There were thunderstorms in the morning, but by the time we assembled on the common in the evening we had beautiful sunshine. This was much warmer than the previous 2 years (2011 and 2012). 103 riders left the common, spreading our message to the people of Southampton!
It was another cold evening, but over 100 cyclists joined the ride on June 8. 98 people were there at the start (some sharing bikes), and a further 8 people joined while the ride was in progress, so there were 106 altogether. The ride began with a minute's silence in memory of Mark Brummell, who was killed by a car driver while cycling in the New Forest. The driver was given a 12 month driving ban. Mark was a great character among Southampton's cycling community; a long-standing and valued member of the Cycling Campaign and CTC, and a legendary bike mechanic who built and restored bikes for numerous friends. A small comfort is that Mark died doing something he loved – riding his bike on a beautiful summer afternoon.
This ride was a great opportunity to remember a friend and at the same time make a huge noise about making our roads safe for cyclists.
Despite a perishingly cold evening, a hardy 143 cyclists took to the streets on June 10, perhaps inspired by the kerfuffle in nearby Portsmouth which dominated local media during the preceding week. Riders were colourful and joyous as they enjoyed the classic 6 mile tour of the city.
2010's Southampton ride took place again in warm sunshine after an overcast day that kept everyone guessing. Around 130 souls set off from the Common, ranging from 7-months old to the considerably more mature! For the first time police cyclists rode with us, and their presence was much appreciated. It was smiles all round as we took our usual tour of the city's sights, followed by an extended circuit around the western side of the Common before returning to catch the last rays of sun. Thanks to all riders for turning out and flexing creativity with awesome body paint, bike decoration and costumes!
Southampton had another great ride in 2009! Leading up to the ride, the local media gave much good coverage including a number of live to air pieces for the local BBC radio station. On a dry and 'warm enough' evening 150 riders attended. The convoy was led in fine style by a pair of Penny Farthings dating from the 1890s. We felt that these vehicles from a time before the internal combustion engine neatly debunked the foolish idea that roads are made for cars! Helped by the stately pace of the vintage bikes, the ride stayed closely bunched together which gave a sense of unity. We were greeted warmly by bystanders as we passed, and most car drivers were tolerant (though there were the odd few aggressive exceptions). Though numbers were about the same as last year, it seemed to me there was a greater show of nakedness this time, so hoorah for Southampton riders!
The 2008 ride took place on 6 June and was a great success once more. In sunny weather, in excess of 156 riders enjoyed an extensive tour of the city, and were warmly greeted by onlookers. There was positive coverage in the local press.
Southampton had a really successful first ride in 2007, with 102 riders setting off. The Police allowed us to ride naked, and confirmed no complaints from the public. The riders experienced cheers and smiles as we completed a 6 mile tour of the City. The threatened rain held off long enough for us to finish the ride and even to have leisurely naked picnic at the finish. A great evening!