Finishing work late, meant to catch the fellow cyclists we had to race it down to Waterloo bridge from Muswell Hill in record time. The air was crisp and cold - the kind of cold you wish there was some kind of woolly nose hat. The ride to the Critical Mass meeting point was very pleasant. I was slightly worried, though due to the combination of massive traffic once we reached euston road plus my cycling companion wearing no helmet.
We reached Southbank at 6:40 ish, and were glad to see that critical mass was still there, with bike lights flashing, a sound system and Dave the poet on his amazingly decorated bike machine. We joined the mass, waved at Jason's familiar smiley face and scanned the area to see if any more Velocity /velo lovers were around. At around 7 the mass headed off for the monthly ride in London city.
It was quite soon that the group got divided due to some aggressive drivers, but the splinter soon rejoined near Westminster. That's when the bigger group went round the intersection a few times to give the chance to the "splinter" to rejoin. Once this happened, there was a joyful horn blowing, a cheer and soon after the joyful bike-lifts! hooray for bicycles! these critical mass cyclists always manage to put a smile on my face!
A big big thank you to the cyclists corking*. They seemed polite and the ride felt so secure - the cars did not really have to wait for ages and the guys corking really ensured a smooth and safe flow for us. There was one thing, though that really disappointed me and this was the taxi drivers. One in particular driving the opposite direction - he speeded up, slightly getting in the other lane where critical mass was heading; he stuck his head out of the window shouting out "you bunch of losers!". Of course he did not stop to further develop his point, but drove like a maniac contra-flow. Now, why he thinks we are a bunch of losers i am not sure - we were cycling, getting our bodies fit, enjoying the city at night, helped each other because we had a common love of cycling. To add to my disappointment a row of taxis overtook us and to be honest i had a moment thinking "is this a set up of taxi Vs bikes" as on the quiet road by the park the only vehicles you could see were bicycles and taxis: one side bikes, the other taxis. The drivers though just shouted some abuse, did some threatening mindless driving and then raced away.
Today, i saw a message from a fellow critical mass cyclist giving the number plate of an aggressive driver (http://www.criticalmasslondon.org.uk/text/report29-01-2010.html) and i really hope this attitude from taxi drivers ends!
*Corking - Corking is a tactic used to prevent traffic from entering the path of the cyclists.