With the 1000 Km Ride done, our attention was switched to the ACC Protest Ride to Parliament as StoneY (the organiser) had requested that Ulysses conduct the Ride Briefings at the Papakowhai & Avalon start points. This was supposedly because Ulysses are perceived to be ‘mature and responsible’ riders, (they obviously didn’t have me in mind) as well as commonly being involved in and conducting group rides.
After initial contact I passed this off to Ken (Wgtn Rides Committee) & Jim (Wgtn Co-Ordinator and National Committee) so I could help out at parliament, but as Jim was involved with the contingent meeting the ACC Minister (Nyks Myth), I had to take over the Avalon job and subsequent to attending the Volunteer Meeting at the Parrot ‘n Jigger, it became apparent to Ken & I that a little more was required.
With the primary objective being no accidents or incidents we felt the best option was to break the ride down to groups of 200 or so with leaders to control the pace and, as briefing the multitude would most likely be out of the question, a written leaflet was prepared to handout as riders arrived. Marshals were organised to manage the parking in order to get as many bikes into the available space …… and it all turned to shit 30 minutes from departure time on Tuesday when the police said, “get them on the road in one group and get them to the stadium.”….so luckily Ken had obtained a couple of megaphones, just in case, and we had to wing-it!
It was thought that if we got 3,000 bikes, the protest would be considered a success and as the riders starting rolling in on Tuesday it was looking pretty good. By the time we got the bikes moving, we had 3,500+ at Papakowhai and 1,500 – 2,000 at Avalon. On top of that it is estimated about 600 bikes went straight to parliament and up to 1,000 hadn’t stopped at Papakowhai, opting to continue straight to the stadium. Bikes were still departing from Papakowhai when the first ones were arriving at the stadium and, depending on what report is listened to, we ended up with 9,000 to 12,000 people at parliament which included pillions and suits who were already in town and had walked.
I was last to roll out of Avalon with an ambulance behind me in the left lane and a cop beside him in the right, blocking all traffic from coming through on us. Police were stationed and holding traffic at all the lights and on-ramps and when the lights went red as the last riders approached, we were waved on through.
It wasn’t until we got onto the motorway that we encountered other vehicles and at this point the volume of bikes was so great that we couldn’t merge and the two left lanes were chock full of bikes. There were also many bikes which had stopped along the way to take photos (although a few American branded aircooled ones had overheated), and as we rolled into the stadium, the concourse was packed with bikes and the fences were lined with riders.
We made our way to Parliament for the official proceedings and probably came away from the day with more questions than answers and conspiracy theories run rife. With no accidents and no arrests, the day was considered a success. The number of bikes ensured it was a spectacle that will take a long time to be bettered as riders came from all over the country and I had the pleasure to host Jantar, up from Alexandra, but time will tell as to the real outcome of this week.
The most impressive thing about the day is how everyone worked together. The police were awesome, the traffic patient and courteous and the riders were generally well behaved.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.