zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Monday, April 21, 2008

Bipedal, By Pedal!


via Feminist Review by Feminist Review on 4/1/08
Edited by Joe Biel
Microcosm Publishing

Joe Biel assembled Bipedal, By Pedal! so he'd have something to hand to curious onlookers as he rode by them in the spectacle that is Critical Mass. The slim little zine contains an even-handed history of the movement, along with short articles and graphics, illustrations, and leaflet designs from other participants.

Biel details the conflicts that arise between cyclists and people driving cars with honesty and thoughtfulness. Critical Mass can be a positive social step toward sustainable transportation alternatives, an opportunity for recruitment, and a fun social scene. It can also be an area of protest and interruption of the status quo, which sometimes results in aggressive confrontations with car drivers and the police.

Biel offers a theory echoed by those who lend their own essays to the latter part of the zine: "I feel this is just a product of living in a macho society, but I also feel it's not up to my judgment to tell someone how to behave in such a freeform activity." The authors' reticence to make assumptions about participants' motives for involvement in the movement puts the focus of their criticism on strategies and actions rather than judgment of individuals. Even irritated drivers are given the consideration they deserve; after all, every SUV driver is a potential "Masser," and Critical Mass offers an alternative to gridlocked traffic, escalating fuel prices, and a polluted and dangerous environment. What emerges is a welcoming picture of an emerging and evolving culture, and a guide to involvement for those who want to join the ride.

Review by Ari Moore

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