For anyone who has ridden in or heard of the Critical Mass bike rides, read this. Though I participated in CM early on and thought we were pretty cool, I found out later that ours was not the first time bicycle activists have taken over the streets of San Francisco.
Check out this magazine; processed world
My article is number 15, in pdf format
From The San Francisco Chronicle; 1.3.2000
"A GLANCE BACK"
How revolutionary is Critical Mass?
Hank Chapot forwards a copy of the front page of the San Francisco Call, July 26, 1896, describing a parade of 5000 bicycle riders intent on lobbying the city to repave Market Street, thereby creating a thoroughfare on which they could cycle. A hundred thousand spectators watched the Folsom Street Parade;
"The turnout last night was, as it were, a test of the political strength of the wheelmen, and it showed how great that strength really is. It is said that the wheelmen vote will amount to something like 30,000, and, with such a balance of power, they are quite likely to effect a change in the policy that has long prevailed in street improvements....leaving the principle thoroughfares of the city in a condition of comparative impassibility"
"The wisdom shown by the wheelmen in cooperating thus to secure the one desired improvement seems very likely to be rewarded with success. The very fact that they stand together as a body instead of being divided by each one working some local improvement affecting his neighborhood proves that their prominence as a public factor will be considerable."
LEAH GARCHIK'S PERSONALS
Monday, January 3, 2000 ©1999 San Francisco Chronicle