I have only lived in Manchester for the past few years and I haven't (yet) done any research into the history of cycle campaigning in the area. However, I am fairly certain that Monday night's Space4Cycling ride is the biggest cycle demonstration in a very long time, possibly the biggest ever.
Around 500 people gathered on pedal cycles in St Peter's Square. The start was fairly low key, and the start was announced by a police officer.
The ride was marshaled by people carrying, and occasionally wearing blue GMCC tabards.
The police were holding the traffic well on the main roads,
and had kept the roads around the conference centre clear of traffic.
The ride outside Manchester Town Hall.
The ride then carried on into the Northern Quarter where the smaller roads made policing more difficult, and many critical mass regulars found themselves having to plug side roads.
There were only two sound systems on the ride despite the numbers.
There were a few unusual machines like this rickshaw with it's entourage of youngsters.
The police were also much more effective than Critical Mass at holding the trams for the passing riders.
It was only a short ride and it soon returned to St Peter's Square.
The ride ended quietly, though there was a shout for a bike lift for a group photograph.
As a show of numbers the ride was very successful. However, there has not been much sign of press coverage and there was no clear leadership of the ride, nobody got up to talk about the purpose of the demonstration.
The lessons I learnt from the demo are that we can get large numbers of people out in Manchester to protest about conditions for cycling. However, we need to make sure someone is primed to welcome the riders and we need to make more of an effort to get the press involved to report on this growing groundswell of protest.