Protestors and police never seem to be bosom buddies, especially when there is an anarchic flavour to their activity. London is no exception, where the Met police really aren't fond of the capital's monthly 'Critical Mass' bike protest rides.
Each one starts off at Waterloo, and each time the destination is deliberately not agreed in advance. As big fans of order and discipline, it's no surprise that this kind of free-wheeling attitude unsettles your average copper. Even the London critical mass website starts off with the inconclusive "Who are we and what are our aims? We are not sure, opinions seem to differ."
In September 2005, officers handed out leaflets warning that the cyclists taking part were liable for prosecution. The Public Order Act insists that the routes of protests need prior permission from the boys in blue, but there's a bit of a legal set-to over whether the bike rides may be covered by an exception in the law for commmonly held events. (These rides have been held every month for over 13 years, which is fairly common, let's face it).
Now it's getting serious. In a legal, year-long version of 'top trumps', the row may at last reach its climax. Des Kay, on behalf of those who take part, initially managed to persuade the High Court that the rides can continue, but then the police retaliated by getting the Court of Appeal to overturn that ruling. So Des is now going to the top - the House of Lords.
So will next month's Naked Bike Ride be affected by all this? We don't want to have to wait for that or the other more humdrum Bike Week events, so we're going to turn up at the next critical mass to show support before we all get arrested. Meet at 6.30pm this Friday under Waterloo Bridge. Destination unknown. If you see a policeman, pedal faster.
Image from holisticgeek's photostream