Archive for February, 2012

Critical Mass 20th Anniversary, the Interstellar Critical Mass!

February 19th, 2012 by ccarlsson

The Welcome Committee for the 20th anniversary has started meeting and planning. I want to give a brief overview of what we have in mind here, so folks can make their own plans, add to ours if you feel like it, and generally get the ball rolling towards an amazing week in September to celebrate 20 years since we rode in our first Critical Mass in San Francisco.

First off, if you’re interested in getting involved with the Welcome Committee, or volunteering for any of the numerous activities that will be going on during the week of September 24-30, 2012, write us at

April 2011, San Francisco Critical Mass at Lands End.

Riders gather at coast after riding for two hours to admire Pacific Ocean and the sun, April 2011.

Three of us, Hugh D’Andrade, Chris Carlsson, and LisaRuth Elliott, have been working on a new book for the anniversary. We have passed the deadline for submissions and I’m glad to say we have some amazing essays in hand, and dozens of photos and posters from around the world. The international, no INTERSTELLAR quality of Critical Mass will be fully demonstrated by the breadth and depth of this book’s stories of Critical Mass from Italy to Brazil to Hungary to Mexico. We will have them ready for you in September.

We are also planning to produce some commemorative posters, with Hugh and Mona Caron both agreeing to make new art, building on their fantastic work of a decade ago. We invite all artists who want to make art for the big anniversary to feel free to do so! The more the merrier! Sticker designs, postcards, posters for the city’s walls, everything is welcome! If you can get the printing done yourself, all the better, but if you need help, contact us and we’ll see what we can do.

In this spirit, we’re also inviting the world’s Critical Mass artists to send us art digitally to include in an upcoming gallery of worldwide greetings for the 20th birthday. Send your images and photos to us at our email:, and we’ll put together a gallery on this website as the summer progresses.

We are expecting dozens, hundreds, maybe a thousand friends from around the world to arrive in San Francisco during the anniversary week to help us celebrate. We are working to set up a system for house-sharing, couchsurfing, camping, etc. If you have housing to offer we will soon have a webpage where you can list what you have and people coming to town can write you and figure it out with you directly if you’ll be a good fit for each other. Similarly, we’re looking for hidden fleets of loaner bikes. If you have a garage full of 2-22 bikes that you’d be willing to lend out-of-town visitors for the 20th anniversary, we’ll have a webpage for you to sign up on too.

In the meantime, if you have housing, bicycles, or other resources to offer the celebration, feel free to write us at our email. We are hoping to have a “convergence center” open from 1-5 Monday-Friday of that week and we’ll need volunteers to help staff it to meet and greet incoming visitors.

Riding west along the north shore of San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge just visible at right (April 2011).

We are planning to offer two rides each day from Monday Sept. 24 to Thursday Sept. 27, one in and around San Francisco, another going out to the many wonderful rides in the region (from the Marin Headlands to the East Bay shoreline, Montara and Half Moon Bay to the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge in the South Bay, etc. etc.). In-city rides will include following themes like lost freeways or ice cream parlors, future shorelines or ridge-top tours, all to be determined. On Tuesday Sept. 25 we will open a Critical Mass Art Show at the Diego Rivera Gallery at the SF Art Institute at 800 Chestnut Street. On Wednesday, Sept 26, we hope to have a panel of authors to present the new book at the Main Library (to be confirmed), and on Thursday, Sept.27 we have a big party and concert scheduled at Cellspace. Friday the 28th is of course the big birthday, the Interstellar Critical Mass ride, which we hope will be a giant, crazy, awesome evening ending in a big party under warm skies in a public spot to be determined. On Saturday Sept. 29 we are planning to hold a symposium at the Art Institute that will give us all a chance to sit and talk together in various discussions about the roles of Critical Mass, bicycling, urban social movements, etc. And on Sunday, September 30 we plan a big finale ride to the beach for a potluck bbq and all-day party.

September 2011 Critical Mass goes out Market Street...

... and then up Page Street! One of the steeper hills we've ever climbed!

For every mild or serious uphill...

... There is always a better and easier downhill!

Give us a holler if you’d like to join the effort!