Today is the first London Critical Mass ride after participants were informed about possible arrests at future Critical Mass rides. The Metropolitan Police demanded that the 'organisers' give notice of the route at least six days in advance [report]. The Rhythms of Resistance Samba Band has been practicing samba on wheels.
18:05 About 250 bikes have gathered at the Southbank outside the National Film Theatre, just under Waterloo Bridge [map]. The NFT is in the restricted SOCA zone, a new law which bans unauthorised demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament. No police presence as yet. Lots of legal observers present, as well as a Samba band and a soundsystem.
18:25 Soundsystem started playing very quietly. Someone is handing out free food. A couple of mounted police on cycles have arrived.
18:45 Numbers have risen to about 800, about 100 in halloween fancy dress. Fliers about the climate change demo are being passed around.
19:06 Moving off towards Waterloo roundabout.
19:20 More than 1000 bikes are crossing Waterloo Bridge, 5 or 6 lines deep, taking the entire bridge. 2 small soundsystems have been spotted. Traffic at Trafalgar Square has already come to a standstill. "It is massive".
19:35 The crowd keeps growing, the route from Waterloo Bridge to Trafalgar Square is full of bikes. "A massive mass". In the Westminster area, unusually many police officers have been seen.
19:44 Now an estimated minimum of 1500 cyclists, the mass is moving down Pall Mall.
19:48 A taxi just clipped a cyclist on the Mall. The cyclist isn't injured but the taxi driver is being briefed by a crowd of cyclists about road safety and cycle awareness.
19:58... Mass has arrived at Buckingham Palace. Rhythms of Resistance are giving it some welly. Drummers are playing in carriages pulled by bikes. 200 pedestrians have joined the mass.
20:20 Massive mass of more than 2000 has arrived at Parliament Square! Cycling around the square, cheering, ringing their bells, lifting bikes up in the air, while others are still arriving. People are calling into indymedia dispatch sounding "deliriously happy". A cyclist from Birmingham says: "it's a friday night, it's like a fucking party, it's like an RTS on bikes!" Some cops and a couple of police cars have been seen.
20:40 Moving up Whitehall... and there are a few hundred people on roller skates travelling in the opposite direction towards Parliament Square! Many arrived outside Downing Street. Great mood. Everybody is off bikes, holding them up in the air.
20:50 After 10 minutes at Downing Street, the mass moved on towards Trafalgar Square, then Leicester Square. Blue lights have been seen.
21:17 Fewer cyclists are now at corner of Oxford street and Tottenham Court Road. Rhythms of Resistance are still playing.
21:40 The Critical Mass is now halfway along Oxford Street and has re-grouped after briefly splitting in two. There are now more police and much less cyclists.