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London Critical Mass reports

imc london | 28.10.2005 17:01 | SOCPA | Free Spaces | London

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.

Solidarity rides are taking place simultaneously in Bristol and Brighton In this posting, we are collecting updates from the streets in London.


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.

imc london


Hide the following 12 comments

go cyclists go

28.10.2005 18:14

o man i wish i was there! poor me i dont have a bike.

hope theyre having a good time

two legs


28.10.2005 18:38

It would explian the number of police on the streets in Central London this evening, A number was spotted in the Westminster area, you might think that's normal, except today they are standing around rather than the usual plodding along. It seem they are waiting for something to happen.

They are probably keeping a low profile, etc, ...



28.10.2005 18:51

Lots of traffic in the Traf-Square, Chraing Cross, Tottenham Court and Leciester Square Area........


Can't be there but

28.10.2005 19:00


Mercurious Britannicus
mail e-mail:

Web Cam for Traf Sq, 40 mins behind

28.10.2005 19:15

I think,, this link might show the mass passing Traf Sq.



28.10.2005 19:27

Area around Piccadilly and Westminster is quiet, traffic is moving freely.



28.10.2005 19:36

Citi-stake spotted in Piccacilly area a few seconds ago, I did try to ask for the latest whereabout but I got no reply.

(Must be French.)




28.10.2005 20:48

was there for a while on foot and it was totally inspiring to see so many people there, made me very very happy... nice one all of you.


Pedal power!!

28.10.2005 20:57

What an impressive sight!!! Good going to all the cyclists!

(Had heard a lot about the San Francisco critical mass while I lived in California but today was the first time I actually saw one.)


Leeds Too

28.10.2005 21:12

Leeds saw around 30 cyclists this evening on the Leeds Critical Mass. We managed one and a half loops of the city centre before I left and the cops arrived.



28.10.2005 21:27

thank you for taking the time to keep us non cycling types updated, keep me writhing with envy

two legs

What a Mass!

28.10.2005 21:28

Dancing in the street with sound system outside Houses of Parliament.
Dancing in the street with sound system outside Houses of Parliament.

By Downing Street, again with sound system.
By Downing Street, again with sound system.

It really felt like a celebration of cycling.