Tag Archives: criticalmass

USF at Critical Mass, February 2017


students at a much bigger critical mass in 2009

Three of us went to Critical Mass on a chilly February afternoon.

The legendary event was tiny — a dozen or so cyclists clustered in near the Ferry Building.

Vincent had this to say about the occasion:

With only two student, one of which is myself , and the professor, the journey to see Critical Mass on Friday February 25, 2017 was in my view underwhelming. There was a small turnout of people whom congregated in front of the ferry building. Professor Hunt informed me that sometimes there are crowds of cyclists, but this time was very small. I did not participate in the Mass nor anyone else in the group. We went to get coffee instead and talk about life. After coffee we all went away. The professor estimated that the cyclists would venture off around 6 pm, however coming out from getting coffee at around 6:30 the people at the “Mass” were still there. They hadn’t left. I did not stay to see them sent-off….

Carlsson, Critical Mass

Chris Carlsson, a San Francisco activist and writer, was there at the beginning of Critical Mass (or the “Commute Clot,” as it was originally known).

Since the first Critical Mass more than twenty years ago, the event has spread around the world. Here in San Francisco, as elsewhere, it has sometimes caused controversy.

In short, the event has variable credibility: some people strongly approve of it, while others are sharply critical of it (or of some elements of it).

Your assignment is to read some selections in a book edited by Carlsson (many other people contributed to the book, as you’ll see). Read Carlsson’s Introduction and a few of the selections that follow. This will give you a sense of the participants’ view of the event. The PDF is linked here.

The entire book is available at the USF library in print form and at nearby bookstores such as Green Apple Books.

If you’re thinking of going to Critical Mass, you might also want to watch the rest of USF student Ellie Vanderlip’s filmĀ The Human Motor.

The ride begins at Justin Herman Plaza on the last Friday of every month. People begin assembling around 5 or 5:30 pm, and they actually begin riding around 6 pm usually. There is no leader and no one is in charge.