Critical Mass, Cycle Chic

you are not stuck in traffic. you are traffic. we are traffic.

Bicycles at Germany's gate to the worldBicyclists and photographers Björn and Till from Hamburg (Germany) are not so pleased about traffic in their city. In everyday traffic they feel like most cyclists do these days. They feel caught in the middle – between pedestrians and motorists.

In Germany the number of cyclists is on the rise, and most cycleways, esp. when directly next to footways, no longer have to be used, but they can; cyclists can choose between a cycleway and the road next to it – which is safer actually. These two facts are inducing a lot of stress, esp. among motorists.

So what to do? How to relax? Until now there were two different ways to demonstrate that cyclists belong on the road: campaigns, and critical mass rides. One current campaign is “Ab auf die Straße” (go on, on the road) – by the way: it is run by the Hamburg district association of the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC). Maybe Björn and Till are members of ADFC Hamburg. Most probably they are part of the monthly Critical Mass Hamburg – by the way: it’s (without much doubt) the largest CM in Germany with regularly more than a thousand cyclists. If you ever joined a critical mass ride you will understand that it is a perfect way to get to know other cyclists, to overcome anonymity.

Hamburg Velo Love, photo by wearetraffic.deAnd exactly that is what Björn and Till want to achieve with their very own solution to the problem. They want to overcome anonymity. They want to show to everyone out there who are those cyclists popping up all over the place. They exclaim: we, the cyclists of Hamburg, are traffic. WE ARE TRAFFIC. And since they are photographers they simply take pictures, portraits actually. So, they just adopted the critical mass slogan “We are traffic.”* for their website where they kept portraying Hamburg’s cyclists for about just a month now. But they already received a number of blog posts as well as their own portrait, a TV coverage by the regional broadcasting corporation.

By the way: by far most participants at the current nation wide cycling survey are from Hamburg. Hamburg is also known for its “Fahrradhäuschen” (bicycle booth – a kind of bicycle parking garage). All together it looks like Hamburg’s cycling society is going for Fahrradhauptstadt (cycling capital) of Germany.

By the way: the slogan “We Are Traffic” most probably was adapted from “You Are Not Stuck In Traffic. You Are Traffic.” which on the other hand – as far as I could find out – first was used in an advertisement from Dutch manufacturer of automotive navigation systems TomTom about two years ago, then adbusted by Lisbon Cycle Chic, and used especially within the Cycle Chic and Critical Mass communities ever since.




  1. Pingback: Noch mehr von der letzten Tour | Critical Mass Hamburg - 2012-11-05

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