Miami Critical Mass March 2011 Ride

By | March 26th, 2011 | 17 Comments

Tricks on Ponce

Friday night’s 12-mile ride through Downtown, The Roads, Miracle Mile, East Coral Gables, and East Little Havana never went through Overtown as planned. Instead, the mass missed the N.W. Second Avenue turn and, for the third month in a row, found itself clusterfucked on Biscayne Boulevard, this time with a Heat game and Ultra in full swing. No matter what the map says or how hard the lead bikes try to keep the mass en route, Biscayne seems to always prevail. “Come to me,” it says. “The motorists in my car-stuffed lanes need something to look at while they idle in traffic.” The spell works every time.

Nonetheless, it was a solid ride, with the Coral Way stretch to the beat of the (still unnamed?) Bicycle Sound System being particularly glorious. My favorite part was when an entire karate class came out of the dojo to watch us ride past on Ponce de Leon. Ah, the power of the Mass. Not even the Sensei could resist.

Here are some photos from the ride.

Bike of the Month

Photos by Robby Campbell (@photogrobby). More photos on Facebook.

17 Comments on “Miami Critical Mass March 2011 Ride”

  1. 1 Natasha Reeder said at 12:54 pm on March 26th, 2011:

    Great pictures and information. Since the route was not published to the riders I didn’t know where we were going. I’m African-American and am very disappointed the organizers keep “missing” the N.W. 2nd Avenue turn into Overtown. Thank you Jordan.

  2. 2 Jordan Melnick said at 1:01 pm on March 26th, 2011:

    @Natasha I’m pretty sure the route was available HERE before the ride, though I didn’t see it on the Facebook page. As for Overtown, the organizers (to the extent that there are official organizers) did not want to miss the turn and definitely did not want to go up Biscayne again. They put a lot of thought into how to avoid that exact scenario. What happens is people race to the front and the pack follows, even if the lead bikes go off route. It did cross my mind last night that people were purposely avoiding Overtown, but that definitely wasn’t the plan. Personally, I love riding through Overtown on Critical Mass and was pretty disappointed when we kept going straight yet again.

  3. 3 Eddy Stevens-Torrealba said at 2:36 pm on March 26th, 2011:

    There are no “organizers” in any official capacity. We’re all responsible for this ride. The turn was not really missed, the mass was deliberately taken to Biscayne by a few people who wanted to ride by Ultra. (I heard the chanting of “Ultra, Ultra.”) Those of us who knew that part of the route, kept yelling for people to turn at 2nd Avenue, to no avail. The lead bikes were literally over-run.

    For the record, the map was in the event’s page on Facebook. There is a link to it in the event description. It was posted on The Miami Bike Scene and other sites.

    The information is out there, and is as easy to find as it is to find a site to go complain about the ride.

  4. 4 Jordan Melnick said at 2:45 pm on March 26th, 2011:

    @Eddy I don’t think it was technically on Facebook. What I find is a link to Bikely buried several links off of the Critical Mass FB wall. Should have been easier to find. Also, for all intents and purposes, Critical Mass does have organizers, official or not. Who runs the facebook page? Who makes the route? I agree that every rider is responsible for the ride, but I don’t see the point in suggesting CM plans itself.

  5. 5 Eddy Stevens-Torrealba said at 10:48 pm on March 26th, 2011:

    Jordan, you found it, which somehow proves my point. Might not have been easy to find, but if you looked, it’s there. Even if there was a dedicated website with a giant map on the front page, some people would still not care to look.

    I almost feel tempted to test it…

    Would that make me an “organizer”? Perhaps. Just as some people might think Beached Miami is an organizer, because there is a monthly recap and pictures here.

  6. 6 Oscar said at 12:50 am on March 27th, 2011:

    I added some pics to my Facebook page, enjoy it

  7. 7 Joseph said at 1:39 am on March 27th, 2011:

    I’m sorry but expecting every single person out of the hundreds that show up to memorize the route is a bit ridiculous. You can clearly tell that many people just show up on the last Friday of every month hoping to just follow the group. Expecting them all to be on Facebook or constantly checking the site isn’t completely reasonable. The organizing group just needs to take more control during the rides. I know it may be a bit against the culture of what CM is but they need to show some authority too. Having the main group assemble volunteers and make up some t-shirts or something so they can be easily identified would help. They also need to get out in front and speak up….

    This was only my 4 or 5th mass and when the group went out onto Biscayne into massive traffic sadly I was the only one to race out to the front grab a police officer for help and force people off Biscayne and onto 2nd ave… a few seconds later more and more corkers helped and we got the group away from Biscayne.

  8. 8 Eddy Stevens-Torrealba said at 2:38 am on March 27th, 2011:

    I beg to disagree, but in my opinion it is “a bit ridiculous” to show up to any ride and “just follow the group” like sheep, not knowing where you are going.

    Evidently, that does not work.

    Like any other activity, be it a bike ride, concert or any other event, checking out the event’s site is not unreasonable at all. It takes no more effort than coming to this site or commenting on the Facebook group, once things go south.

  9. 9 Joseph said at 3:07 am on March 27th, 2011:

    Reality, and what we wish people would do are two very different things. Clearly hoping people do the right thing as the rides get larger and larger isn’t exactly working…. Nobody is saying its easy, but in reality I’ve seen groups of bikers join a CM ride just because they saw it passing by… you expect them to know the route? They’re just following the crowd.

    Not every person is as active or even technically savvy to go checking the site. Many people show up out of word of mouth and never even know a site or route map exists…. i guess many like to “live on the edge”

    Yup, not much effort needed… but at the same time you can see out of the hundreds that show up we get what…. 6-7 people discussing it here…..

    Don’t get me wrong… I’m honestly not complaining, I love CM rides and invite as many of my friends as I can because I think its great. But realistically expecting everybody to be as vigilant about memorizing the route…. well….

  10. 10 Eddy Stevens-Torrealba said at 9:00 am on March 27th, 2011:

    @ Joseph,

    I personally think it’s fine and dandy when people just jump in and join the ride. But do I expect them to know the route? That is falling into absurdity to justify your point. Let’s be “realistic.”

    The original discussion (before you joined) was centered on the claim that the map and related information could not be found. To wit, there are at least four (4) sites where all the information was posted, including links to the route map.

    Morphing the argument from “the route was not posted” to “the route is posted but it’s not ‘realistic’ to expect us to look at it” is “well…” convenient but it’s got nothing to do with the price of tea in China.

    It’s nice to just have a blast during the ride and not have to think about it, but it’s not “realistic” to expect 4-6 people to cork for, *and* control a crowd of 300+.

    If you really think CM is great, then contribute something to it. It doesn’t take that much, really. Taking a look at the map (yes, that technically challenging feat, which to some apparently looks like code) or even sending a tweet about it, might help mitigate the issue of the “missed” turns. The routes are not that complex.

    I’ve been attending CM for almost two years now. I believe I have a vested interest in it and I want it to succeed. If I’m going to be ridiculized for it, bring it on, but when it comes to the claim that the information was not posted, I still have to be proven wrong.

    See ya next month.

  11. 11 Joseph said at 12:05 pm on March 27th, 2011:

    Do something?

    I guess you missed the part where it was mentioned I turned the entire group back off of Biscayne? I’ve corked at rides before, have been nearly run over for it. On top of that my group had a printed map of the route with us… so no need for you to get all defensive and ASSume we’re not doing anything.

    At the event many more than 4-6 normally step in and cork, but thats an entire other mess that became a problem at this past friday’s event also.

    If you want to turn constructive criticism or discussion in to ridicule then thats your fault not ours….

  12. 12 Eddy Stevens-Torrealba said at 12:24 pm on March 27th, 2011:

    Okay Joseph. You’re 100% right.

    I hope that makes your day. :)

  13. 13 Joseph said at 1:52 pm on March 27th, 2011:

    Nice copout…….. This is how progress is made huh….

    Enjoy the ride….

  14. 14 Titmawz said at 9:07 pm on March 27th, 2011:

    The ride is being overrun by a bunch of assholes in a hurry. No more corking from me, if you are in a hurry to finish it be my guest. I am not gonna make your ride safer if you dont wanna participate in a group ride.

  15. 15 Leah said at 11:42 am on March 28th, 2011:

    Joseph, for the most part, I think you are right. It is unrealistic to expect all 300+ riders to read the route beforehand. The hard truth is that people hardly read at all, when it comes to events. Much of my job involves trying to promote events and get people to do things. Reading directions is actually incredibly difficult.

    On the other hand, I think that MOST people who show up to rides are willing to cede leadership to those who take a position of authority. There’s no barrier to being an “authority” on the Critical Mass rides. These are people who have taken the extra step, be it by corking, by reading the route in advance and directing people, or, in your case, by getting a police officer to control some of the chaos on Biscayne.

    FYI: A lot of the people who are really involved in the bike scene and keeping the mass cohesive (call it “organizers” if you will) did try to strategize how to keep the mass going in the right direction. Unfortunately, the people who insisted on going down Biscayne were louder and doggedly insistent on their route modifications.

    In the future, I think that those of us who do take the time to review the route in advance should distribute ourselves throughout the mass and shout out directions, encouraging others to pass it on throughout the mass.

  16. 16 Patrick Jones said at 3:06 pm on March 29th, 2011:

    I have to agree with Jordan, I don’t believe it would be that difficult to have a leadership team put together.

    Have the 10 most active Critical Massers all buy those extremely bright neon green (spring break colors) t-shirts ($4 in Sobe), and at the start of the mass, have one of these guys/girls stand on one of the 3-foot high pylons at Government Center and use a loudspeaker to quickly designate the route and let everyone know that they should follow the green shirts.

    Finding a loud speaker/bullhorn would be the only problem, but I’m positive it wouldn’t take more than a few phone calls to find someone who has one available. Even post it on the facebook event’s wall that you need to borrow one for a few minutes at the start of the mass.

    I must say I was very disappointed that we didn’t take a left on NW 2nd and go through Overtown. I just moved here from Minneapolis and I was really excited to see a part of town I’ve been warned numerous times I shouldn’t enter on bicycle.

    See you all at the next Mass. Hopefully we’ll see some neon green shirts out there!

  17. 17 Jordan Melnick said at 3:44 pm on March 29th, 2011:

    @Patricks Small clarification. I didn’t say there needs to be a leadership, but that there are de facto organizers. I appreciate what they do and how they facilitate the ride without asserting authority. Critical Mass is an ideal, and they are trying to uphold it. All the riders should do the same.

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