Cyclists and other people in London actively resisting oppression by motor vehicles

Month: August, 2012

Critical Mass alert

You will probably remember the disruption of last month’s Critical Mass bike ride by the police (see the brief account below). Hence the importance of a good turn-out this month (ie Friday 31 August), to show that cyclists won’t accept restrictions that aren’t placed on other road users, and aren’t going to accept intimidation by the police, and will insist on our right to move peacefully around our city by bike as usual, wherever the mood takes us.


In the last day or so, information has emerged of what seems to be a new “under cover” attempt to disrupt the August CM ride. An individual has asked for, and received, permission from the police to organise a bike ride on Friday evening, with a pre-approved route, starting at the same time and place as the regular CM ride (ie meeting 6pm onwards under the south end of Waterloo Bridge, by the river).

By definition, this ride is not a CM event, for which there are never advance plans for routes, destinations, etc; there never can be a “planned” CM event, since there is no-one and no CM structure to take any such decision.

It’s hard to think of any reason for this individual’s personal application to the police, other than as a deliberate attempt to cause confusion and to give the Met an opening to disrupt – or try to take charge of – the ride again this month.

It was always going to be important to have a good turn-out this month. With this latest news, that good turn-out, and our insistence on travelling where we want to without needing police permission, is even more essential.

It would be helpful if people would urgently circulate this information as widely as possible, and encourage cyclists to turn out on Friday evening in the normal spirit of a free CM ride that requires no sanction from, and accepts no control by, the police, and which ignores attempts by anyone to take control of the ride.



The Critical Mass 182 defence meeting

As reported previously, there was a meeting being held last week in defence of the 182 cyclists arrested in London on Friday 27 July, when the Met Police worked themselves up into an Olympics-induced hysteria on the night of the opening ceremony of the Games.

To save time in getting a report from that meeting published here, it’s easiest to just refer you to the report on the website of the Counter Olympics Network (it was CON which initiated the meeting, in liaison with Green and Black Cross who are working on the defence of the 182).

A key thing to note is the importance of those arrested linking up with Green and Black Cross (GBC) – so please spread this message far and wide:
If you were one of the 182 cyclists arrested on 27 July, and aren’t already in touch with GBC, then e-mail as a matter of urgency.


Defend the Critical Mass 182!

Most people reading this are likely to know about the arrest of 182 cyclists in London on Friday 27 July.

For anyone who doesn’t know the story of the last Critical Mass ride, this is a succinct (but nevertheless pretty accurate) summary:

Before the ride (which attracted a typical summer crowd of many hundreds of the usual cross-section of cyclists) set off, lots of police turned up in a spirit of Olympic hysteria. Some of the police busied themselves giving pieces of paper to some (but far from all) of the cyclists present. The paper purported to ban cyclists from going anywhere north of the river. Most of the cyclists eventually did cross the river, however, and hundreds of them went via Stratford on their travels. A lot of cyclists from one of the batches that went to Stratford were rounded up by police there (as were some cyclists who happened to be in the area and had nothing whatsoever to do with Critical Mass). Including a handful of arrests of cyclists elsewhere, a grand total of 182 cyclists ended up in custody that night. There are some reports linked on the (unofficial – of course! – since Critical Mass has nothing “official”, by definition) London Critical Mass website.


The meeting is at 7pm, at Firebox, 106-108 Cromer Street, London WC1 (this is a couple of blocks behind Camden Town Hall on Euston Road, just a few minutes from Kings Cross and St Pancras stations. The aim of the meeting is to facilitate the setting up of a defence campaign – to help with practical or political or legal or other support for the 182, and to ensure that Critical Mass can continue without further legal molestation.

If you are sometimes a CM cyclist;
and/or if you were arrested on 27 July;
and/or if you’re involved in a police monitoring group or a right to protest campaign;
and/or if you’re giving legal support to any of those arrested;
then you’re warmly invited to this meeting.

The meeting is for anyone involved with or concerned about the arrests.

For more information about the origins of the meeting, see

Please share information about this meeting with anyone who might like to know about it. If you’re interested, but can’t make Thursday’s meeting, please send a message (with the subject line “Defence Meeting”) to – the message will be printed out and taken to the meeting.