Big turnout for Halloween critical mass, Bristol

28th Oct 2005

Around 200 cyclists and others answered the callout for a Halloween ride in Bristol on Friday night (see http://earthfirst.org.uk/actionreports/?q=node/80). The ride was held in solidarity with the reported clampdown on the 12 year-old monthly London critical mass ride, and to celebrate the sustainable culture & economics of cycling. The callout was issued by an ad hoc collection of individuals involved in peace, transport, climate change and anti-capitalist campaigns. You can read a report on the massive London ride, of upto 2000 riders & others, including mobile samba band, on the UK Indymedia front page here http://www.indymedia.org.uk/
The Bristol ride assembled from 5pm on College Green in central Bristol, on a lovely autumnal evening. A number of participants came in Halloween or other fancy dress, and there were at least 3 mobile sound systems (lots of people had cameras - anyone got any good pictures???).

The ride moved off at 5.45pm, and was escorted by upto 7 bicycle cops, with 2 police vans bringing up the rear. Officers attempted unsuccessfully to establish if there was any planned route, but made no attempt to block the ride from going where it wished. One officer in a car did partially block an intersection on the St James Barton roundabout at about 6.50pm, but backed down when told the ride was finishing soon. No arrests have been reported, although it is believed one participant was threatened with an ASBO (!?) for relieving himself on Bond Street.

The ride was good natured, but very slow! Riders worked well to ensure motorists didn't drive into the mass, and motorists were generally well behaved. It proceeded from College Green around St Augustines Parade, where it was held right up by traffic jams, down south along Redcliffe Way & Redcliffe Hill, over Bedminster bridge, and along York Rd to Temple Meads. It went north along Temple Gate, temple Way and Bond Street, before proceeding up Stokes Croft. It then ended on City Road at about 7.30pm, where a Halloween lantern procession was beginning.

Below is the text of a flyer handed out to participants & passers-by (flyer text, side 2):

This world is not ours to ruin

The wars for oil & war on terror spiral out of control, as the irreversible & negative nature of climate change becomes clearer. What are we to do as we contemplate our polluted and traffic-jammed city streets and our alienated lives?

The response of governments & corporations worldwide has been to clampdown on everyone’s rights, freedoms, and increasingly on any form of dissent. In defiance of reality we build more roads, expand air traffic, and consume even more. This is not sustainable, we need to wake up to the coming big crash. There are no magic wands to wave.

Do you care? We do! We are riding tonight in solidarity with the sudden clampdown after 12 years on the monthly critical mass ride in London. In solidarity with all victims of the car, oil & war culture. We celebrate sustainable alternatives & cultures, and we celebrate the freedoms won for us that we will fight to keep.

Your respect, co-operation & support are appreciated. Why not join in?

For more info speak to those involved, or see for starters:

http://bristol.indymedia.org
http://www.bristolcyclingcampaign.org.uk
http://www.schnews.org.uk
http://www.criticalmasslondon.org.uk
http://www.freedomtoprotest.org.uk