Get Yours or Go Home…

The Life and Times of Grandpa Parm & Scheme-On

Critical Mass…

Critical Mass…
Saving the World Two Wheels at a Time???
(News, Politics, Life)


San Francisco, CA, 10/4/08 – If I was hip enough to mash through the city on a fixed-gear, skidding down hills, weaving through traffic, tourists, and the homeless, all while drinking a Pabst and smoking a P-Funk, I would be that much cooler, I would get around that much faster, and I could hang out at Dolores Park on Sundays with a 22oz. and a bandana around my neck, but to be honest, I have enough close calls just fucking walking that I would probably end up dead under a Muni bus within a week. That being said, unfortunately I was not in attendance Friday, September 25th, 1992 at 6pm when a couple dozen cyclists took to the streets of SF to participate in an event, which at that time was known as “Commute Clot”. With hopes of drawing attention to how unfriendly the city was to bicyclists, this group of vigilantes reclaimed the streets for the evening. Soon after, Ted White’s documentary about bike culture overseas, Return of the Scorcher, effectively changed the name of the event, which is now attended by thousands upon thousands of cyclists every month in over 300 cities worldwide, to “Critical Mass”. The documentary depicted the Chinese phenomenon where traffic would “bunch up” at intersections without signals until the backlog reached a “critical mass”, at which point that mass would move through the intersection in an orderly manner. As the event has grown over the years the mass rides have been perceived in many different ways. Some see Critical Mass as a monthly environmental political-protest, characterized as part of a social movement, while others insist that the event is simply a “celebration” or spontaneous gathering. This allows Critical Mass to argue a legal position that its events can occur without advance notification of local police. As you can imagine, thousands of bicyclists taking over downtown areas of cities on a Friday at rush hour can cause some serious traffic issues and piss a lot of people off. Many critics have claimed that Critical Mass is a deliberate attempt to obstruct automotive traffic and disrupt normal city functions, which have caused numerous incidents between cyclists and motorists or authorities resulting in violence and arrests. So whether our two-wheeling friends are out there to save the world, disrupt societal functions, or just take a peaceful ride, come the last Friday of every month… the situation is critical.

Get Critical or Go Home…


October 5, 2008 - Posted by | Life, News, Politicos | , , , , , , , , , ,

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