This is more aimed towards the bay area.
Alright, San Francisco.... Critical Mass. I understand, the city isn't very good for cyclists. Actually, it's terrible for a a city that's trying to be so energy efficient. I understand your movement. Does blocking traffic once a month solve that? I don't think so, because people see it coming.... and it's gone the next day. Business as usual. IMO, it's more for fun than it is for some sort of movement. Not saying I'm right, that's just the way I see it.
Alright, Berkeley? We have bike lanes, bicycle boulevards, and pretty well lit streets. Why do we have a critical mass? I stay off Shattuck, San Pablo, University and sidewalks. Every other street is pretty damn biker friendly. So.... what exactly are you fighting for? Do you just want to block traffic? Yes, the drivers are downright terrible... blame the DMV for that.
Does anyone just ride their bike not only for commuting, but just because it's fun and enjoyable? No agenda, no politcal statement, no feeling to block traffic to get a point across to a community that bikes exist, but just biking because you actually like biking more than driving?
I dunno, I just have this feeling that even if a city were to surrender to a Critical Mass, the Critical Mass would still exist... just with a different agenda of some sort.
Drunken ramble... but just how I see it. Bicycle safety and education about the laws of riding and wearing helmets... hell yeah. All for that. Maybe Critical Mass in a way encourages people to join some sort of bicycling community. I'd be down with that movement... it's just advertised poorly.
Edit: I hit something funky and discontorted the text. Yes, I just used "discontorted" in a sentence.