Police, sirens, kettling, blockades and pepper spray. Sounds like a recipe for another English riot, which is apt considering the anniversary is only days away. Yet somehow, these words are associated with a peaceful, apolitical monthly mass bike ride which has been going on for 18 years without too much incident.
A bike ride. A bike ride. I’m pretty sure there are other things to worry about like, you know, muggers and murderers.
And just around the corner where some cyclists were being kettled, arrested and had their invaluable bikes forcibly taken, cycling Olympic gold winner Sir Chris Hoy led and carried Team GB’s flag.
Luckily for me and my friend, we decided to break away early from the group since we saw what appeared to be a sea of flashing and whining vans. Is there a terrorist out there?
What I don’t understand is why at a time when London is celebrating sport - cycling in particular - would you turn away cyclists? Apparently, Critical Mass had the “potential to cause serious disruption”. If anything, I feel as if the police presence caused more disruption and intimidation than the numbers at Critical Mass. Funnily enough, the onlookers cheered and photographed us as we rode around London, assuming we were carrying the Olympic spirit.
Shame they beaten most of that spirit out of us.