away...

However, as with any Critical Mass with lots of new people it can be a bit of a bumpy start. The first was the right turn off Portland street into Sackville Street directing the mass straight for the narrow bike contraflow. Dipak got there just in time to block the way and divert the ride left along Bloom Street and into Chorlton Street. The look on his face was wonderful :)

After a big debate about direction, the ride turned right and swept along Whitworth Street.

The light was fading rapidly with the setting sun, but giving a beautiful sunset.

And the party came to life as we crossed Oxford Road

helped by the amassing views of the city at dusk.

The ride almost lost its way again at the next junction,

but finally turned into Deansgate and rode it in full party spirit. Even the people stuck in the traffic jams were waving and hooting horns in support.

The ride then started to head south down Princes street

and I left the ride as it crossed Portland Street, heading for Platts Fields Park.

The ride was hard work for those plugging side roads and shepherding the ride, and there was a bit of silly behaviour later on. Manchester Critical Mass is successful because it keeps moving, is well behaved, communicates well with drivers and is very fluffy. It also works best when everyone looks out for everyone else. Next month is the Halloween ride, traditionally the biggest of the year, bring lights, costumes, a party mood and a great attitude.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Protest to Survive - join Space4Cycling

Next Monday, 30th September, will see the first mass protest ride organised by Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign in all the time I have been in Manchester.

The ride is a follow-up from the massive Space4Cycling ride organised by London Cycling Campaign where, on the 2nd September, "for the first time in its thousand-year history, the Palace of Westminster was entirely surrounded by protestors on bicycles."

photo from LCC web site

Space4Cycling is fast becoming a national protest movement pushing the case for better conditions on our roads for people who walk and cycle, taking road space away from motorvehicles to prioritise benign transport.

The ride will meeting in St Peter’s Square, in the centre of Manchester, from 6pm and the ride will set off at 6.30pm. There will be plenty of space as Mosley St is closed to motor vehicles during the conference.

Map from GMCC

We need massive numbers out on this demonstration to send the message to local, regional and national government to stop wasting money on building roads and start relocating space for cycling. This is your chance to make an impact, bring bikes, trikes, quads, sound systems lights and a party mood. I will be there with the Brox sound system.

There are more details on the GMCC web site.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Cycling and Chocolate Coffee Morning

Nina McArthur is organising a female friendly 'Cycle with a Smile Divine Chocolate Coffee Morning' on Saturday 19th October 10am-12.30pm at Popup Bikes in Manchester.

The target audience is women who are tempted to start cycling but know how, regular cyclists/those who enjoy being part of the social cycling atmosphere, coffee & chocolate/lovers, coffee shop regulars. Basically, anyone who wants to see more of Manchester on two wheels really and meet like-minded people over good quality coffee and chocolate/cake!

Come down with family & friends for a lovely morning of coffee, chocolate & to find out how you can learn to love riding a bike.

Thursday 19 September 2013

More blocked cycle parking

The issue of crap advertising bikes in Manchester is becoming an increasing problem...

Photo by Jeff Rungle

These shitty bike trailers, mostly advertising cheap alcohol in a fairly tasteless manner are turning up all over the place.

They usually block two cycle parking spaces at once, with chains attached to both racks

and they are often weighted down at the front with plastic canisters of water.

This company are acting as parasites, running an advertising company on the cheap by using cycle parking places which have been provided by the councils. Whilst I usually support bike-based businesses, this lot are a big exception. They even see nothing wrong in blocking cycle parking and cycle tracks.

It may also be against the provision of the Highways Act 1980, section 115E.

Sunday 8 September 2013

GMCC News 3 - Autumn 2013

This is the third GMCC newsletter I have put together, and the content is definitely getting better with a wider range of writers and photographers and lots going on in Greater Manchester to write about. Unfortunately, at the moment, it isn't getting any easier and I could do with some help with the diary section in particular *.

This is a packed newsletter, the last 3 months have been very busy, and I ended up dropping some content to avoid going up to 16 pages.

There are several contributions by new writers and photographers, a couple of community projects, two bike arts pieces, and three different views of the Velocity 2025 money and what it means for Manchester.

If you like this newsletter, then join GMCC - it's currently free for the first year, so there is no reason not to and you can receive a full resolution copy of the newsletter in the post.

Update: * Love Your Bike have just started a new Greater Manchester Cycling Events Calendar which will sort out most of the problems I have been having getting this information out of the GMCC web site.

Saturday 7 September 2013

Taking Our Parking Plaices

I know not everyone likes advertising bikes, but I'm usually a fan. Nicely done advertising bikes, like the ones I saw in Bath, add to the feeling of a cycling culture in the city.

However, the ad-bikes in the centre of Manchester have gone rapidly downhill over the past few months. There are at least 5 of these crudely made advertising bikes promoting a chippy.

There are 4 of them cluttering up bike stands in Cross Street, in various states.

And another one in Market street.

All a bit rubbish really, especially as these are heavilly used bike racks.

There are also some really crappy bike trailers, but I'll leave those for another post.