[squeek] cat tv presents:

Critical Mass IV, Sydney

Yikes, it's bikes!
October 27, 1995.

These images have faded to video, let's get the text to heat them up.

It's Friday evening, not yet daylight saving, so it'll be dark before we're through. The air is cool, but the atmos is full. This time we gotta horn!

You know the idea, or maybe you don't. Later tonight, there'll be reclaim the night - it's about getting the night streets back for women. A separatist march, men can line the sides, but are not all that welcome alongside the sisters.

[looking back] Bikes maybe isn't as serious, but it is important, so this is about reclaiming the roads for pedal power, it is separatist, for just this 90 minutes, we want a few square metres of tar to ourselves. Away from fumes, headaches, asthma, apathy and greenhouse gasses.

You see, looking back there's about two or 300 of us.


We know how to control the cars, simply wait for the green, then extend it, with corkers in place to stem the flow from leaking into the sides. Maintain the mass.

[bike tango] I yak with this pair, doubling, it's good to have a chat while you're riding along. Not so easy in a car, or on a motorbike. She says, "roads are a big threat to wildnerness. We need more bike lanes in the city." We bitch about the lack of decent transport for those in the western suburbs, "some of the families have 4 cars." She says, "it's crazy having 1 car each." He says, "when I was in Holland they had 4 bikes per family."

OK, so Holland is flat.

[twaffic queue] Moving right along, before I hit the asphalt with my friend's camera, let's talk about aggro, seems that cars make people feel this way, any wonder with the prospect of having to line up like this for times on end. The courier there is priming us, there may be violence in the motorists' response, but it's something we can face with humour, with limited patience - bikes can make room in the gaps, so why stick it with tessled drivers? Pretty soon, in the scene here, we've ducked up left to a Pitt Street of our own.

There is a little aggro at points, hard to tell sometimes between a supportive and a strangled car horn. Someone in their four wheel drive is getting pretty upset, I think he hit one of the bikes, bit of a shout, but we need to move on.

So far they've been guys, they say:

You've got no right to block up the road.

We're legal on the road, imagine if all 200 of us were in cars.
I pay good taxes to use these roads!
So do we!

[tykes] Looking more future-bound, all kinds are part of this race. Rollerblades, scooters, tandems and little tykes. Tykes towed on their adult friend's bikes.

Bikes are for kids, right? For scooning round the block, visiting their friends, hacking the grass over the park. Exploring the suburb we grew up in. How can it be serious? How can it be that in Sydney, car-centred Sydney, it's quicker by bike? Quicker than than walking, quicker than parking the car, quicker than checking the timetable, just go! Yes, I ride my bike to work.

As the dusk comes down, one of those roller-bladers is sparking up the street, curving down low to the tar. And then it's over, that was short, cylinders pull into the mall, the verdict is good.

by Karina Brisby, John Curtis, Matthew Arnison .

See Ed's page for more critical mass stuff. There's a ride last Friday, every month.


So, there's too many pictures. This is community television, this is the end of the century, this is what people relate to, whether it's the stories of the koori elders round the fires of 40,000 years; or the satellite dishes of the Himalaya. The dish goes further than the phone. The sight goes further than the sound. How well ideas travel is what this is about.