Posts Tagged ‘comments’

20th B-day Comments!

September 29th, 2012 by admin

Photo by Mona Caron

Last night’s ride was fantastic! Many thousands of people experienced a joyful ride through the city to celebrate 20 years of safe, social bicycle riding in San Francisco on the last Friday of each month.

Some comments via Facebook and our blog:

Josh Wilson:

Thank you, everyone here and everyone on the street, for everything you did to facilitate the glorious bicycle blossoming in San Francisco last night. It’s like the years fell away and everything was and is alive again with possibility. Something happened over the past decade that deadened a sense of the possible and a sense of hope. After last night, it feels like there’s a quickening, something new sprouting. It feels like this is not just an anniversary but the birth of something new. Something we will remember in another 20 years. Maybe so. I hope so. Thank you for re-awakening this sense of the possible.

Eric Anderson:

It is difficult for me to overstate the importance of the Critical Mass movement to my life, which is probably why last night’s 20th anniversary ride was such an emotional moment for me. This movement has given me my career, many lifelong friends, my health, my sanity, hope, joy and damn near my life. Last night I got to see some of the same people I met for the first time in 1999 during my first visit to SF from Chicago. Yeah, it makes me feel old, but it also grants a sense of time – of adventures shared, work happily (and yes sometimes not so happily) done and many accomplishments both personal and professional. Part of a life worth living, to be sure. Happy Birthday SFCM and CCM! — withSuz Po and 16 others.


This caused me to miss my 3 year old daughters birthday dinner. Thanks.


I drive because it’s a 2+ hour each way by public transit, and ends up costing more than it does to drive. I do have to drive across downtown to get to where I can get on the freeway to get home. I work in SF because that’s where the jobs are, I live in a suburb because I can not afford to live in SF.

Anyways, I love critical mass, and think that public gatherings are a great thing (swing by the Burning Man building on 7th/market, there’s a block party there too tonight!). Love bike riders (wish BART would allow them on the train during rush hour as then I may be able to take public transit). Biking has improved the quality of life in the Bay Area, and if anything, a shift to biking makes traffic even less congested and easier for those who have no choice but to drive. And a happier city means merchants do better too!

Both sides will have disrespectful people who hate the other. Cars who hate bikes, bikes who hate cars. I’ve seen video of bikes being thrown through car windows at CM, but I know that is the exception, not the rule. Thankfully, no car has plowed through and killed any bikers, and hopefully never will.

Thanks for posting where it’ll end. Now that I know it’ll end towards Dolores, I can hang out near work and get some dinner or something for an hour, and I should have no problem driving down the Emarcadero around 7pm!

Have a great ride tonight! One of these days, I may get to join on a ride!

Streetsblog comments

December 22nd, 2009 by hughillustration

We read the comments section so that you don’t have to.

I loved this comment on Chris’s recent streetsblog piece, so I am posting it here in its entirety. I suspect that this welcome attitude from a motorist is more common than not:

taomom: A few years ago, before I started bicycling in the city, I was blocked by a Critical Mass making its way down Valencia Street. Once I realized what it was and that I was not likely to cross Valencia for a while, I sat there watching the parade pass by. It was somewhat annoying to be delayed five minutes, but it was also mildly entertaining. No one was rude to me or cast any aspersions on my car.

A decade ago, I also had my way blocked for ten minutes by a biker (motorcycle, this time) funeral proceeding down Dolores Street. Again, once I realized I really wasn’t going to get across Dolores, no way, no how, I sat back and watched more ZZ Top beards pass me by than I knew existed on the planet. I chalked it up to an “only in San Francisco” experience, just like I chalk up a posse of roller bladers wearing full body purple speeding skating suits and wings on their backs making their way down the middle of Castro Street.

This is San Francisco. From time to time I am inconvenienced by parades, peace marches, demonstrations, marathons and other road runs, by neighborhood block parties, by monster rock concerts in the GG Park, and by every ethnic/cultural festival anyone can think to put on. (Once I got delayed twenty minutes by stupidly going near Japantown during Cherry Blossom festival.) I am massively inconvenienced twice a year by the street fairs in the Castro because these fairs totally screw up traffic flow and bottle up my neighborhood. But I don’t get upset because I also get a lot of benefits by living near the Castro. It’s part of the deal. (Halloween in the Castro was especially a nightmare for my neighborhood and has thankfully calmed down.) Bay to Breakers is an event so massive and disruptive, everyone in the entire city either participates or goes out of their way to steer clear. Even though I haven’t participated in Bay to Breakers in twenty years, I still find value in it and don’t begrudge the runners their use of the city.

All these events are disruptive, annoying if they delay you, but to me are part of what makes this place a creative, interesting place to live. In addition, San Francisco’s development of a bicycle culture is part of what will enable the continued economic viability of the city in the decade to come. If/when bicycles become so ordinary and mainstream that people use them like they use their vacuum cleaner (to use the Copenhagenize comparison) there will be no more Critical Masses. (Though there may still be a few bicycle parades. . .)

I concur with the suggestions for Critical Mass to take more coherent routes through the city and to sometimes take routes that aren’t so disruptive to car traffic. I also can’t deny that it would be helpful if Critical Mass participants went out of their way to be civil and courteous, because really, that is the way people should behave in general. (People also shouldn’t litter! They shouldn’t drive while talking on their cell phones! And they should pick up after their dogs!!!) But I don’t expect young people in their twenties to be entirely without impromptu, anarchistic impulses. I am very conscious that San Francisco gets a lot of benefit out of that energy.

This note from a supporter of Chicago’s Critical Mass claims that city’s ride has also led to a rise in bike activism:

Eric: As someone who helped bring Critical Mass to a major American city I am eternally grateful to the SF folks who got his, ahem, rolling. I know there is debate about whether or not SFCM has been good for bike advocacy and culture in SF and I’m not from here so I won’t speak to that. In Chicago, the results of CM are undeniable. Chicago now has a couple generations of young urban planners and traffic engineers who grew up in the CM-inspired bike culture of Chicago and the City is radically different and better as a result. Ultimately that merely is a happy side effect. The real value of CM is in the enjoyment and experience of riding a bicycle on your city’s streets without feeling your life is constantly in jeapordy, for however brief a period of time, once a month. To the naysayers, I am sorry but that is an experience that transit riders, motorists and most of the time pedestrians are granted on a daily basis. Bicycles are the only users of the public right of way who frequently use streets not designed for them. But perhaps more importantly Critical Mass has a message for people that goes beyond civil rights or transportation advocacy. It’s a message of surprise, intrigue, uncertainty, negotiation of public space and unexpected celebration. I am deeply grateful for the monthly reminder Critical Mass provides: that public space is not for the profiteering of oil and car companies but rather for public use and ENJOYMENT. I’m glad that message doesn’t fit in someone’s narrow definition of “appropriate”! Isn’t life dull enough already without turning the joyful movement from place to place into yet another rote exercise in rule obeying?