29 October 2010

San Francisco Critical Mass - From '09 to '10

In a few hours the streets of San Francisco will be filled with bicycles. This year's Halloween Critical Mass gets underway tonight.

I rode in the Critical Mass last year - the video above is about the event - and man, it would be cool to be back to ride this year. In lieu of being there, I watch the film.

While I remain critical of critical mass, there are many great examples of positive versions. Budapest springs to mind.

San Francisco's version is somehow unique and special

Check out the Flickr set about the ride, too.

The music in the video is by a friend of mine, Andy, in the UK. Atlum Schema is the name. Check it out at www.atlumschema.co.uk. This song of his seems to fit the video so perfectly.


Green Idea Factory said...

Mikael, if it was the 1970's and the bike modal share was low (and getting lower) in Copenhagen, and a few people started doing what we call a Critical Mass (CM), you would be all over it, calling them Citizen Cyclists, foaming at the mouth with appreciation.

It's clear to me that CM did more for urban cycling in N. America than any other single... uh, thing, and it made all the various -Chic permutations possible.

Jangomango said...

Surely the cars honking their horn ect would know that the critical mass was on a certain day and not drive?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of SF, we finally get an update on the bike share program: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=18789

Etienne de Briquenell said...

Every set of motorists Critical Mass block here in Melbourne is just another set of motorists who'll be foaming at the mouth when they next see a cyclist, and unfortunately that spite can be directed at non-participants like myself. I've also seen trams and busses held up by these indiscriminate corkings. Are they out to punish public transport users as well?

I'm not some fuddy-duddy against movements like Critical Mass, but I doubt a lot of the participants have really thought through the implications of their actions. I also challenge the effectiveness of the campaign here over the past two decades. Activism may raise awareness of certain issues, but done the wrong way it can also be self-defeating. Annoying the hell out of motorists will not make the roads any safer for the rest of us. Cycling culture is everyday people getting around on their bikes without trying to make a statement. I believe - and shoot me down if you think I'm wrong - that CM does nothing to encourage this.

m e l i g r o s a said...

last year was badass. besos!

didrik said...

@ Jangomango
Sadly, they do not. Even though this event has been happening every month on the same day for, what, 18 years now in SF.

I wonder if the non-cycling parts of society would see CM differently if the mass actually stopped at traffic lights and stayed on the correct side of the street. Blocking traffic with the sheer mass of bike traffic is one thing. Holding up people trying to get home at the end of the week by holding them through 6 green-light cycles and screaming at them whilst doing so is rude.

Joseph E said...

San Francisco's Critical Mass is special because it founded the whole international movement in 1992: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Mass

ZA said...

You might like to know about a major sport event in my city of SF just yesterday. Our baseball team won the 'World Series' for the first time in 56 years. In a moment of great civic pride, the team paraded to City Hall to receive the key to the city.

1. It seriously challenged the BART network with a possible new record of 400,000 passengers.


2. I, like many others, found the bicycle indispensable to deal with crowded streets, disrupted surface transit, clogged subways, and overwhelmed cellphone networks.


3. Pictures of the event:


Adrienne Johnson said...

I can't believe it has been a year! SFCM is indeed its own beast : ) It happens every month for years and years and the City has yet to implode under the strain

Hope all is well for you!! We would love to see you again!