Critical Mass London 25 July 2014

from the list:

Perhaps only five hundred people turned up this July, two or three sound systems. Good sound systems. Many put off by the day’s constant rain, others were away. As usual for a July-August ride there were quite a few joining for the first time, often tourists.

A smaller ride is quite nice though, moves faster, less stress. It didn’t rain. It stayed nice all night.

The ride set off by 19:10 and pushed east by the Imax in the roundabout. Down Stamford street, Southwark Street, east passed London Bridge and up to Tower Bridge.

Last month we took this same route, but then got lost in alleys behind Aldgate. All separating up and the finding each other again. Not this month. Pushed on.

Unusual. Except, it has been two years since the police bully boys turned up mob handed at the start of the mass and started chatting shit. Making up fake laws and sticking up their fists.

They told us we couldn’t go north of the river? Why? They had no legal right.

It was provocative and stupid of them. When they said “you can’t go to Stratford” it just created a spur for us, a destination.

We weren’t protesting, we weren’t a threat to the life of the community. On previous occasions like the royal wedding we had been totally cool. As many Royalists as Republicans. Likewise the Olympics. Pro and Anti.

182 cyclists were arrested by the police. Denied water, rest breaks, restrained inhumanely and needlessly detained over night. Only 3 (was it?) were eventually charged under the nonsense section 12 public order act, but stringent bail conditions were placed on all.

Legality didn’t stop the kettling, the pepper spray, the batons and the charging. It really was outrageous. Devious. Pause to remember.

Whaddya expect? It’s the MET, there weren’t any protestors and they didn’t want to get bored sitting in their buses. Why not go out and hit some irritating cyclists? Usually they are restrained by those pesky Law Lords. Olympics? Golden opportunity for revenge.


After the police informed us, in July 2012, at the start of CM that we were prohibited from going north of the river, there was a general consensus to defy illegality. Sod it. Go to Stratford!

That didn’t happen two years ago, but it did today. We just pushed through east , all the way down Mile End Road arriving in the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Park at sunset.

It’s quite a nice park. Not twelve billion pounds nice. But nice. A few daft rusting sculptures. Still no public WC’s – just Portakabins!

It was only a quarter to nine, but we seemed to settle in the park for quite a while. Sitting on a bridge overlooking the main stadium. Then finally moving, but only so far as the velodrome, doing loops outside, hundreds looking in on the race track. Six racers scooting around. No audience or anything, of course.

We couldn’t go in, but lots found the BMX course. Which was dangerous, but, hey. A woman with a walky talky got quite beside herself considering the insurance implications of an accident. There were a few spills, nothing so serious.

Some racers inside finished their loops and got into their cars.

There was very little anti Olympics conversation. Most people weren’t aware.
There weren’t so many returning arrestees. I suppose many of those arrested were tourists or were totally put off coming back. Which is a real shame.

We saw no police trouble, very few arguments with motorists.

We didn’t leave the Olympic Park until about ten o’clock. Just cyclists being together in a group without any other vehicles. Which was cool. It was different. The ride seemed to appreciate the Olympic Park.

Of the people who got to Stratford (“oh no! Where are we going? Out of zone 2? I don’t think so!), most who got to Stratford left the park together. Pushing west on the way we came, up Mile End.

I gave up at Brick Lane. Ach. Too many cobbles and glass bottles. Too far from
home for a picture, went home. What happened? 300 cyclists roll down brick lane?

Another classic critical mass?

From facebook where things are close but available and frequent:


That was hugely enjoyable one or two run-ins with an unbelievably drunk, madly swerving, blond girl on a Boris bike, she missed me but took out three other people between Brick Lane and Old Street. Asides from that tand the usual delight of taxi drivers sharing their extensive vocabularies, felt like a really safe and chilled ride!

She was at it all night.

A driver who tries to attack a cyclist surrounded by 20 cyclists (making videos, pissing him off) which shows how strong is a cyclist group. Who is with a driver when a cyclist is the troublemaker? At Whitechapel there was a guy who just took out the keys from a car with no reason and an other cyclist who broke his mirror while the car was leaving itself….

saw some guys spit driver in the face, same guys were trying to kick the biker of his bike.. made me feel ashamed being in the same group with them

It was too fast so unfortunately I couldn’t make a video….. Shame….so shameless…..

That car driver had tried to force his way through the mass to turn left. he used his car to physically push people out of his way, which is what started that confrontation… don’t agree with the damage to his vehicle but can at least understand the anger behind it.

I have blocked the driver’s way and he didn’t even try to push me… I told him to wait two minutes and he was smiley and patience….. The cyclist was shouting on him and poking him….opened the door and making the driver angry. While I had the conversation with the driver the cyclist took his keys….So what? Show me the damage of the mass and imagine the damage of the driver….From now he hates cyclists for sure and he needs to pay the harm of his mirror

It helps when other Massers can “police” them in some way – help defuse situations, move angry people away… but it’s not always easy or possible.

best find the cyclist who caused the problem and kick them off CM – we had to do this in the early days to a group of anarchists who were just out for causing trouble. Of course if they were real anarchists they wouldn’t have been trying to cause a violent confrontation.

There was one guy that was pissing me right off But he was going to every car and hitting them and shouting in their windows

I saw one cyclist spitting on a driver in a blue van while the other one was hitting him

CM is still the best thing ever!!! Bastards are everywhere…cyclist or driver? Doesn’t matter….It comes with the human nature

we really need to pull people up on that kind of behaviour. I can understand angry responses to bad/dangerous driving from the person/people most directly threatened, but gratuitous anger is just idiotic, as is any violence.

I keep meaning to….came across the Mass by chance one evening many years ago when my daughter was maybe 7 or 8? We were on our bikes already, as we often used to ride the South Bank riverside when she was small…so we just joined in…people were lovely, mass was chilled, great experience for my daughter, good for her to see cars and taxis just have to take care around us, give way for us, helped her lose her fear of motor traffic I am certain. However, I can’t quite place when, but some years later we had a really bad experience and sadly it was down to fellow riders acting like arses. Put it down to the fact that a few idiots are everywhere and most massers were still lovely. Carried on coming. Sadly, these occurrences increased, and culminated in one nasty incident with an aggressive cabbie. Incident was his fault, but lots of other massers just piled in, making a bad situation much worse…didn’t have my daughter with me this time, but, probably worse, was with friend and her children. Not good. Decided enough was enough. And stopped. Still believe in the concept of CM…would love to come back. Maybe in the autumn.
Must admit that I loved the bmx track though riding bmx I’m bound to but it was a tad to long & maybe unfair on others and whilst I had fun with friends chatting and relaxing whilst at the back of cm it was a shame we were stuck so long at brick lane – a tad conflicted as I enjoyed myself but I do prefer to just ride as much as possible.

I had a good night but that was mainly due to one person keeping me company and entertained and others around me like yourself Steve but yeah, more riding, although hitting up spots we don’t usually go to like that track is great fun – I guess as its a new thing of late, finding new random bits and setting off for new targets etc as suggested on this page before hand, we just have to strike the right balance when we are out there actually on the ride.

The beauty of Mass is its total and utter unpredictability – one person’s heavenly mass is another’s nightmare trip to the wrong side of town…

I saw lots of others who had an ecstatic time.
I loved it. First time visit for me and I wonder what the guys inside (on the velodrome track) thought of our lights through the windows.

We need to ‘marshal’ ourselves a bit more. London CM is enormously successful due to the fun had in a brilliant atmosphere but it’s attracting a few ‘lively’ folk… It should concern CMassers that for a few masses there have been a few groups of proper wrong ‘uns on the ride making us look bad. One such group, high as kites on class a’s, their idea of fun was kicking each other off their bikes or smashing drinks out of each others hands, it wasn’t a surprise to have heard they were involved in some other altercations. Trying to convince groups like this that they’re not welcome on mass will be a bitter pill that mass somehow needs to take. Perhaps all we need is a wet & cold Autumnal mass to re-balance the wheel.

The behaviour described above is the kind of stuff that put me off really…when you have children with you, it’s not what you, or they, want. As I haven’t been on a Mass for a while, what is the current demographic of the group….back when I went reasonably regularly, there were a fair few people with under 16’s? What about now?

Rikki’s report:

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