There is an EPIC DEBATE going on all over the internet about the future of Critical Mass. Some guy that registered a domain name has claimed the event and wants it to have a little more structure. His reasons are good: it'll provide more route diversity and it's potentially more democratic (via letting the less vocal and “aggressive” people in the back have a say in the route). He cites years past in which routes were pre-selected as proof that his perspective is the correct one. The problem with his perspective is that he claims that he is trying to make Mass more democratic, but by having an “insider-only” website, (read: a website that no one outside the know will read), he doesn't bother to solicit the opinions of people outside the inner circle of bike and Mass advocacy. Many casually Massers only know to show up the last Friday of every month shortly before 6pm at Justin Herman Plaza. They aren't going to show up for pre-ride meetings. Hell, they probably don't even know these meetings exist.
Last night was a prime perspective that we don't need to pre-select routes. After the typical Tour de SOMA, Mass paraded down Market, through the Wiggle to briefly join a BP protest at Divis and Fell. The ride made its way through the Richmond, going down Geary until it took Park Presidio. While the police stopped the ride from getting within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge, the ride took some back roads through the Richmond before finally getting back on Geary to do a tour of city's tunnels. Despite crossing the city, the group managed to stay together until 8:45.
This is what makes Critical Mass so attractive. It's a runaway train that no one can stop and no one can derail. The police tried, failed, and joined the parade with motors. Now cyclists are trying to take away the chaotic lifeblood of Mass from within. Hopefully last night curbs their hubris.