Beware. The Miami Critical Mass Halloween ride is upon us. -- image from themiamibikescene.com
It’s the last Friday of the month, and as always that means hundreds of cyclists will ride through the streets of Miami tonight in Critical Mass. The difference this particular month is that there will very likely be a werewolf, a slutty vampiress, and, most frightening, a perfectly normal-looking Wall Street banker pedaling in the pack.
Yes, it’s Halloween weekend and the best way to gear up for our Sketchy Halloween Party at Awarehouse on Saturday night is to cobble together a costume, climb onto your bike, and roll through the streets of Miami with fake blood dripping from both corners of your mouth. The 19-mile ride through Coconut Grove, Downtown, Shenandoah, and Little Havana takes off from Government Center at 7 p.m. and ends up at the Filling Station, where there will be a contest for best costume.
In light of recent rowdy 1000-person rides, the unofficial organizers of Miami Critical Mass put a lot of thought into how to keep last night’s ride under control. They chose not to create an event page on Facebook, and they kept the 20-mile route to themselves so that, the theory went, the mass would have to stay en masse throughout the ride since individual riders wouldn’t know where they were headed. But as they say …
After the last Miami Critical Mass, on August 26, 2011, I realized that we had first photographed the monthly group ride almost exactly a year earlier, on August 27, 2010. In fact, that ride was the subject of the third post ever on this here blog. Feeling nostalgic, we decided to compile our favorite photos from a year of Miami Critical Mass, one each from the 13 rides between August 2010 and August 2011. Each photo links to its original post, where you can see more photos from the rides. The next CM is this Friday. We will be there, camera in tow.
Last night’s Critical Mass drew another big crowd for a 12-mile ride with a long stretch north through Allapattah and Liberty City along N.W. Seventh Avenue, another straight shot east along 71st Street, and a home stretch south along U.S. 1. Aside from attracting a bit of police attention — at one point, on 71st Street, they forced part of the mass (momentarily) off route — the ride went smoothly from where I was peddling, and it was over way too soon, only about an hour after it started. Most of our photos this time around come from Government Center, before the ride started.
A couple of unlikely things led cyclist Ken Bereski II to court with an aggravated assault case against a motorist who he says tried to run him off Alton Road on July 12. The first was that Bereski, a Mac computer consultant who lives and works in South Beach and rides his bike to all of his local jobs, caught the incident on video through a rearview camera he had mounted on his back wheel.
Few cyclists take the precaution of video recording their commutes, but Bereski says he has had so many “near-death” experiences biking around Miami that he typically records all of his rides through two cameras, the one mounted on his back wheel and another on his front wheel that points straight ahead. (On this day, the front wheel camera was busted, so he only has rearview footage.)
The video of the ride shows a black Infiniti SUV close in on Bereski from behind, before passing him on the left in possible violation of Florida’s three-feet passing law. At the next light, Bereski pulled up alongside the driver’s window.
If you’re a regular Beached Miami reader, then you know about Emerge Miami and all the good work they do to make our hometown a better, more bicycle-y place. This weeks marks the group’s fifth anniversary, and, in signature Emerge style, they are celebrating by hosting a really fun group bike ride (details, link below). To mark the occasion, I asked Emerge member Adam Schachner to contribute a post commemorating the group’s half decade of local activism. Cue Adam:
There’s no subtle indication that Miami is a culturally and ideologically fractious city. Miami’s communities vary as significantly as our landscapes, from club culture on our globally iconic neon Deco-ized beach, to our sprawling suburban enclaves of the western-most swamps along the Urban Development Lines. The encouraging challenge and bittersweet bane to an eager South Floridian activist is to see these gaps in communities, interests, and possibilities combined into a cohesive effort that proclaims: “This is Miami. Love it.”
So here’s Emerge Miami: a collection of activists, professionals, organizations, and all-around savvy Miamians claiming diverse heritages from the spectrum of municipalities and progressive endeavors. You may have seen them at Hands Across the Sand, professing solidarity against offshore oil drilling on Miami’s behalf. Or maybe you had to wait a few minutes at a US-1 stoplight while they crossed the intersection, leading a small legion of bicyclists clad in homemade superhero costumes in order to promote after school reading programs with local non-profit ComicEd. You may have even seen the photos from Emerge and Beached Miami’s collaboration for the first-ever Miami Bike Hunt, in which riders covered South Beach in a scavenger search, following a list of absurd and distinctly Miamian challenges.
Enthusiastically closing the schism between activism and entertainment, Emerge Miami works towards building a network of progressive initiatives, maintaining its open-mindedness and devotion to community-building all under its founding banner: “Organizing Chaos Since 2005”. In that year, a small cadre teamed up with the freshly-opened Sweat Records to screen The Corporation, a provocative documentary and commentary on industry and human rights abuse. Since then, Emerge has regularly hosted workshops, bike rides, and networking activities to bring Miami’s progressive initiatives together.
Emerge stands by its name by championing “emergent behavior”. Founded on the premise that ideas and voices can be heard while independent of a core organizational hierarchy, Emerge functions with no board of directors or institutional management, and sustains itself on a minimal budget supplemented by donations, volunteerism, and general good will. The group is unincorporated, progressing purely by the combined interests of those who are available to participate in each of its numerous projects.
Observers of any Emerge meeting (held every Tuesday night at Sweat Records) will quickly get both the group’s gist and an insight into what makes the formula work so well. Levity and occasional juvenile humor pervade a tight schedule of reviews, upcoming event plans, and whimsical ponderings on how to cultivate Miami’s emergent potential. New participants and their ideas are always welcome. The camaraderie and productivity intertwine consistently, from preamble and socialization before the meetings start, to dinner on the town after the meeting wraps. All of this demonstrates one of Emerge’s primary tenets: All participants are friends before activists and organizers.
With five years behind us, you might be wondering what is next for Emerge. Well, after half a decade of fun-filled bicycle activism, we think its time for a major celebration. On Saturday, we’re hosting our second annual Sweet Treats Ride, which will feature the best taste bud tourism Miami has to offer, because our ongoing effort to facilitate a community of activism, group organizing, and creative frivolousness is best celebrated with an ice cream cone in one hand and a bike helmet in the other. For full event details, head over to our Facebook page.
In the longer term, Emerge’s future depends a lot on YOUR vision of an emergent Miami. As always, we will be here to help make it a reality.
I culled this list from a more comprehensive one on the The Miami Bike Scene. For the most part, I filtered out the more grueling events and left the ones geared toward the casual and semi-casual cyclist.
The sport of kings with bikes has been attracting a lot of attention lately, with recent press coverage from the Herald, WLRN, and Deco Drive. The MBP crew plays at Jose Marti Park every Friday at 7 p.m. and every Sunday at 1 p.m.
“The Miami Beach Community Ride is brought to you by Miami Beach Bicycle Center and the City of Miami Beach. This ride is perfect to meet and greet new people, get exercise, and have a great time. Thanks to the Miami Beach Police, the traffic is stopped and the riders can enjoy a continuous safe ride. At the half way point the riders stop to drink water and take a quick breath. The best thing about the ride is that its FREE! The ride is every second Saturday of the month starting from the store at 9 a.m.”
“Attended the Sweet Treats Ride in June 2010? It’s back! and we’re covering Midtown to South Beach in this round of sweet shops: two ice cream shops and one bakery. Two out of three will have vegan options.”
Miami-Dade police “are looking for a driver who left a man to die on the sidewalk after he hit him with his car,” CBS4 reports.
The driver sideswiped cyclist Francisco Caro, 43, as he rode his bike along N.W. 32nd Avenue around midnight on Sunday. The collision crushed Caro against a fence. A man who claims he witnessed the incident said the driver got out of his car and looked at Caro, who lay dying on the sidewalk, before fleeing the scene.
An excerpt from the CBS4 article:
“He looked back, I thought he was going to come back, he took a couple of steps, then he stopped, he jumped in his car and took off,” said the witness.
Miami-Dade traffic homicide investigators said they recovered chips of paint from the car and an emblem. Police spokesman Det. Roy Rutland said the car they’re looking for will possibly have damage on its right side.
Anyone with information about the accident should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.
Click HERE to read the entire CBS4 article and watch a video report.
Friday night’s 14.3 mile Critical Mass through Little Havana, The Roads, Coral Gate, Shenandoah, Brickell and Downtown drew about 500 riders. It also drew Miami-Dade County mayoral candidate Carlos Gimenez, who showed up with a team of supporters at Government Center to smile at young people before the ride started. Gimenez’s presence, as well as the presence of the Red Bull mobile, the “U R Awesome! Free Hugs – High Fives – Peaceful Pounds” contingent (see below), and several other peddlers of this and that (including a couple of annoying guys selling wolf t-shirts), suggests that Miami Critical Mass has made an impression on local politicians and businesses alike. Whether this is a good or bad development remains to be seen, but Friday night it was quite conspicuous.
Meanwhile, Gimenez’s opponent, Julio Robaina, did not make an appearance, but he did send a representative.