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Peace, Justice and Fun
An exceptional example of great engineering gets the pedestal status it deserves
Your photographer/cyclist, snapped by a friendly Dutch tourist
Des does the radio mike PA thang at the meeting point
From Waterloo Bridge, a horizontal panorama, left ...
... and right
And a vertical panorama, looking down ...
... along ...
... and up
Oh my god, it's full of cyclists!
Mobile sound system and Des' recumbent doodad in a sea of cyclists
As we set off across Waterloo Bridge, we encircle the bfi IMAX cinema
Fellow 4-eyed Bromtonista expresses rational attitude to bourgeois 'democracy'
Having emailed all by cycling chums about the event, I waited in Bernie Spain Gardens for a CM newcomer friend, parking my Brompton folding bike on a stone pedestal -- which immediately attracted the attention of four Dutch tourists, one of whom kindly took my photo. After one cold beer in the Royal Festival Hall, we joined the massing cyclists in the warm spring air, and worra lorra people there were! Somewhere in the middle, Des was using a radio mike to announce the event, and suggest that we target the location on Cromwell Road where a cyclist had recently been killed by a hit-and-run 4x4 driver.
After flooding over Waterloo bridge, our first stop was in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street. After several people took the mike to generally denounce not only the government but also the whole sham electoral circus about which we're supposed to give a damn (surely some mistake), we cycled on to Parliament Square. Peace protester and MP candidate Brian Haw was sitting in his folding chair with a compact word processor, drawing much admiring attention from many of the cyclists. One of Brian's supporters was even riding the mass clad in an artfully executed DIY banner highlighting his slogan "Love Is The Answer".
Brian and his colourful peace camp have occupied Parliament Square permanently for over four years, becoming such an embarrassment to the 'New' Labour war-mongers that they included clauses in the Serious Crime Bill to remove him and restrict all our human rights to peaceful assembly and protest within 1km of the Houses of Parliament. Despite the Bill being rushed through without debate in the days before the parliamentary den of thieves broke for the 'election' campaign, the cops have yet to make their move against Brian. Perhaps even the rozzers would be just too embarrassed to evict an independent peace-and-justice parliamentary candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster constituency from his home of these last four years? To find out more, please visit:
Critical Mass isn't just for conventional cycles -- any human-powered vehicle is welcome, and the pace is such that even those using nowt but Shanks' Pony can keep up! Our number included a four-wheel two-person quad-bike, several recumbents, loads of SK8ERs on decorated boards, and more folding bikes than I've ever seen -- Bickertons, Dahons and a shed load of Bromptons. Unfortunately, before I could figure a way to rally 'em all for a mass folder photo, my camera battery flaked out :-(
In Cromwell Road, we halted to pay our respects to Thomas Sippel-Dau. While cycling home from work, he was mown down from behind by a hit-and-run Range Rover driver, who has yet to be brought to justice. A cycling friend of his led a one minute silence to honour his memory, and paid tribute to a life so cruelly cut short -- which received much warm and appreciative applause. Des and I railed against the many absurdities of driving gas-guzling death-dealing road-hogging SUVs in urban streets, and I recommended the re-education of these death wagon drivers by leaving mock 'Poor Vehicle Choice' parking tickets under their windscreen wipers -- you can download and print your own from:
See also: Alliance Against Urban 4x4s http://www.stopurban4x4s.org.uk
Critical Mass London happens 12 times a year, on the last Friday of the month. We meet on the south bank from 18:00-18:45, under Waterloo Bridge and outside the National Film Theatre Café. The slow-paced ride around central London is suitable for cyclists of all ages, and any human-power vehicle is welcome, from roller skaters and rollerbladers through wheelchairs and recumbent trikes to multi-person pedal-powered extravaganzas. For more info, and downloadable fliers which you can staple around the frames of parked bikes, please see:
Critical Mass is an international phenomena, whereby bike owners in our millions in 300+ cities the world over assert our identity as cyclists, and celebrate the freedom we should enjoy as people-and-planet friendly road users -- while affording city users a brief glimpse of how peaceful, clean and quiet our urban streets could be if only we would break from their domination by dangerous, dirty and noisy motorised traffic.
In International Solidarity,
Tim D Jones
PS: Special thanks to the staff and management of The Cottage Hotel, Hope Cove, Devon http://www.hopecove.com for facilitating this upload via WiFi broadband.
All these photos are 'CopyLeft'. This means you are free to copy and distribute any of my photos you find here, under the following license:
Copyright ©2005 Tim D Jones
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Tim D Jones