Five years ago, a group of London activists cycled to a “Smash Edo” demonstration against the arms trade in Brighton. With them was Marie Vesco, who was part of the Food not Bombs group which regularly handed out food in Brixton.
14 miles north of Brighton, she was killed on the A23 by two careless drivers who were never prosecuted.
See the Cyclists Remembered blog listing the names of cyclists who have died on the roads due to incidents involving motorised vehicles.
This year 2013, for the fifth anniversary of Marie’s death, on the morning of the 4th of June, family and friends of Marie will meet by the road where Marie was killed and then they will cycle to Portsmouth, camping one night on the way, then arriving at Portsmouth on the 5th. From there, Marie’s family will then take the ferry to France and cycle home to La Rochelle.
We welcome other cyclists who wish to join us; let us know if you want to camp or to stay in the youth hostel.
Most riders will start the journey in London. Some will go to the A23 by train on the 4th and some others will ride there, starting on the 3rd and camping along the way near the A23 where Marie was killed, if it is enough of us! This ride will likely begin in Brixton Oval, opposite the Ritzy cinema, the same place where so many times Marie gave food away with Reclaim Your Food, in spite of the police repression applied on the actions, which included arrests, and the same place from where we set off that day.
Please get in touch to join any of the groups and to book a space in the Youth Hostel should you prefer this option to camping.
The total ride will last from the 3rd to the 5th of June, and some are also planning to come back to London by bike. You can join any of those days, either in London on the 3rd, or Hickstead on the 4th, or the Youth Hostel on the 5th; see google maps.
Some press will be present on the ride, specially at crucial points, and people are welcome to bring cameras with them. If you do join this ride, please make sure you wear a high-visibility vest at least, unless you have arranged to buy one of the vests we are currently printing.
Sharing the Road:
We will strongly suggest to practice assertive and courteous riding at all times (this is not a Critical Mass ride: we share the road in the same way that we expect other road users to do).
This is to try make sure that the whole event runs as smoothly and as safely as possible. We need to be mindful that we are cycling with Marie’s parents, a bereaved family, who are not familiar with English roads so it is important that we all understand the tone of the ride. There may be press around at times and if any motorists complain about us we need to be able to defend our cycling as best practice.
Our practice would therefore include:
1. Always indicate, even when there is no other traffic around (not just at junctions but also when eg. passing parked cars).
2. When passing parked cars allow 1 meter gap in case a car door opens while passing (more if the road is narrow: see point 4 below).
3. Wherever possible cycle a minimum of 1 meter from the curb; at times this means ignoring narrow cycle lanes.
4. If it is not safe for a vehicle behind to overtake (giving 1 meter clearance to the right of the cyclist), move out into the centre of the lane to prevent being overtaken.
5. We do not filter down the left side of traffic when there is a junction ahead, it is safer to take our place in the queue of traffic.
6. The frontmost cyclist (who will also be the navigator) will never get too far ahead of the group.
7. Unless there is no other traffic, we stay in single file.
8. We cycle in clusters of no more than three with a gap of at least three car lengths between each cluster (this is to enable safe overtaking which may not be possible for other vehicles to do if we are in one long line).
9. When roads are bending to the left we move out towards the centre in order to be more visible.
10. We slow our speed where appropriate to allow a vehicle to safely overtake (and generally adapt our cycling to show the same courtesy that we would like from other road users).
Monday 3rd of June 2013:
If there are enough of us, we plan to start from Brixton and follow the same route that Marie and friends took to Redhill, then join the NCR21 to Crawley; all the way using bike routes or secondary roads. The starting time will depend on arrangements with the press the next day, so please check closer to the time if you choose this option.
Tuesday 4th of June:
We plan to pick up the route from where we left off on Monday, to join the main ride that starts in Hickstead to the site where Marie was killed. From there, we will head to Portsmouth, spending a night around half-way. The starting time will depend on arrangements with the press; please check closer to the time.
Wednesday 5th of June:
Again we will continue from where we left off the previous day, to proceed to Portsmouth, where Marie’s family will get on a ferry to continue their journey to La Rochelle.
Some people are camping, others are staying in a hostel, others may be getting back to London by train and others may join us along the way. Either way, you are welcome to get in touch to arrange any of these options with more people. Please do not turn up on the day unannounced and expect to have a place available to you in a hostel or food cooked. Get in touch and do not assume we have heard from you until you have received an answer. Thanks …
What to bring:
At least:a hat, barrier cream, water bottles, long shorts (upper legs get more sun, especially as we are mainly southbound) but be prepared for rain as well!
Wear visible colours and/or hi-viz vests.
Bring bike lights and a lock in case you need them.
Try to avoid carrying anything on your back, use panniers or a bag on a back-rack if you can.
Be responsible for your own bike, carry basic tools, spare cables and, most importantly, at least one spare inner tube and a puncture repair kit.
We are in the process of printing some high visibility vests for the day that will be available to purchase on the day, at around £10 each, just to cover costs.
Please get in touch to book these as well, or bring your own for safety.
Or, if you want to contribute your own printout, again get in touch to get the high-resolution file.
You can contact the ride by email: remembering_marie at lists.aktivix.org
and/or of course posting comments in the facebook page or blog post or forum where you have seen this announced.
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