At the Bristol Bike Gathering 4-6th November 2011

Just returned from a really nice 3 days in Bristol participating in the radical bike projects gathering. My low key “how to build bike soundsystems” workshop at Kebele on Friday afternoon seemed to go quite well. I brought along various bits to make up a really basic system from scratch on the tabletop – an ipod, a car amp, a battery and a speaker – and this helped to keep it up the involvment and interest. Although we didn’t get on to the more advanced stuff like bass enclosure design, everyone seemed happy. Our demo soundsystem, twisted together wires and all, ended up provided the tunes for a lovely multi-course supper later than evening.

Saturday saw several workshops at the Bristol Bike Project looking at whether segregated cycle lines are indeed the way to go and what interventions actually reduce danger on the roads at source, bike games, and what we trying to do when we work with children and bikes. In the afternoon we headed of onto the roads in groups to explore and assess 3 different bike paths, looking at things like accessibility with trailers and signage. In the evening most of us cycled off to fireworks and frollicking on the Mound with a great view of the whole of the city spread out around us.

On Sunday, Im and I did a Bicycology workshop on how we communicate politics and messages in our work with bikes. We started with some spectrum lines, for example on whether people thought politics should be explicit or implicit in our work, then gave some examples from Bicycology’s experience. We split up into smaller discussion groups and then quickly rounded off back together for some feedback. It gave me some ideas for how to do it better in future, but it basically worked and certainly was a topic that people wanted to explore. Sunday also saw feedback from the Commonwheel meeting to set up an anarchosyndicalist bike project network, a workshop disabled cycling, and polo for those who could stay late enough.

In summary, a lovely weekend and an inspiring opportunity to get a sense of the diversity of emerging radical bike projects and network with both familiar and new bike folk.

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