If everyday practical bicycling had taken on political significance for you by the 1990s or earlier, in the US, chances are good you saw Ted White’s 1992 film _Return of the Scorcher_ at a gathering of like-minded souls. It claimed the expression “critical mass” from nuclear physics for people riding bikes as part of traffic. It’s a yearning survey of the bicycling societies China and the Netherlands, both of which have powerfully shaped our own aspirations for reclamation of Portland from nearly a century of automotive disorientation.
I never saw Return of the Scorcher before it made its way to the interwebs last month. Now you can too. Learn from your elders. It’s 27 minutes:
Seven years later came We Are Traffic, documenting what Critical Mass had become. I rode in the summer 1997 San Francisco Mass that made international news when the police decided it was a threat, though I admit I was just trying to ride home when I found myself engulfed in it. I didn’t inhale. It’s 50 minutes. Enjoy: