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Cyclists ride for Critical Mass 20th anniversary

Posted: September 29, 2012 9:00 a.m.
Updated: September 29, 2012 9:00 a.m.

Chris Carlsson, right, and Jim Swanson, pose in San Francisco on Sept. 26, 2002. The pair came up with the idea for Critcal Mass, a monthly gathering of bike riders, 10 years ago.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A throng of cyclists has hit the streets of San Francisco, where hundreds, likely thousands of people are commemorating the 20th anniversary of the raucous, leaderless ride and street party known as "Critical Mass."

San Francisco police are monitoring the ride and recommended that people avoid driving in downtown San Francisco Friday before the riders left Justin Herman Plaza at 6pm to take over city streets.

The monthly event has inspired similar rides in other cities across the globe, and participants in Friday's anniversary ride came from as far away as Italy and Mexico. Critical Mass also helped spur a suite of city policies that encourage bicycle commuting, including more bike lanes and bicycle parking spots.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says ridership grew 71 percent from 2006 to 2011 alone.



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