The Rebirth of Bristol Critical Mass and our Death of the Urban 4×4 Party

Last Friday saw a resurgence in Bristol Critical Mass, where dozens of Bristolians held a spirited cyclefest, leaving from the Arnolfini art gallery and bar in the Centre. After the ride, we held a wicked Bristol hoe-down at our house, where we got down to disco, funk, and enjoyed moshing to a little Montreal angst pop, sucking down melting vodka icebergs (vodka jellies), and beating a 4×4 piñata savagely. Hey if the world is going to hell we may as well party while we still can, right? David Rose, one of the two cofounders of the Bristol Alliance Against 4x4s, struck the final blow of death to much applause, and bicycle accessories and treats poured out like the guts. Nobody wept for the “bummer”, which had killed many people and spewed more than its share of carbon in its time. As the fledgling but growing organisation says, NOT cool, NOT safe! There was just such a great vibe all night. The Critical Mass ride buzzed with spontaneity and camaraderie. When the crowd of about 50 or so cyclists was on Rupert St. near the Broadmead mall, a party going on above us on a terrace looked down as the ride passed by, and I belted out, “climate change we do not like- sell your car- BUY A BIKE” They all cheered. Awesome. After a few revolutions of the Broadmead roundabout, and being assaulted by a crazy woman in a Mini- (critical masses in SF get harassed by guys in dodge durangos- here in Bristol we get the psychiatric women in Minis) the last couple dozen of us headed to one of the oldest pubs in Bristol, the Hatchet, for a few pints, before riding back to my house where the party was already raging. Bristol Critical Mass looks set to continue next month, leaving from the Arnolfini at 6:30pm on Feb. 23rd, if you are on this side of the Atlantic. Maybe we will have a sound system next month…..and who knows- maybe another post mass party. I’ve been having pangs of homesickness this week, listening to my friend Jon Winston’s Bikescape podcast from San Fran. He plays great bicycle songs on his podcasts, many of which can be found at this bicycle music site. Finally, a tragic piece of news to report from San Francisco- a woman cyclist was hit by an illegally turning truck at the entrance to the Central Freeway last week, and remains in serious condition. in response hundreds of cyclists rallied at the mouth of the freeway to demand that the city take measures to prevent these illegal right turns, which they promptly did under the glare of news cameras and potential lawsuits. Too bad they didn’t make the safety upgrades when we asked them to, when this needless carnage could have been prevented. Anyway, check out the SF Bicycle Coalition page on the issue. The damage caused by virtually unrestrained car dependence continues to plague us all….. yet alliances are growing, built on a deep resistance to overconsumption of fossil fuels, even in the face of climate disaster, and neglect of the simple human right to live in a safe, clean, and stable world.


What kind of world do you want to live in, anyway?


4 responses to “The Rebirth of Bristol Critical Mass and our Death of the Urban 4×4 Party

  1. is critical mass in bristl still going?

  2. I am very pro bike usage in Bristol and will probably get shot down for heresy by questioning what the critical mass is trying to achieve? i don’t really get why promoting bike usage (is that the main aim?) is so inestricably linked with being anti 4×4’s.

  3. It is still going in Bristol – see:

    Around 100 at the last ride..

  4. Yes, Bristol Critical Mass meets up every last friday of the month at the moment, 5.30pm at the fountains in middle of town.
    Great fun, great people, lots of fancy dress and usually a pedal powered soundsytem in tow 🙂
    See you there

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