Saturday, August 26, 2006

Critical Mass Origin

This is the first, in a series of reports on the origin of "Critical Mass".

(Note: Also see video documentary, related posts, and recommended links at bottom of post)

Many of you probably think the origin of "critical mass" was on a Friday evening in 1992, when a bunch of cyclists gathered in the Financial District of San Francisoc, near the Ferry building. And that is what many "Critical Mass" historians say in thier interviews in "We Aren't Blocking Traffic, We Are Traffic".

Perhaps, it started on Thursday night, sometime after the big 1989 earthquake in San Francisco happenned, and knocked down the Embarcadaro Freeway.

David Miles, one of the original participants in the impromptu massing of skaters on the top of the Embarcadaro freeway, after it was closed to traffic, due to the earthquake, says that skaters began gathering on the freeway, to skate together. They started out with about 20 skaters, and grew to hundreds of skaters. They changed the meet up to Friday evenings, to be after work on the end of th work week, and began meeting at the Ferry building around 1991 or so. There crowds of skaters continued to grow to over a thousand a month. They would skate a loop around San Francisco for seven plus miles, and end up at a place to drink eat and party the night away. You can here him tell this story in the video documentary down below.

In 1992, cyclists began to organize mass rides, with meet up at the ferry building on the last Friday of the month, in San Francisco.

Perhaps, It was mass of partying skaters in Sanf Francisco, meeting on Fridays evening at the Ferry Building, and blazed the way, raised the spirit of the hearts of cyclists and other people in San Francisco, which spread through out the world.

And perhaps, it was this mass of skaters that inspired the San Francisco, and Bay area cyclists, to form a mass and party ride of their own.

And perhapsin what we now refer to as critical mass on Friday evenings, was catalyst from those skaters affectionately known as the Midnight Skaters or Midnight rollers, and through out the world, is now known as the "Friday Night Skate", which now happens in cities all of over the world, including in Los Angeles.(I will talk more about the LA Friday Night Skate later)

This inspiration of the cyclists, of which many skaters are also cyclists, through media attention, experiencing the spirit of the Friday night Skaters, on skates and bicycles, may be what gave birth to that the spirit of "critical mass".

[Video Below is a Documentary on the Midnight Rollers - filmed in early 1990's. Includes interview with David G. Miles Jr, one of the founding members of Friday Night Skate.]

To Be Continued... (see Part 2 (We Are Traffic)

Related Posts:
- Car Free LA
- Skatin' The 110 Freeway (when cars were banned)
- Skatin' San Fran...
- Hannah On Bikes
- Midnight Ridazz (part 1)
- Midnight Ridazz (part 2)
- Santa Monica Bicycle Workshop (speaker - Ryan Snyder)

Recommended Links:
- Friday Night Skates (Santa Monica and Hollywood)
- California Outdoor Rollerskating Association(CORA)
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum


jon said...

Ok, if you want to get into the real origins of Critical Mass, check this out!

Anonymous said...

jon, the link doesn't seem to work.

Cycle Santa Monica! said...

Are you referring to "The Great Bicycle Parade of 1896"

Health News said...

Thank you for introducing me the wonderful information.And .....Totally boring.!