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G8 Bike Ride 2005


Someone who had put together a slideshow about the G8 Bike Ride recently dug it out and put it on YouTube.


I recently took over the dormant 2005 G8 Bike Ride blog and converted it into a static page to serve as a historical record of the ride, The static page is available on the G8 Bike Ride website which I am still maintaining.


The resistg82005 list at riseup is still going (with 459 subscribers!) and there was a September post by "revolting" about a preparatory meeting for an anti-G8 bicycle caravan (West) to the 2007 G8 Summit in Germany. There is already a route proposal taking in Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp, Breda, Nijmegan, Munster, Osnabruk, Bramsche, Olenburg, Bremen, Hamburg and Wismar. In fact the meeting actually took place this very weekend in Ghent. If I hear about a website I may link to it from (though that would mean relegating the current site to a 2005 archive subdirectory with resulting link breakage).


The G8 Bike Ride website is still getting a fair amount of traffic, helped no doubt by the fact that Google have elevated some of the pages to "medium" PageRank. I think it is worth renewing the domain and paying the £5 per year hosting fee for the time being.

Ben Mellor, who joined the G8 Bike Ride last summer as part of a longer bicycle tour of the UK, will be showing a work in progress based on the ride at Contact theatre in Manchester from 22nd to 24th of June. He mentions it in his Changing Cycles blog.


Someone has announced dates for a cycle caravan from Berlin to Russia. The plan is to leave Berlin on 2006-06-06 and arrive in St. Petersburg on 2006-07-07. These details were posted on a cycle caravan wiki page.


Lancaster University seemed almost deserted on 2005-06-27 when the G8 Bike Ride stopped in on the way to Penrith, but the visit did not go unnoticed! Check out this blog entry.


At a meeting last weekend in Nottingham, a group of 15 riders from the 2005 G8 Bike Ride agreed to work together as a collective called Bicycology to plan similar events in the future. Discussions focused on a UK bicycle roadshow to take place during August 2006. There was still some interest in a caravan to Russia but the idea was put on the back burner while people try to make contact with similarly motivated groups in mainland Europe.


The G8 Bike Ride featured in a documentary called G8: Can You Hear Us?


A couple of weeks ago at the London Anarchist Bookfair there was a meeting titled "G8 Bike Ride: Lessons Learned and Plans for 2006". About 20 people attended the meeting, most of whom were on the 2005 ride. The discussion was not sufficiently focused to make much progress on details but it was hopefully useful in getting people to start thinking about things.

We had a show of hands to judge the level of support for the two main ideas, which are basically a UK bike tour (Roadshow) and a ride to Russia (Caravan). It seems like there were about 15 people interested in each, which obviously means some people are interested in both. Could we do both? It was suggested that if the Roadshow was early enough in the year then it could also serve as a recruitment tour for the Caravan. The problem with this is that it limits the time available to prepare for the Roadshow.

As far as the Caravan is concerned, there was a strong feeling that it would only be viable if it was part of a European plan. Some people said that they would try to contact groups on the continent to find out what has been discussed. Another thing to find out is the date of the Summit - it seems that nobody knows yet. Someone involved with Dissent talked a little about Russian visa requirements - it may be that a lot of people end up going only as far as a camp at the Russian border.

For the Road show it is a matter of making contact with people in suitable locations who can help coordinate stuff and then choosing a route that takes in as many of the places as possible. People should be starting to work on this now. There was some discussion about the purpose of the Roadshow. Ideas ranged from G8 Summit awareness raising to bicycle safety training and repair workshops.

There will be an opportunity to have more substantial discussions when we meet at The SUMAC Centre in Nottingham on the weekend of Nov 11th. There was a suggestion to keep things focused by having separate sessions for the two plans (probably sequential so people can attend both). There will also be plenty of time for socialising!


The Internet Archive contains a short film of the 2005 G8 Bike Ride leaving London.

The Tayside and Fife Courier reported the disruption caused by cyclists on the opening day of the summit.


Photographs taken by people on the G8 Bike Ride are available at Club Photo.


In the Stirling campsite I came across a bike trailer with a display board that was something to do with the Blossom Bike Tour.


The G8 Bike Ride was a great success. About 70 riders reached Scotland and then took part in a week of action with the main base being at the rural convergence centre in Stirling.


There were only four people present at the planning meeting in Coventry and we didn't get a great deal done. However, we definitely have friendly hosts at the Coventry Peace House, where they have a very well equipped bicycle workshop, good catering facilities, and plenty of space to sleep. Someone there is liaising with local anti-airport campaigners with a view to a joint action when we arrive.


While I was out in Wales recently I bumped into Brian at CAT and we had a chat about websites. Apparently there is some confusion and people have been thinking that "G8 Bike Ride" and "G8 Cycle Caravan" are two different events. I understand the confusion and it is a somewhat unfortunate situation but it is not easy to merge them so we will just have to rely on cross linking. I maintain the G8 Bike Ride website and have just made a major change to it, moving the bulk of the content to within my zenatode site so I can maintain it using my standard content management system. Meanwhile, the new OpenMute based site I was hoping to have running by now remains to be configured and I am about ready to give up on it.


I had sent an email to the Clown Army to see if there was any chance of a rendezvous on the ride. I just received a reply from Coco Latte and unfortunately our paths will not cross until the summit. They will be touring with the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination and the dates have been announced.


I spent Sunday afternoon and evening at Nine Ladies in the Peak District, one of the places we plan to camp on the ride. There were a few groups of people camping near the stones and we went for a walk to Doll Tor before returning to the main camp for some drumming. Hopefully it will be a bit warmer in June!

Judging by the Manchester Critical Mass website we should be able to rely on getting a good reception when we arrive there!

I have still not got the new website fully operational but am hoping to have progress to report at the Coventry meeting on Saturday.

Finally, I received an email from Ellie de Court at Grampian TV. She is doing preliminary research for a television program about G8 protests. I phoned her for a brief chat and will mention it at the meeting.


Huw from Manchester has posted something to the list offering us the use of a bicycle workshop for any repairs we need doing when we stop there. He is currently helping set up a radical bike co-op called Ride Manchester - nice one Huw!

Also, someone from the Highland Cycle Campaign has made an interesting suggestion for a place to stay in Edinburgh.

I just realised that the recent furore over the proposed M74 completion in Glasgow provides some interesting opportunities for the bike ride. Almost 100 people had committed themselves to non-violent direct action within hours of the controversial decision by Transport Minister Nicol Stephen to overrule the recommendation of a public enquiry.


The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA) are increasingly active in the run-up to the G8 summit and I heard some time ago that they were interested in meeting up with the bike ride.


The third national planning meeting will take place at 12:00 on 2005-04-02 at the Coventry Peace House (see message on mailing list).

The fourth national meeting may well take place at either RampART or LARC on 2005-04-30, and the following day there will be a benefit gig at RampART. Also, the preceding day is Critical Mass, so people may want to get down to London for the Friday and make a weekend of it.

Next Sunday (Easter) I will be up at Nine Ladies with my friend Malcolm for a musical gathering, and I will take the opportunity to check out the place and talk to people about hosting.

Yesterday I was in London with fifty thousand or so other demonstrators marking the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. I was helping Tony with the Soapbox Trike and distributing flyers advertising the bike ride. Later I went along to the recently occupied UCL building on Gower Street (now known as the "Institute for Autonomy") and left some more flyers there.


I am on the case regarding the new g8bikeride website. At the moment it is in testing but can be accessed at - it uses basically the same system as this RampART website.


I have just returned from eight days in Wales without Internet access and have a lot of catching up to do. One thing I have noticed though is a new website covering the planned blockade of Faslane.


On Sunday I struggled down to Brighton for the second national planning meeting at the Cowley Club. Due to engineering works I had to negotiate two separate replacement bus services and what should have taken about an hour and a half turned into a four and a half hour epic. But it was worth it. We had a productive meeting and agreed on a route/schedule which I have now put up on the website and which will be re-confirmed in a couple of weeks once we are sure about hosting arrangements.

I have agreed to liaise with someone about hosting arrangements in Coventry and Nottingham, and also to sort out arrangements for the third national planning meeting which we hope to hold in Coventry in about a month.

I will also be looking at getting a wiki set up to facilitate collaborative planning, and I am considering using Open Mute.


From the recent stuff posted on the mailing list I can see that people have been spending time doing some detailed route planning, which is cool because I have been under a lot of pressure recently and was stressing out about it not getting done.

The second national planning meeting is coming up on Sunday at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton. It has been suggested that people arrive at 12:00 and there should be food ready to serve from 14:00. I was going to try to get an agenda together but have not done it yet. What would be good though is if people brought along any maps they have, large sheets of paper, pens etc.

Dave Horton from Lancaster has posted to the list about some other plans for cycling to the G8. TIDAL and Jubilee Debt Campaign are working together to promote the 2005 Jubilee G8 bike rides. The intention is that a number of independently organised rides will converge in Edinburgh for the Make Poverty History event on 2005-07-02.


I was down in London yesterday for the Kyoto march and it went very well. I pedalled Tony's Soapbox the whole route and we got a lot of interest in the bike ride. The next major event will be the planning meeting in Brighton on 2005-02-27.


There are now 59 people subscribed to the g8bikeride mailing list and there seems to be a renewed interest in the route. Another good thing is that there will be an excellent opportunity to publicise the ride at the Kyoto March on 2005-02-12 in London. In fact the excellent Soapbox trike and crew will be there for just that purpose, and if anyone can come along to help hand out flyers etc then that would be cool. This all ties together nicely because climate change will be one of the big issues at the G8 summit. The Kyoto March is organised by Campaign against Climate Change.


It has been very quiet on the mailing list over Christmas - hopefully things will start picking up soon in preparation for the February meeting in Brighton. I did get an email a couple of days ago from "Marmalade", who was keen for the ride to leave London significantly earlier, to reach Sheffield in time for the 2005-06-16 G8 JHA meeting. I pointed out that this would probably not be practical for most people, but that it might be possible for an advance party to head up to Sheffield in time for the meeting and then stay there to help with preparations for the arrival of the main ride.

I have not thought any more about the route, but someone suggested that it might be better to pass to the west of Nottingham rather than the east. I must start studying the national cycle network.


I have just been playing with the AA route planner, trying to find a reasonable way to get from London to Glasgow. The suggested route avoiding motorways is 409.4 miles but once you start looking for places to stop the total distance starts to mount up. I have worked out a route with ten stopping points. Starting from London, here are the stage distances in miles to each stop:

The average distance per stage is 42.8 miles for a total of 470.8 miles. The stage from Grantham to Sheffield is the longest at 57.6 miles but I am imagining a rest day there to recover. If we had no other rest days then it would take a total of twelve days to get from London to Glasgow. This is just a suggestion, please try to improve on it! In particular, this route takes no account of the type of roads we would be on (except that it obviously avoids motorways). I really need to start looking at the National Cycle Network on the Sustrans website. If everyone is feeling fit towards the end of the ride we could perhaps combine the last two stages. We would save 3.0 miles by not detouring into Douglas for a combined stage of 70.6 miles (again with a rest day in Glasgow to recover). I have not yet dared to investigate the route beyond Glasgow!

I might be able to sort out a cool place to stay in Biggleswade. Sheffield should not be too much trouble and it looks like we have Lancaster covered. If you know any friendly people in any of the other towns perhaps you could ask them what they would think about hosting a bunch of sweaty cyclists:-)


On 2004-11-26 a guy called Joe started a thread on the G8 Alternatives bulletin board by posting the content of an email he had sent to Tayside Police in which he revealed some of what he knew about protest actions being planned around the G8 Summit. This is what he said about the G8 Bike Ride:

The G8 bikeride is growing in strength. People are talking about it all over Europe. I think the prospect of an expensive, polluting flight to Scotland has had this effect.

Joe probably did this with the best of intentions, believing that he was not revealing anything that was not already in the public domain, but there are many people who (understandably) took exception. Perhaps there are people talking about the bike ride all over Europe but I wasn't aware of it.


There is a lot to report since my last update. To start with, activists in Lancaster expressed disappointment that our proposed route missed them out. Since they are keen to give us a warm welcome it seems like we are veering towards a Westerly route which would not include Newcastle.

Our friends in Brighton have organised a Sunday roast at the Cowley Club on 2005-02-27 in order for people to be able to get together again and discuss plans (late February, not early as I hinted in a previous entry).

Today the Government unveiled its shiny new G8 Gleneagles 2005 website which provides some useful information. For example, I now know that the G8 Justice and Interior Ministers meeting in Sheffield will be over two days from 2005-06-16. We will not even have set off from London then so we won't be able to drop in but that is OK. In fact it might work out in terms of being able to pre-publicise the arrival of the ride in Sheffield.

Someone on the cm-london list has suggested a bike ride from London to Stonehenge for the Solstice. This would only take a couple of days but if it happens it will be leaving London about the same time as the G8 ride. This is not necessarily a problem since it is not likely that many people would want to do both. But if there are any fast riders coming up from the South West they might like to do the Stonehenge thing and then head straight North, catching the main group up somewhere around Nottingham perhaps?

Finally, I just found out that someone I know has recently done a ride from John O'Groats to Lands End with a group dressed as "grannies" to raise money for a cancer charity. He did a website for it with some amusing photos, see gogrannygo.


I got to Critical Mass early on Friday and talked to a few people who expressed an interest in the bike ride. On Saturday I went to a Dissent! meeting at the Anarchist Bookfair and then on to our meeting at LSE. There were about a dozen people present and the discussions were very productive. Other good news is that the G8 Cycle Caravan website is now online and under active development.


The seed of the idea for a bike ride to the G8 has germinated and there are people who are keen to see it grow and flourish. On the Internet the primary forum for discussion (as far as I am aware) is the g8bikeride list at riseup. From now on (until further notice), when I use the term "we" on this page I am referring to what I understand to be the consensus of the list subscribers.

So, we have organised a meeting on 2004-11-27 at 16:15 in room D209, London School of Economics, Clement House, Aldwych. We have been talking about things like support vehicles, mobile kitchen, spare bikes etc. There has been some preliminary discussion of the route, such as whether to use the National Cycle Network. There may be people wanting to do the ride on trikes or 4 wheelers, so we might not be able to do some of the smaller cycle paths.

As to the name of the venture, I registered based on the name of the mailing list which preceded it. I have had a website up for a few weeks now and not only has it been indexed by Google but there are are already a few links to it from other sites. Someone else has registered and and is working on a website.

I went up to Club 85 last night for the Brainpunchers II G8 benefit gig. There were a couple of serious cyclists there who are planning a ride to China. They might be interested in the G8 ride/caravan and I promised to get some flyers up to Club 85 when we have any. Speaking of which, I am waiting for some artwork which I "commissioned" (in exchange for an old bike). It might be ready and scanned for the meeting but I don't think I will have time to print any stickers.

I will also be on the 2004-11-26 critical mass in London, and will try to get to the NFT cafe for 17:00 if anyone wants to meet there before the ride.


Trident Ploughshares and Scottish CND are organising a blockade of Faslane nuclear submarine base on the 4th of July, just two days before the G8 Summit at Gleneagles. I am wondering whether it would be possible to join the blockade and then cycle on to the G8? The AA Route Planner gives a distance of 61.3 miles (avoiding motorways) which would be feasible to do in a day, specially for people who had cycled up from the south and become really fit in the process!

Speaking of mileage, several people have asked how many miles per day we would be doing. I am thinking something like 40, but it really depends on who is doing it. A fit group of riders could easily manage 80 miles per day but I think would be a bit excessive. With a target of 40 miles per day it would take about 10 days from London, excluding rest days.

I am currently pursuing some ideas for accommodation and thinking about a card or sticker to publicise the website.


There are now 12 people subscribed to the mailing list including someone who has done a Rome to London ride. Someone else asked if anyone would want to cycle back from Scotland as well!

The Cambridge Action Network have created a carpool/bikepool website to help people get together for travelling up to the G8. To test the system and get some feedback they have set it up to facilitate carpooling for the December Dissent! meeting in Newcastle.


I have mentioned the bike ride idea to a few people and have been getting a generally positive reaction. I still have a few more things to sort out, but some time this week I will send an email out to various groups in an attempt to get people to link to the website and join the mailing list.


I registered the domain name and put up a website. Ian Gregory 2010