Manchester Critical Mass, August 2013
Riding for Jaye (and each other).
This month's Critical Mass ride was very special. Following the death of Jaye Bloomfield, several of us had exchanged messages with her partner Gemma about the possibility of commemorating Jaye on the ride. Gemma had suggested that participants could wear red, Jaye's favourite colour and the invitation went out with that in mind.
On the day the turnout was far larger than usual and Gemma herself came to the ride.
After Kieran's usual introduction to riding Critical Mass for new riders, Gemma spoke, amongst other things, about Jaye and their love of cycling and how important it had been to them both. This was followed by a minute's silence and then the ride moved off.
Many of the riders had turned up wearing red, and this professional bike sound system was painted bright red.
With such a large turnout, estimates varied between 200 and 300 people, and the dominance of the colour red, the ride made a real impact as it rolled out.
The ride felt assertive and collective with everyone looking out for each other and working with the traffic to guide everyone through safely.
You can get a feeling for the size of the ride from these two photos, this looking forward
and this looking back from the same position.
The ride seemed to include all sorts of people on all sorts of machines
from a BMX stunt rider dancing at the lights
to this guy on his unicycle.
& Kat had this wonderful spoof rear number plate
As daylight turned towards dusk the ride turned north along Oxford Road
and into Hulme, finishing up at Hulme Park.
Whilst there was a lot of sadness the ride seemed to celebrate our common experience of the joy of cycling.
Thanks to everyone who worked hard to make it work.