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Bike the Bridge! Critical Mass 12th Birthday
by JazMux
Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
A slew of silly cyclists defiantly celebrated the 12th birthday of the global Critical Mass movement, born in San Francisco, which included decentralized rolling sound systems all tuned to the same pirate radio station and a roll up the on-ramps to the Bay Bridge, evidently in support of the Transbay Transit Terminal and the need for equal access to the Bay Bridge. Video is 7 min. 36 sec.
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The 12th Birthday of San Francisco Critical Mass was celebrated with a creative and sociable roll through town, a birthday cake, an unprecedented decentralized sound system effort (many rolling boom boxes and large and small sound systems all tuned to the same pirate radio station) and even a bit of demonstration when cyclists mounted the Transbay Transit Terminal's ramps to the Bay Bridge. Police on motorcycles screamed in, splitting up the group, which could have but decided not to take the bridge (at this time).

The group would have left quietly together but because of the police hysteria, the hundreds (probably thousands) of cyclists were split up into multiple groups, amplifying the effect throughout the city. Some paid a price due to equipment being damaged by the police action, but no arrests were seen by this reporter.

The Transbay Terminal, a priceless piece of the future of alternative transportation for the people, is always under threat from real estate interests who have wanted to gut it and redevelop it for years, and there is plenty of reason to demand immediate attention to the need for equal access to the Bay Bridge which rises up from and above the Terminal. Thus it's quite appropriate that the cyclists took the authorities by surprise by rolling up onto the lofty ramps of the Terminal.

Many people think we bicycle and pedestrian advocates won the fight for equal access to the Bay Bridge. Far from it! Despite promises, the car-first authorities fought long and hard to suppress the widespread public enthusiasm for the idea. There are major upsets forseeable on the horizon where the long-fought and hard-won promise to provide such access for bicycles and pedestrians may be stolen in a sea of graft, sleight of hand, abuse of authority and porkbelly concrete contracts.

The potential for interurban rail on the Bay Bridge is also being stolen, with the construction of the enormously costly and functionally defficient new east span, and the planned demolition of the stronger and more inexpensively retrofit-able existing east span.

In short: the transportation system is full of corruption just like the rest of this society, and when people can't get to jobs, services, or other human needs, you can blame the racism, classism, and greed of those who control it.

Critical Mass on the other hand brings freedom, joy and purity to the streets of a society otherwise mired in war and exploitation.

The Bike the Bridge! movement was a sustained campaign in the late 90's which included direct action as well as public outreach, demonstrations, and hundreds of hearings. You can piece together some of that legacy in archival web pages at For more background on corruption and the Bay Bridge, check out

Critical Mass happens on the last Friday of each month in San Francisco, meeting at 5:30 at Justin "Pee Wee" Herman Plaza, near the Ferry Terminal. In Berkeley it meets on the second Friday, 5:30, Downtown Berkeley BART (on "Constitution Plaza"). Critical Mass has spread to over 325 cities around the world since its beginning in San Francisco in September of 1992. What a wild ride it's been!

Note: The video is long in a way, but mostly to show what it's like biking up on the terminal. The sound quality is wacky (echo) because the reporter was using a borrowed hand-held digital camera (not a video camera) that takes little movies. Listen for the unexpected comments like "Have you ever made pickled green tomatoes?" and the nude cyclist, bike lifts showing defiance of the automotive tyranny, and other creative expressions.
§Rolling through the bus bays.
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
These bus bays once handled many trains a minute. The Bay Bridge used to carry interurban ("heavy") rail on its bottom deck. Twice as many people a day travelled on the Bay Bridge then as they do now. As population grows, we'll need that rail again, but the car-first hoodlums are planning for lots more cars instead, tearing down the bridge and building one that can't carry trains, just lots more cars, for lots more money.
§People chat, laugh, play music, and enjoy the view.
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
People chat, laugh, play music, and enjoy the view. It's quite a coup to be so far up on the terminal.
§The flood and trickle effect.
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
§Playing bumper cars with a bus bumper
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
§A regroup point at the juncture to the bridge.
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
§Nice to be up so high.
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
§Birthday costumes and laughter.
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
Birthday costumes and laughter. No ill intent. Such a contrast to the treatment by cops and cars. Just wait until the halloween ride next month!!!
§Socially festive and tree lined roll.
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
§Ut oh, bike traffic jam!!!
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
§Defiant cyclist demonstrates for bike power.
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
Defiant cyclist demonstrates for bike power; he stands over an endangered access ramp for the terminal, near a bridge whose promised bicycle and pedestrian bridge is also endangered.
§More demonstrators do a bike lift.
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
§Cops hate fun cuz they're never invited.
by JazMux Tuesday Oct 12th, 2004 1:38 AM
Cops hate fun cuz they're never invited. Fortunately, no arrests were known to this reporter.
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whatamerika needzzzz...Tuesday Nov 9th, 2004 11:45 PM
zzzz...zzzz...Tuesday Nov 9th, 2004 11:36 PM
wonder aboutyouTuesday Nov 9th, 2004 11:29 PM
yes genius, it can run on all kinds of thingswondering?Tuesday Nov 9th, 2004 9:25 PM
burning question of the dayjust wonderingTuesday Nov 9th, 2004 2:14 AM
some people deserve a responseyouSunday Oct 31st, 2004 8:34 PM
so, so sorryi bored youSunday Oct 31st, 2004 8:08 PM
yawn...ZZZZZZZZZZZSunday Oct 31st, 2004 7:17 PM
pffftsays it allSunday Oct 31st, 2004 6:57 PM
okwhateverSunday Oct 31st, 2004 6:50 PM

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