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Central London Critical Mass, Friday 28th October 2005
We left the mass at 11pm. By that stage there were still around 50 cyclists and a soundsystem at Trafalgar Square and all was lovely.
Last night was odd though. It was the police that were stopping the traffic at every junction, including Parliament Square.
By about 10pm the mass had made it to Picadilly Circus. There was a police van that was following the ride throughout and had never really made any serious attempt to push the back of the ride forward.
As well as the van, the mass had a few police motorbikes on show. (At one stage I had to push one out of the way as he was getting too close for comfort, but I reckon that was accidental on his part)
Anyway, at Picadilly Circus the junction was rammed with cyclists and an impromptu speech was happening from somewhere further ahead. The police decided to turn there sirens on full and despite asking them why, what's wrong, can you play the magic roundabout etc. they didn't respond. Weird.
Aside from that I didn't see any trouble. Someone said a fight kicked off with a van driver but I don't know what happened there. Same old story by the sounds of it. Van driver thinks he can push a cyclist out of the way.
Other instances of the old bill included an irate suit demanding the police tell them what the demo was about. The bill had better things to do
Report by Old Gammy Leg:
That was my first Critical Mass, and I thought it was absolutely awesome. If I get a chance I might write a quick report in the Transport forum.
The atmosphere was fantastic, and the police were excellent - never, ever thought I'd say that in any situation! They did a good job stopping traffic and generally facilitating the ride.
They got a bit pissed off a couple of times and tried to push things along - were happy to let us take over Parliament Square, but didn't seem to like us stopping at Leicester Square or Oxford Circus.
I can see the argument, that the police presence is unneccesssary and the CM should be stopping traffic itself. In that scenario though, there would be a lot of fights with taxi drivers.
It was really empowering to see so many bikes taking over the roads, and the angry faces of the aggressive wanker taxi drivers
I had a great time and will definitely be going to CM regularly from now on.
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