Glasgow Critical Mass is reborn!

Critical Mass graphic 131.01.05

Last Friday as the sky over Glasgow turned from orange to blue-black, around 20 cyclists, relative novices to single-speeding dispatch riders, gathered around George Square for the first in what's hoped to become a regular Critical Mass event in the city.

After hanging around the bakery for quarter of an hour, chatting and pumping up tyres under the watchful eyes of 4 bike cops and a van of their colleagues round the corner (“to protect you from cars�; call Anderston station to enquire whether this service will be extended to your regular cycle commute), one rider sprinted off up St Vincent Street, starting the half-hour ride.
The mass headed up St Vincent St then right up Hope St, left up the hill at Bath Street, down to Charing X, right after the M8 and crossed Sauchiehall St before forking left to end at the Halt Bar on Woodlands Road.

At least that's what the front of the mass did. The slower, less experienced riders had been left behind by the faster and some were forced to stop after official warnings and other harassment from the police. One reported being ordered to switch lanes by an officer who then closed down the space in front of her, another was warned for inadequate lighting.

In contrast, the more confident, less obviously intimidatable riders at the front were getting Good Cop from the other two polis, who had struggled to keep up with them during the ride. Their evident difficulty hadn't stopped them entering into the spirit of the event though, twice running red lights on Bath Street in an attempt to keep the ride together.

All in all, it probably wasn't a classic Critical Mass event. We failed to make best use of our numbers and didn't look after the “weaker� riders. There wasn't a point where the bikers were together as a Mass, so it felt quite similar to a normal ride round the city centre but with more company. And no-one had come up with a suggested route leaflet, which was sort of frustrating.

However! We were noticed, it was a good number of us for the short notice, it was a lovely night, lessons were learned and now that the time is set as Last Friday, 5:30 at George Square, who knows what'll happen in February?