Critical Mass London December 2016

Report from hickster

It was foggy. It had been foggy all day. Or misty maybe. Especially next to the Thames. And we all seemed a bit foggy too. The ride didn’t start until 19:22. Even then, there wasn’t much attitude to get moving. The December ride can be bitterly cold which motivates us to move. Not this time.

We were about a hundred. Not many tourists. Mostly permanent Londoners. Some knots of friends, some alone and together with the mass. We had three sound systems on the ride. Two dub, reggae type things. I think maybe something Latin American. Some smaller sounds. I’m foggy on this. Mainly a reggae sound. We always appreciate the effort of riding a sound system. Much respect.

We headed east from Waterloo Roundabout onto Stamford Street. I like that. It’s a good option. It was a little messy as we closed Blackfriars Road to keep going east onto Southwark Street. No big flips. Just some people wanted to wait for the red to go green and let the traffic infront clear out. Some didn’t. The stoppers got their way and they were technically correct. Proceed on green, then cork.

We went north on Borough high Street to go over London Bridge. I’m not sure if that had been people’s intentions. There had been a suggestion to head to Tower Bridge. You can’t go East onto Tooley Street or down St. Thomas’ Road. Not since they built the almighty Shard. Thanks TFL. So. London Bridge.

There was a conversation at the front and we resumed east East Cheap to great Tower Street. No long boarders tonight (if you don’t count electric longboards [please don’t]) but there are still lots of kids doing wheelies. “Extreme”. They were doing a bunch of those as we got to Byward Street. We spilled out of the stupid cycle snooze way and dominated the tarmac down to the tower and over the bridge. I think that pissed off the drivers in the smog queue. Oh well. It’s a stupid cycle lane. Dull. Expensive. Causes massive delays and pollution. TFL pissed off the driver.

Whatever.

Over the bridge. We didn’t stop. We didn’t occupy it, blow horns and raise our bicycles sky ward in triumph of something or other. We carried on to make a sharp into the “luxury new appartments” of Duchess Walk. Which is quite pretty in a soulless corporate art Babylonian way. And then stopped.

It was all of 20:00.

The first of several stops. A good five minutes of people twerking or whatever. Odd stop. No supermarket. No piss facilities.

So we get going again. A solo security guard managed to stop everyone going down the riverside. I didn’t catch much of it. Not interesting chat. We did one loop of the Helmet aka City Hall aka Babylondon Control. Then down “More London Riverside”. Yes. That’s the corporate name of the street. I was at the front and thought that’d be nice because of the stupid beautiful evil corporate art feature “stream”. The kids could jump it and shit.

Back to Tooley and over London Bridge again. A little pissing around to the west along Canon street to Victoria Street to…Cross the Millenium Bridge. Let’s party like the year 2000. It makes a nice noise, a whirring as you slide over the grey metal.

We then created a spontaneous art happening outside the Tate Modern. It was totes amaze balls. We whirled in a silent circle for five minutes, entertaining the art loving crowd who were enthralled by the symbolism of it.

Then we took a five minute break. Inspiration is tough.

Back down to Southwark Street, west to north for Blackfriars Bridge and the cycle super highway.

I’ve used it twice before and fallen asleep while riding both times.

It was okay. The corking tonight was on point. After a few wobbles, we really worked well at it. There wasn’t a whole lot of conversation about directions and plans. Sometimes there is. A mass of 100 people is nice. It only takes one cycle of the lights. Stress from drivers is low. It’s quiet. But corking was on point. It didn’t seem like anyone really cared that much. Just go wherever. This way, that way. ho hum.

So we wobbled up from Victoria Embankment to Northumberland Avenue. We caused a big old mess there filtering around lorries to go passed the Charles Statue onto the Mall. It made me smile. It was good. A little chaos. Safe chaos too.

At Buck House we took the customary break. Not much whirling around the marble fountain. Just sitting and talking and junk.

No big beef happened. Pretty chill. Quiet, easy going, just swimming through the fog and waiting for the New Year. Which is actually in Spring. This is still the season of Saturnalia. Supportive greetings to all.

2130. Relatively close to home. Time for me to quit. Something else might have happened.

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