Critical mass

Critical Mass ride in Gloucester Green

On the way back from my meeting with Dr. Hurrell, I found myself in the middle of a Critical Mass bike ride: a social gathering where a group of cyclists assemble and ride together through an urban area. A recent dinosaur comic discussed it. There is much about the movement to recommend it: it fosters a sense of community and it raises the visibility of a healthy and sustainable form of transport. It also allowed me the opportunity to try bicycle polo, a somewhat precarious game that was played in Gloucester Green, following the conclusion of the ride.

As an advocacy act, critical mass rides involve some of the same questions as other attempts at altering the behaviour of others. Examples would also include those who tout the merits of a religion or lifestyle choice. While nobody appreciates an overzealous approach to acquiring converts, you can hardly feel strongly about the moral superiority of something and not at least gently prod others towards thinking as you do. Excessive deference to pre-existing beliefs – whether political, ethical, or religious – risks fostering a bland and unthinking society.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

3 thoughts on “Critical mass”

  1. George Bernard Shaw

    “The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and all time.”

  2. Hilary,

    I will happily eat vegan cooking, but I am going to have to defend my cheese-eating for the time being.

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