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SF Critical Mass Halloween 2008

On my recent West Coast Streetfilms swing, I got to jump into the San Francisco Critical Mass dressed as a "bee" (ironically my childhood nickname!) Although we don't often cover alot of critical mass here on our pages, I thought this one would be apropos since it promised to have up to 5,000 participants, and after all Halloween is my favorite holiday. Furthermore, I got to buzz around the "birthplace of critical mass" briefly before the swarm of bikes started pollinating the streets.

Many said it was perhaps the biggest CM ever. Writes Dan Goldwater on the Portland Shift list:

I've only been in SF about 4 years, but it was by far the biggest I've been to; like 3x bigger than any other one. From the first bike to leave Embarcadero to the last one was over half an hour with a solid line down Market st. the entire time.

With monthly rides under attack in some cities, it is interesting to see the tactic that San Francisco takes. The police department is practically hands off, and the ride is very peaceful and non confrontational. Even drivers and spectators don't seem to mind the action. So, why can't it be the same in NYC? Of course, discuss.


[intro music] 

Speaker:  [00:41] Hooray the chickens. 


Speaker:  [00:47] Dark side of the moon. 


Speaker:  [00:50] It’s getting a little windy. 


Clarence Eckerson Jr.:  [01:03] How’s the ride going Officer? 

Speaker:  [01:04] Activity you’re engaging in. 


Clarence Eckerson Jr.:  [01:21] I’m a bee.   

Speaker:  [01:23] What a bee? 

Clarence Eckerson Jr.:  [01:24] I’m a bee.  Are you a bee? 

Speaker:  [01:26] I’m a bee too.   

Speaker:  [01:27] Buzz off man, I’ll come right at you.  You want honey, I’ll give you honey. 


Speaker:  [01:33] What’s up bee? 

Clarence Eckerson Jr.:  [01:35] Hi bee.   


Speaker:  [01:50] Oh yeah, the bumble bee. 


Speaker:  [02:35] I love it.  It’s awesome. 


Clarence Eckerson Jr.:  [02:40] How’s it going? 

Speaker:  [02:41] No problemo, public transportation rules.   


Speaker:  [02:47] It’s great. 


Transcription Sponsored by: Transcript Divas Transcription Services

Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • Ed Pino

    A honey of a job!

  • Tom Ralpe

    BEE-autiful! Looks like so much fun in San Fran.

  • http://www.sfwiggle.com/ Dustin

    SF Critical Mass is the best! I took some pictures too. http://www.sfwiggle.com/2008/11/04/halloween-critical-mass/

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/CBrinkman CBrinkman

    BEErilliant Clarance. It's nice to see Critical Mass like that - even when you're riding in it you miss so much. Loved the bee montage! Loved the shots of the happy crowds watching from the sidewalks. This year there were so many people lining the sidewalks it was like being in a parade. SF should just make Halloween Mass the official City Halloween event.

  • http://velovogue.blogspot.com Kristin Tieche

    Great job, Clarence! It was fun meeting you and riding with you during our fabulous SF Halloween Parade!

  • paddywack

    What was the musical track called?

  • HiWheel escort

    The music goes well with the film! Great job. You captured the spirit of fun of Critical Mass in SF! Esp. on Halloween! It was my first Crit Mass ride, and I want to do it again - with or without costumes! Your BeeLine creates the BUZZ for the event!

  • Spani

    Very nice! I liked that )
    Hope we'll have something like that in St.-Petersburg )

  • applez

    Oh, no, there have been bigger CMs. One of the Iraq War anniversary month ones was particularly large.

    Also, I wouldn't say the police are 'hands off' - to the contrary, I think the SFPD do a great job in serving their highest purpose: public safety. That's safety for everyone, and even with the mass of numbers, cyclists remain far more vulnerable than admittedly disenfranchised cars stuck in the mass. [I am particular sympathetic of the taxi drivers who are losing a night's income]

    I'd add that in my experience, there is an unfortunate "testosterone brigade" who enjoy the confrontation - but the onus then is on everyone else in the Mass to counter them, to remind them that a friendly wave and a smile is their best weapon. I can count the confrontation events I've witnessed on one hand, I can't begin to count all the times I've seen mutual appreciation, public support, and solidarity.

  • matthew

    Wow that looks so much fun.  I have CMed in London and Melbourne, but that looks like a lot of people- and just amazing.