Sunday, June 23, 2013

Critical Mass Rome 2013

The latest edition, the 10th in actual fact, of our annual bike fest in Rome has been a great treat for cyclists from all around the world. It started off on Friday the 31st May and finished 2 days later at the sea side, 40 kilometres from the city centre.

As usual I was there, although this year with my son which was going to prove a lot more difficult than expected. The crowd had started to gather by 4pm at the agreed meeting point for the events major gathering on Saterday 1st June at Romes Auditorium. There must have been at least 3 thousand cyclists by the time I arrived with my son in the baby seat behind. The wethear had not been kind to us and lots of cyclists had delayed there arrival to see what the weather had in store in. Well no body could know that by 6pm, the skies would turn black and lighting would strike down around us.

After what seemed an hour, the mass finally started moving (perhaps the organisers had gotten word of the impending storm!) and we cycled from the Auditorium past the Olympic Stadium. Stopping traffic as we passed, accompanied by frustrated drivers hooting their horns and impatient scooters weaving their way through us, we reached the bottom of the hill (more like a mountain by international standards) where I lived.

It was only a few hours since I had left home to join my favourite cycling event of the year but as I was with my son this time, I didn't feel like taking any chances and so decided to cycle home. It as at this point that I realised what a great spot I had found to shoot some video of the event as I was at the front and basically got the entire hord of cyclists on film as they cycled past. After the last few had passed me and I had taken some photos of a guy wearing rim-hormed glasses with a really nice vintage red colnago (see pic), I decided to start the ride home up-hill.

What a bad idea! As soon as I had set off, the rain started. No sooner had I gotten to the first stage (I do my ride home in stages as it kind of resembles a mini Giro d'Italia for me) than the thunder came. This really upset me as I knew my son was in danger of getting hurt. I did what I could though and covered him as best a father cycling uphill in the rain can when all of a sudden a motorist pulled up along side me and offered help.

"Can we give you a lift!" At first I started to say thanks but I can manage when I thought about my little boy on the back of the bicycle getting wet and then asked them to stop up ahead. They did and when I said to them that I didn't live far and if they could follow me home, with my son in the car, they agreed. Well needless to say my wife wasn't at all impressed with my ingeniuty at being able to get both my bike and our son home safely. As if I was going to leave my bike on the side of the road and hop in a car with some stranger! Ha.

Anyway, the rest of the week was spent relating the predicament I found myself in that day to relatives and trying to justify my actions. Atleast I still got my bike (and my son).

Till next time.

Glenn Newland
aka. The Red Bicycle