Critical Mass

open topic, for anything cycling related.

Re: Critical Mass

Postby sogood » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:53 pm

human909 wrote:
sogood wrote:Riding on road then deliberately stop and obstruct (even 1 mins) is not a bullying behaviour?

No.

Old school.
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by BNA » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:53 pm

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Re: Critical Mass

Postby il padrone » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:53 pm

sogood wrote:Well, then CM can get on with the time and protest to those who are in charge.
.

CM is not a protest movement, just a bunch of people who get together to go for a ride. There are no causes, policies nor representatives - just a love of riding bikes.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby sogood » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:11 pm

il padrone wrote:CM is not a protest movement, just a bunch of people who get together to go for a ride. There are no causes, policies nor representatives - just a love of riding bikes.

That's a terrible way to present the group Pete. I understand from their movement site that they do have an objective. If they didn't and also deliberately cause traffic delay, then they really have no more defence of their action. :roll:
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby find_bruce » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:12 pm

sogood wrote:
il padrone wrote:CM is not a protest movement, just a bunch of people who get together to go for a ride. There are no causes, policies nor representatives - just a love of riding bikes.

That's a terrible way to present the group Pete. I understand from their movement site that they do have an objective. If they didn't and also deliberately cause traffic delay, then they really have no more defence of their action. :roll:

In among the tumbleweeds
http://www.bikesarefun.org/faq.html wrote:What are the aims of Critical Mass?
Every participant rides in Critical Mass for their own reasons, and there are almost as many reasons as there are participants. However, some common reasons to ride are:
Having fun. (Seriously, would we keep turning up on the last Friday of every month if it wasn't!)
Meeting up with friends and making new ones.
Getting to enjoy bicycling/rollerblading/skateboarding on the smooth city roads, without the cars.
Showing off flashy and unusual bikes and clothes.
Being seen and vocal about creating a vision and experience of a possible future.
Networking with like minded people and organising similar activities.
Educating people about sustainable transport - cycling, roller blading, walking, public transport.
Show that all sustainable forms of transport can be used in the city, and that we need to sharing the road with each other.
Campaign for safe, use able cycling facilities.
To create a space that is Car-free in the centre of our city.
To reclaim the space street space for people
To encourage thought on Clean Air and healthier living.
The list goes on and on ... Turn up and ask some of the people

In short, critical mass don't set out to achieve anything & so far they have met that objective, much like "occupy Sydney".

Perhaps we should ask Nobody, apparently he organises it in Sydney
http://www.bikesarefun.org/faq.html wrote:Who are the organisers?
Nobody organises Critical Mass ...
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby Nobody » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:28 pm

find_bruce wrote:Perhaps we should ask Nobody, apparently he organises it in Sydney
http://www.bikesarefun.org/faq.html wrote:Who are the organisers?
Nobody organises Critical Mass ...
Well, you can tell why I didn't want to be part of this debate. :lol:
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby Red Rider » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:29 pm

find_bruce wrote:Perhaps we should ask Nobody, apparently he organises it in Sydney
http://www.bikesarefun.org/faq.html wrote:Who are the organisers?
Nobody organises Critical Mass ...

I can't believe he's associated with them, but then again Nobody's perfect! :lol:
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby sogood » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:42 pm

find_bruce wrote:In short, critical mass don't set out to achieve anything & so far they have met that objective, much like "occupy Sydney".

Occupy doesn't interfere with the general public (apart from their use of space and visual impact) and has a clear message. It's also a sore for the wealthy and ruling elites in the society. CM is not in the same league.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby AUbicycles » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:59 pm

Critical Mass is a hard one - I understand that to make a change you need to get noticed and CM has this, it is radical and while this means it gets noticed, it often strays from being an acceptable protest. As times change, progression is key. I havn't been on a Critical Mass for well over a decade and don't see the concept and principles evolving with the times. I still picture loonies who go beyond the principles of making a stance to being aggresive and putting themselves in dangerous situations, ' standing infront of oncoming traffic on the habour bridge to make a point' rather then keeping to one or two lanes. I have also seen an overreaction of authorities, throwing people in paddy wagons who have not broken laws but are part of the group (who are acting lawfully) so are thus deemed to be a general disturbance despite their legal right to ride a bike on city streets.

In short, it can be enjoyable, it can be ruined by idiots, conceptually it needs to evolve.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby sogood » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:19 pm

Nobody wrote:Well, you can tell why I didn't want to be part of this debate. :lol:

And respected for it! :wink:
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby human909 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:08 am

AUbicycles wrote: I still picture loonies who go beyond the principles of making a stance to being aggresive and putting themselves in dangerous situations, ' standing infront of oncoming traffic on the habour bridge to make a point' rather then keeping to one or two lanes.


They are not loonies. I am starting to get less and less amazed at how conservative and how different and cohort is found on BNA forums vs the actual cyclist cohort. These aren't loonies involved in critical mass, these are regular cyclists. There is a whole another world of cycling out there beyond the constrained cohort of road cycling. It is sad that there is such a rift, you can see this on MHLs and other such topics.

Just saying... :|
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby diggler » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:45 am

Hopefully some people will go on the rides today and report back on their findings.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby Alien27 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:33 am

human909 wrote:
AUbicycles wrote: I still picture loonies who go beyond the principles of making a stance to being aggresive and putting themselves in dangerous situations, ' standing infront of oncoming traffic on the habour bridge to make a point' rather then keeping to one or two lanes.


They are not loonies. I am starting to get less and less amazed at how conservative and how different and cohort is found on BNA forums vs the actual cyclist cohort. These aren't loonies involved in critical mass, these are regular cyclists. There is a whole another world of cycling out there beyond the constrained cohort of road cycling. It is sad that there is such a rift, you can see this on MHLs and other such topics.

Just saying... :|


He didn't say they were loonies, he said "I still picture loonies" and I think he has hit the nail on the head. If you assume that Critical Mass has evolved and is no longer what it was, then it still has a major problem with how it is perceived. The fact is people still picture loonies being aggressive and disruptive. If CM wants to help cycling rather than hinder it then they need a re branding, their past is inescapable.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:00 am

Alien27 wrote:The fact is people still picture loonies being aggressive and disruptive. If CM wants to help cycling rather than hinder it then they need a re branding, their past is inescapable.

CM is not a public relations firm or large corporation. 'Branding' doesn't really enter the picture.

"Loonies being aggressive and disruptive" = any cyclist who doesn't stick to singe file (in the minds of most drivers) :roll:
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby g-boaf » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:06 am

But, CM does suffer from that perception. Even if it isn't warranted any more, they do still have the perception and they need some big PR efforts to change that and give it a good image. I'd love to see it not only advocate for its usual stuff, but also be a vehicle to get more people into cycling. Despite the image of being aggressive, not all cyclists are like that. Most of them I meet are really friendly.

That perception I think is what the chief of this site was hinting at. This topic even suggests that CM still polarises opinions, given the robust debate on the issue here.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby human909 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:19 am

g-boaf wrote:his topic even suggests that CM still polarises opinions, given the robust debate on the issue here.

What topic doesn't around here? :lol:

Saying that CM suffers from a image or branding problem silly. As long as you are appealing to your target market then their is no branding problem. (Their target market is NOT all cyclists, it simply cannot cover that range.) It is like saying that Bathurst (the car race) suffers from an image problem. Those that love the culture don't see a problem. Those that dislike the culture perceive a problem. I'm sure many would CM would find lycra clad culture not appealing.
Last edited by human909 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby AUbicycles » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:23 am

For clarification (and thanks Alien27) most participants on the critical mass events are well behaved.

There were always the odd few people who I call loonies who went to far, the specific example when the Critical Mass went over the Habour Bridge and 99% of cyclists were content to keep left, these are the ones who felt it necessary to stop oncoming traffic - i.e. without the critical mass.

In my view the grassroots action was probably more effective - we would print hundreds of flyers and hand them out to drivers - this starts a dialogue where we would briefly explain that we won't be too long 'thanks for their patience' and would more often than not is a friendly encounter - it is a protest.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby Alien27 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:11 am

human909 wrote:...Saying that CM suffers from a image or branding problem silly. As long as you are appealing to your target market then their is no branding problem. (Their target market is NOT all cyclists, it simply cannot cover that range.) It is like saying that Bathurst (the car race) suffers from an image problem. Those that love the culture don't see a problem. Those that dislike the culture perceive a problem. I'm sure many would CM would find lycra clad culture not appealing.

Its not silly when the question I'm trying to answers was the OP's original one; "Are they (CM) helping or hindering cycling?" they need a re-branding if they are going to help cycling, otherwise their past and the public perception of them just makes it near imposable for them to get their message through. i would also imaging that no cyclists are their primary target market. Targeting cyclists would preaching to the converted wouldn't it?

il padrone wrote:
Alien27 wrote:The fact is people still picture loonies being aggressive and disruptive. If CM wants to help cycling rather than hinder it then they need a re branding, their past is inescapable.

CM is not a public relations firm or large corporation. 'Branding' doesn't really enter the picture.


Whether CM's branding enterers the picture or not in their eyes doesn't mean its not a problem for them.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby Baldy » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:03 pm

I think our version as I described earlier is a fair example of where you can take critical mass. Well it might be an option for smaller cities/towns because the "mass" side of it has less to no impact on other road users. The most I have seen on ours in the time Ive been going is around 70. That was when it was promoted a bit via a blog and flyers. Ive been on rides in winter with 6 people.

The point is to turn up, enjoy yourself. Its nice having a chat to people, it can be a good grapevine to what is going on with cycling issues around the place. We get more positive response than negative on the road. The fact that 15people riding bikes together around the city stands out so much that peds will stop to watch or point phones. That's all we are trying to change, that groups of bikes on the road is an unusual sight. Well apart from roadies in training bunches but they don't count because they wear lycra :P

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Re: Critical Mass

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:32 pm

il padrone wrote:CM is not a public relations firm or large corporation. 'Branding' doesn't really enter the picture.

"Loonies being aggressive and disruptive" = any cyclist who doesn't stick to singe file (in the minds of most drivers) :roll:

You are presently making a PR statement defending CM. PR is everywhere and does not have to be a firm or large corporation.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby human909 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:45 pm

Alien27 wrote:
human909 wrote:...Saying that CM suffers from a image or branding problem silly. As long as you are appealing to your target market then their is no branding problem. (Their target market is NOT all cyclists, it simply cannot cover that range.) It is like saying that Bathurst (the car race) suffers from an image problem. Those that love the culture don't see a problem. Those that dislike the culture perceive a problem. I'm sure many would CM would find lycra clad culture not appealing.

Its not silly when the question I'm trying to answers was the OP's original one; "Are they (CM) helping or hindering cycling?" they need a re-branding if they are going to help cycling, otherwise their past and the public perception of them just makes it near imposable for them to get their message through. i would also imaging that no cyclists are their primary target market.


We all have different perceptions of what "cycling" is and what "helping cycling is". Sometimes I don't think the obsession with lycra, strava, speed and bunch helps the "cycling brand".

Alien27 wrote:Targeting cyclists would preaching to the converted wouldn't it?

Who said they are trying to preach to non cyclists? Who said they are trying to preach?
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby Alien27 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:14 pm

human909 wrote:We all have different perceptions of what "cycling" is and what "helping cycling is". Sometimes I don't think the obsession with lycra, strava, speed and bunch helps the "cycling brand".

I dont disagree with any of that :)

human909 wrote:
Alien27 wrote:Targeting cyclists would preaching to the converted wouldn't it?

Who said they are trying to preach to non cyclists? Who said they are trying to preach?

Its a figure of speech... you suggested that their target market was cyclists, I was just making the point that considering one of their broader aims seems to be educating people about sustainable transport and sharing the road, then you would imagine that their target audience wouldn't be bikes as that would be say educating the educated, no?

I may have become aware of them and made my mind up about them when they were at their 'worst' as it were. It may have been just a bad period in their history with a few outliers causing a lot of trouble and giving them a bad name. I didn't even know they were still active and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that now they are a much better behaved group. I still think they would do well to drop the Critical Mass name though, there's a lot of baggage out there associated with that name.

I think i have had more than my fair 2c here and will bow out now. 8)
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby boss » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:59 pm

Alien27 wrote:
il padrone wrote:
Alien27 wrote:The fact is people still picture loonies being aggressive and disruptive. If CM wants to help cycling rather than hinder it then they need a re branding, their past is inescapable.

CM is not a public relations firm or large corporation. 'Branding' doesn't really enter the picture.


Whether CM's branding enterers the picture or not in their eyes doesn't mean its not a problem for them.


Branding isn't necessarily a concept limited to business.

Branding is an abstract idea that essentially relates to public perceptions combined with the story behind the name. You have a personal brand. Where you work has a corporate brand. Charities have brands. You can appropriate a brand to almost anything.

CM certainly does have a brand. Whether or not they are in need of a re-brand: I don't know, probably. I know very little about CM and I'm a cyclist. I can't help but think that your average person knows nothing about CM.

One would think they need a refresh, to go back to their values and goals and think about how to actually achieve them. Then create a brand surrounding it, one that both appeals to cyclists and makes sense to the general public.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby greyhoundtom » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:50 pm

Silly me.......I kind of thought that the name “Critical Mass” indicated the aim of the group.
As in getting enough cyclists riding together to form a “critical mass” of sufficient numbers of cyclists to cause maximum effect on other traffic on their route.

I therefore see no problem with their brand, as it describes what they do........just can’t see how their actions benefit cycling.
However I can see how their actions could make more motorists dislike cyclists as a group. :(
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby boss » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:20 pm

greyhoundtom wrote:I therefore see no problem with their brand, as it describes what they do........just can’t see how their actions benefit cycling.
However I can see how their actions could make more motorists dislike cyclists as a group. :(


That is all part of their brand. Brand isn't just about name. It's about the story behind the name, the public perception, etc.

Most brand names mean nothing or very little when separated from the brand. Nike, Vans, Trek, Colnago, etc. Each have different stories.

The story that CM is trying to tell is pretty fragmented. Sure they are trying to achieve a critical mass - but how, why. And how will it benefit people -why should people get involved.

ETc etc so on and so forth.
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Re: Critical Mass

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:23 pm

Actually, despite all the low keyed representation in this thread, Critical Mass is in fact a multi-national brand, stretching from North America to Euroland and many many other parts of the developed/developing world. Followers count in tens of thousands. All true!
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