This Friday is the last Friday of the month, and that of course means it’s time for Miami Critical Mass, the monthly group bike ride that often draws 1,000+ cyclists. This month’s ride will leave Government Center at 7:15 p.m. for a 15-mile journey through East Little Havana, Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Coral Way, Little Havana, The Roads, Brickell, and Downtown (see route).
With the start of a new NBA basketball season around the corner, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade decided to work a bike ride into his training regimen. The eight-time All Star and two-time champion rode in the monthly group ride Critical Mass on Friday night and, as you can see in the video below, he seems to have caught the Critical Mass bug. “Yo, this is bananas,” Wade says in the video. “Critical Mass. I like it. With the people, you know what I mean, riding through the streets — I like it. It’s nice, man. I enjoyed it. This won’t be my last ride. Gotta get another one.” Something tells me next month’s ride is going to break the attendance record.
It’s a shame. A weekend that featured two celebratory “safe streets” milestones in Miami ended with startling slaughter on the city’s roads.
If you’ve ever ridden in Miami Critical Mass, a group bike ride on the last Friday of every month that draws hundreds of riders, it’s highly likely that Robert Noval corked for your benefit. In Critical Mass parlance, “corking” is the term for blocking an intersection from car traffic to allow the mass of cyclists to pass by safely. Noval is an inveterate corker and therefore one of the unsung saints of Critical Mass, which would descend into chaos without people like him sacrificing the flow of their ride to smooth the way for the mass at large.
On Friday night, a swarm of cyclists rode 14.3 miles through Little Havana, Allapattah, Wynwood, Midtown, Design District, Buena Vista, Little Haiti, Upper East Side, Edgewater, Omni, and Downtown in Miami Critical Mass. Following close on the death of cyclist Aaron Cohen, the victim of a hit-and-run collision on the Rickenbacker Causeway on Feb. 15, the ride had particular poignance for many riders. In general, it was another fun group ride on the streets of Miami with a cool breeze at our backs.
On Friday night approximately 1,200 cyclists (!) rode 12.5 miles through downtown, East Little Havana, West Flagler, Coral Way, Little Havana, and The Roads in Miami Critical Mass. With the huge turnout and tropical “winter” weather, the ride had an amazing energy. The only hiccup for me came toward the end of the ride, at the intersection of South Miami Avenue and Southwest Eighth Street, when the strung-out Mass made four lanes of cars wait for at least 10 light changes. The motorists were honking and yelling, too many cyclists — mostly stragglers — were taunting the drivers (“We own the road!” “Wait your turn!”), and one guy got out of his car and into the face of a corker. This kind of thing will happen when 1,200 riders take over the road, but heckling motorists is childish. Critical Mass is a statement ride, but that statement should not be: “We’re a bunch of assholes.” If a driver gets feisty, there are ways to handle it. You can ignore it or try to calm him down. But don’t tempt him to run you over — you might get someone else hit. Alright, sermon over. Check out our photos of the ride after the jump.
Instead of photographing Critical Mass on Friday night (as we do almost every month), we decided to shoot video of the mass gearing up for the monthly bike ride at Government Center, its usual downtown starting point. The song in the video is “This Is The Timing” by ANR, which is headlining the Beached Basel Bash on Wednesday alongside Millionyoung, PLAINS, Little Beard, and other fine Miami talent. To learn more about the BBB, visit the FB event page. But first, roll tape.
Friday night a silverback gorilla, an extraterrestrial, Charlie Chaplin, and approximately 800 other cyclists all went for a 19-mile bike ride through Coconut Grove, Downtown, Shenandoah, and Little Havana. Despite the rain, an asshole in a Cadillac sedan who threw a driving tantrum dangerously close to hundreds of cyclists, and the surveillance of a police helicopter, the Critical Mass costume ride was a solid way to gear up for Halloween weekend and the Sketchy Miami Halloween Party at Awarehouse tonight (RSVP). Here are some of our photos from the ride. You can see many more on the Beached Miami Facebook page.
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.
To learn more, levitate over to the Miami Critical Mass Facebook group. You can also peep our photos from last year’s Halloween ride to get a sense of what you’re in for. This entourage of Mario Kart junkies took home the gold trophy in the 2010 costume race. Tonight, though, victory could be yours.
p.p.s. For those of you wondering if I ran out of corny subtitles for this post, I didn’t. “Aaahh!!! Real Massters” wouldn’t fit.
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 …