Critical Mess

Just couldn´t resist the pun, though it´s probably very old and tired. Sorry.

So here I was, at my first Critical Mass – April 2014 edition in Osnabrück. The local press had been full of it when CM was first held last summer, what with cyclists actually taking what is theirs – the road, and making it abundantly clear to motorists that the city centre is not theirs exclusively. The police had been there, too, giving the whole affair some disreputable, even illegal touch.

Now the weather was fine, even unusually so for end of April, and no police car was to be seen. They seemed to be busy, or had forgotten about CM, or – well, maybe they had seen that CM is a menace to noone, a very friendly and good-humoured thing in all, and very orderly, too. What was this saying Lenin coined about German revolutionaries who will first buy a train ticket and them storm the station? Although most attending seem to pronounce the name Critical Mess, it was far from one, so maybe the Police had done something very un-German, just letting it run its course. Actually, so did most motorists, who seemed to have gotten used to CM already. Some even stopped to let us pass. The whole atmosphere was  relaxed, some would say disappointingly so, and being taken serious feels different.

A few minutes before the advertised start, not too many people had shown up, but that changed rapidly.

CMfewWhen we set off, taking all of one lane, to which we were entitled because there were more than 15 of us, there were more already.

CMfrontA quick view to the rear showed that there must have been about 70 of us, including fledgeling families in transport trike boxes, small kids on their own little bikes, cheap old students´ bikes and top of the range touring ones. Everyone was avoiding bike lanes, of course.


CMrearAs far as I could see, none of the bikes looked unsafe, made any noises or failed in any way – it seems that participants in CM are cyclists who merit this word.

I think I´ll go again next month, if I can make it – it´s a great outing for all the family.


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