Report from Albert at cm-london at riseup:
There were several score people – not bad for Christmas day.
It occurs to me that this must have been the 3rd London CM ride on Christmas Day, since the last times that 25 December was a Friday would have been 2009 and 1998; the time before that would have been BCM (Before [London, at least] Critical Mass).
And I have a memory, must be of the 2009 one, of a Christmas Day ride when there was a bit of a blizzard blowing too. On that occasion, I think we made it into double figures, but without vast numbers to spare. Though I’m sure those of who did make that one felt
This time, there were a few mince pies, spicy paneer spring rolls (a new combination on me), and swigs of a strange Georgian grappa-style drink, shared round at various stages – and maybe other things besides.
We left quite a bit after 7pm, and went over Waterloo Bridge and via the tunnel. Then left at Holborn tube station, via High Holborn, New Oxford Street, and Oxford Street (without a traditional bike lift at Oxford Circus!); and then right up Portman Street and the length of Gloucester Place, and on up Park Road until we stopped by a little parade of shops immediately before the Prince Albert Road junction.
We were hanging around while some people bought supplies at an open off licence there, and ended up hanging around for what felt like (but maybe wasn’t) 20-30 minutes while people were drinking. This hanging around got some people pissed off, and I suspect that if it had been a bigger mass, those not insisting on standing around on a street corner drinking would have been sufficient in number to just head off after a few minutes and keep the ride on the move.
Then it was via Prince Albert Road, Parkway (to Camden Town tube), and left into Kentish Town Road. Unfortunately, there was another offy open there, so everything stopped again. There were mutterings of various ideas for a route from there on, including St Pancras, Kentish Town, and other places. But there was no sign of movement for ages again, and I – and at least a few others – were getting pissed off and decided to call it a day. I headed off – it must have been well after 8pm – to go via my office at Kings Cross, to a settee and some overeating.
I’d have liked a few more people and – especially – a lot less hanging around. I have no idea whether there was much of a ride after I left. There would have been enough people to carry on for a while if they could have
A general observation was that traffic away from main routes was fairly light, as you’d expect, but there was plenty on places like Euston Road.
Having bus-free bus lanes was pleasant. Having car drivers, aware that there would be even less enforcement than usual, breaking every rule in the book even more liberally than usual, was less pleasant. For example, Oxford Street was pretty car-ridden.
Ride Report from hickster at cm-london at riseup;
Forty five cyclists set off from Waterloo, under the bridge. It was warm. There were some tourists. A few locals. Mostly people stuck in London. We left at ten past seven. A group wished to wait for friends. We left at quart past seven. Communication was bad. There were two sound systems. We did not talk as a group. United. But fractions of groups. Failing to be together pulled us apart. This was unusual for such a small mass where we had the ability to talk. We didn’t stop when a sound system failed just off the Kingsway, at the beginning of the ride. We were pulled north, like a piece of string. We did not have mass, cars bunched behind us. Unique; the shops were closed, the traffic moved freely. We were a delay to the traffic.
We stopped to refuel, heading north – we still did not communicate as a group. We did not gel. This was strange. I did not want to see the northern suburbs, closed. on a night like a sunday. warm, damp and dark. shuttered shops. Big roads. Failure to mass. Danger.
I left. I was not enthused. There was a lack of feeling.