There were just 40 on the 2019 Christmas Day Ride, but we think numbers could be doubled on the 2020 ride if we give it "Spokes - London Cycling" branding.
This is a video clip of the penny farthing that joined us on this year's ride:
The 2019 ride was our Dog & Bell Crew AGM and it was certainly quorate, thanks to Bill, Jane, Nigel, Samuel, Lola, Julie, WF Jane, Katja, Sion, Helen & Michael! But the only business we conducted was to agree to carry out the ride without insurance and to note that it has been difficult for many people to find out about the ride. However, what was not noted is that there might be a correlation between these two things!
We find ourselves in chicken end egg situation. When setting up a cycling club, which comes first, insurance or paid-up members? However, that doesn't stop cycling clubs from being formed and evidence for this can be found at https://bigfootcc.co.uk/about/club-history/:
"Bigfoot Cycle Club was formed in November 2004 by the customers and founding owner of the old Bigfoot Bikes (replaced by Panagua Bikes in 2013) in Hayes, Bromley.
For some time they had been organising informal training rides for a Hayes to Paris ride and off-road rides. It was decided to have a more formal arrangement to promote these rides and arrange insurance. Although the club was called Bigfoot Bike Club its finance and organisation were kept separate from the shop."
Another example is the reestablishment of Barry Mason's social cycling club following his death in 2011. Informal rides have been taking place for many years and at some point we will need to introduce a "formal arrangement to promote these rides and arrange insurance". The Christmas Day Ride is the forum we can use to do this, as it can be our AGM. However, with our membership base being very widely dispersed, we need to improve communications before we can act as a single group. Hopefully the recent setting up of the Cyclists in Southwark and 2020 Christmas Day Ride WhatsApp groups will help us achieve this.
It was disappointing that we were not supported by LCC, Cycling UK, British Cycling and Tower Hamlets Wheelers. However and advert had appears in the Lewisham Cyclists Facebook pace and there were 11 of us, including several from Waltham Forest, who met for the ride at Cutty Sark Gardens:
At the Southwark Needle our numbers were augmented to about 40:
We started the ride by visiting the Snowmen statues in More London, though we were told to push are bikes there:
We then went to see the equestrian statue of Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, where we expected to see a nosebag placed around the horse's neck, which had always been there in previous years. It had been observed (http://www.peterberthoud.co.uk/blog/17032018145928-duke-of-cambridge-put...) that "the plinth is quite high, so ladders or a small cherry picker would be needed to place items on and beneath the statue and in a high security area like Whitehall this must have been officially sanctioned."
But there was great consternation and amusement when we found it wan't there this year. Perhaps someone is trying to make the point to us that just because the Dog & Bell Crew and the Christmas Day Ride have always happened in the past doesn't mean that they will necessarily go on for ever!
We then were shown the miniature version of St Paul's Cathedral on Vauxhall Bridge:
At this point there were some disagreements amongst the group as to whether, with such a large group, we should have been doing 'corking' (https://criticalmass.fandom.com/wiki/Corking).
When we reached Putney, about 16 of us (mainly a group of Italians and a group of north Londoners) went in to the Duke Head in Putney and samples the mulled wine. We were rather late by the time we reached the Beirut Cafe, so there were then just four of us, mainly from Waltham Forest. However, we noted that the food was of an excellent standard and the four of us did share contact details and are proposing to support the running of the ride again next year.