Critical Mass is a monthly bicycle ride to celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists' right to the road. The idea started in San Francisco in September 1992 and quickly spread to cities all over the world. Critical Mass has no leaders, and no central organization licenses rides. In every city that has a CM ride, some locals simply picked a date, time, and location for the ride and publicized it, and thus the ride was born.
On February 16th Houston Indymedia Presents 2 films that look at the Critical Mass movement: We Are Traffic
chronicles the history and development of the "Critical Mass" bicycle movement, one of the most spirited and dynamic social/political movements of the apathetic 90's. We Are Traffic! tracks this leaderless, grassroots movement from its beginnings in San Francisco in 1992 to its spread across the globe. With a radical direct-action approach the participants of Critical Mass are celebrating the bicycle and in turn taking on perhaps the century's most sacred cow: the automobile. Still We Ride
is a documentary that captures the joyous atmosphere of the New York City Critical Mass and the subsequent arrests, and harrasment Critical Mass has recieved following the August 2004 Critical Mass during the Republican National Convention. It recounts how this ride first started in San Francisco over 10 years ago and chronicles the police crackdown and resulting court battles in New York over the last twelve months. The movie takes on issues of civil liberties, surveillance, the power of mainstream media, and the benefits of alternative means of transportation.