The Critical Mass movement was started in San Francisco in 1992, with a group of cyclists taking to the road to help motorists experience what cyclists frequently endure in the form of being outnumbered by their counterparts on the road. The movement continued to grow from there, to the point that Critical Mass became a global phenomenon, with events taking place around the world on a regular basis. This continued and still continues, with Critical Mass reaching over a decade of existence. After 10 years, San Francisco Critical Mass celebrated its 10th anniversary with a ride that not only celebrated cyclists as a whole, but celebrated a movement they started.
There was some fanfare locally to the 10th anniversary Critical Mass ride in San Francisco, with artists making posters to celebrate the occasion, as well as all of the local buzz from riders, enthusiasts, and supporters of the movement alike. This created a great atmosphere for the 10th anniversary ride, one built entirely on positivity, to celebrate the creation of what started out as a small group of bicycle enthusiasts in San Francisco. From humble beginnings, the group became legendary, and that was what this particular ride was meant to enjoy.
The Critical Mass ride to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the movement took place in September of 2002, with the ride starting in the Justin Herman Plaza, just as the other rides from this group started in over the decade that preceded it. It consisted of thousands of cyclists from all over the world, which of course was a stark contrast to a group that handed out flyers around San Francisco before anyone knew who they were.
Many were outraged at the presence of the group throughout the decade, and feared that there would be issues with unruly behavior during the 10th anniversary ride. This was a result of the reputation that the Critical Mass group had for blocking traffic throughout the city, although San Francisco police didn't seem to have many issues with the cyclists throughout the time that these rides were taking place, something that has held true well beyond the first decade of Critical Mass.
In a progressive city like San Francisco, which sees more and more of its residence shifting away from cars and toward mass transit and clean transportation like bikes, Critical Mass was ahead of its time. When it celebrated a decade of riding, it proved it had staying power, and helped usher that city into the future it knows today.