Here now twenty years after it began, people are finally starting to see what the importance of the Critical Mass movement. What never seems to get articualted however, is that CM stole bicycling back for the masses. At a point in time when the only voice for those on two wheels were the magazine such as "Bicycling" and their sponsors and you were not a cyclist unless you wore spandex, went to far away places with your high spec bike and rode only the latest greatest, CM made it cool to ride junk, right where you were. In the city..
It made it possible for you to be a cyclist if your bike could only do a few blocks and was not TdF race ready. It gave birth to tall bikes and bike churches and the plethora of cottage industries that celebrate the recycled bike part. It paved the way for an open mindedness to the Busycle possibility. Ditto for the San Jose Bike Party that also attracts thousands of cyclists who try to improve on CM by obeying the rules of the road. In giving birth to a whole new breed of bike rider, very few pedal at the SJBP ride in lycra or on high end two wheelers. .
On many levels, thank God for Critical Mass. Here is what one of San Francisco's newspaper's sees: