hopefully this was a one off, but, just thought I’d better warn you - I have checked the web and it sounds like this may have been the regular last friday of the month Critical mass protest.On the way to the Ace last night with a couple of mates and heading up Farringdon road. At the junction with clerkenwell road a large group of cyclists (30 or more?) had blocked the road and were just sitting there blocking any cars from moving. We filtered through the traffic and I went one side of a taxi at the front and my mates the other.
At first the group wouldn’t move for me so I just pointed out the fact that I was on two wheels too and asked them to move over. A few moved and a large guy in front of me just stared me out for a few minutes then moved. I got through and pulled over on the other side of the junction to wait for my mates.
The group were not letting my mates through and were shouting and being aggressive towards them then one of them said “grab his keys” (unfortunately, I couldn’t hear this) so my friend at the front decided that was’nt happening and revved the engine and started slowly pushing his way through them with my other friend following, the cyclists started throwing punches and trying to kick the bikes.
They broke through and started riding toward me which is when I noticed one of the cyclists had dismounted and was running after one of my mates. My mate went to pull up next to me and I shouted to him to keep going which he then did, but, the cyclist managed to grab the back of my mates hoody and tried to yank him off the back of his bike. He went up onto the pavement and was all over the place , but, he managed to stay on the bike (not sure how) and just suffered a ripped hoody, broken indicator and a few scrapes on the fairing - he shot off up the road to a safe distance.
I was still pulled over at this point as I was ready to help my mate if he had been dragged off. I went to pull away and was blocked in by more cyclists. Whilst asking the one in front to move so that I could leave, another one took my keys, I was then wondering what to do should I get off and chase him leaving my bike open to be pushed over or do I stick with the bike and hope they bring the keys back. I opted for telling the rest of the cyclists to get my bloody keys back and once they had moved got off my bike and went after the one with my keys -found him and got them back.
I’m all for a protest ride, but, this was different the atmosphere was really aggressive and they were deliberately trying to antagonise people by not letting them past. At least when we do a protest ride we do actually ride, I’m patient and am quite happy to sit there and wait for a procession or protest ride to go past before I can continue on my way, but, this really was quite scary- seriously outnumbered and god knows what would have happened if my mate had been dragged off his bike…
Still, on the bright side it did get the adrenaline pumping and gave us something new to talk about when we got to the Ace