Return of Return of the Scorcher

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:

Hat tip: Bikescape. Jon and his car-free family visited us many months back and told the story in a podcast.

One thought on “Return of Return of the Scorcher”

  • Erik Sandblom

    In Swedish there's a word, "allmänbildad". Directly translated it's "generally educated" and it means you're not an ignorant dufus. So, thanks for the movies. I'm no longer an ignorant dufus.

    Here's another good Swedish word, "folkbildning". It means "education of the people", or maybe "public enlightenment" or something. What you're doing here is folkbildning.


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