By Karen Brooks
PHOTO: MAURICE TIERNEY
On the 28th of September, our publisher and esteemed Big Cheese, Maurice Tierney, participated in a landmark event for bicycling: the 20th Anniversary Critical Mass ride in San Francisco, California. The first ever Critical Mass took place in that city on September 25, 1992, and the spontaneous rides have been happening on the last Friday of the month ever since.
In its 20-year history, the Mass movement has grown and popped up in cities all over the world. It has also seen its share of controversy, as car drivers and police don’t always get along with the directionless, red-light-ignoring amoeba of bike riders that constitutes a Mass. However, Critical Mass has offered many a rare chance to ride in the city amidst dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of fellow riders at a serene pace and enjoying the relative quiet of pedals, instead of dodging fast-moving motor vehicles. It’s also an undeniably visible form of protest against the dominant car culture.
“Critical Mass represents 20 years of civil disobedience,” says Tierney. “As maligned as it can be, it has still had a positive effect. It’s an important ingredient of bike advocacy. Democracy isn’t always pretty.”
More information can be found at criticalmass.wikia.com.