Palm Beach hosts Full Moon Bike Ride 1/21/11

Introduce yourself to Old Florida and a friend to bicycling!

Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation are hosting a Full Moon Bike Ride at Riverbend Park on Friday, January 21 from 6:30 – 8:30pm. For just $5 per person, you (and the whole family) can explore most of the popular Riverbend Trails by moonlight. This is a leisurely paced, guided ride with water breaks and time to ask local guides questions about the park and wildlife along the Loxahatchee National Wild and Scenic River. You will be expected to have lights on your bike (What? You don’t have lights? A long-lasting, sturdy set is waiting for you at your local bike shop…) and wear a helmet.

This is a great way to introduce bicycling to a friend. Bicycles are available for rent from Canoe Outfitters, (561) 746-7053. Like all the rides we promote, this is not a ‘Bike Coalition’ ride but is hosted by friends and supporters. They’ve only got space for 60 riders and will be requiring reservation. Please call JoAnna Hertz at (561)966-6686 to sign up or ask any additional questions.

Mountain Bicyclists Take to Markham for Third Rumble in the Jungle

Every year, Dave Williams and other local, dedicated volunteers organize “The Rumble in the Jungle,” a mountain bike race in Markham Park to raise money used to maintain what are some of South Florida’s best off-road trails. Today’s third annual Rumble in the Jungle attracted almost 150 teams and solo riders from as far north as Jupiter (On Your Mark) and as far south as Miami (Scoot Skate & Bike, RB CyclesEverglades Bicycle Club). Registration involved a visit to a local Broward County bicycle shop and purchase of a $25 Home Depot gift card that would go 100% toward supplies used to keep the trails well-maintained.

Riding out for the Rumble in the Jungle

The race is pretty laid-back. Riders from novice to expert came out to ride the 8 laps totaling 50miles of trail. There were riders at least as young as 13 (Go Chris!) to the… more mature cyclist. The whole thing is clearly a labor of love on the part of dedicated Mountain Bike Patrol volunteers and it was inspiring to see what some friends and like-minded recreational riders can do when they work together. Local shop, Alex’s Pro Bicycle Shop, donated the race plates. Redbull dropped off some drinks and shots. When a sudden downpour came to cool down what felt like record-breaking heat, everyone helped keep the gear undercover. Before the final count, it was clear that ride has raised upwards of $4,000.

Dave and Chris Marking Riders' Times

Volunteer Trail Maintenance Opportunities Abound

If you’re considering getting on a mountain bike for the first time, why not ask around your local bike shop? Maybe a neighbor is at Oleta every weekend – or Markham, Quiet Waters, Amelia Earhart, Dyer or any of the other South Florida parks catering to off-road bicycling. Groups like Club Mud (Miami and Broward) and the Florida Off Road Cycling Enthusiasts, or FORCE (Palm Beach) are ready to talk to you and offer suggestions for your next off-road ride. South Florida is home to some of the most fun, supportive and engaged people on bicycles whom I have ever met. I’m so lucky that I get to meet more of you all the time – don’t be shy; come out, ride and say hello!

If you do want to race next year, you’ve got lots of time to prepare; the next ride is in March. Given the support from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, organizer Dave Williams suggested he might consider having registration at some shops outside of Broward, too. The South Florida Bike Coalition was proud to help out and see friends new and old riding for all of us. Ride On.

Boca is Beautiful by Bicycle (Even for Beginners)

Wednesday Night's Boca Urban Ride

Who knew that Boca Raton was filled to overflowing with bikeable neighborhoods, nature paths, large urban streets and, for those so inclined, some exceptional parking lots?

Peter: Fearless Leader, Watermelon Hero

I met some very fun people on last night’s Boca Urban Ride and got in twenty miles of the city’s best bicycling routes. Led by Peter and ‘Big Dave’ (from Treasure Coast Cycling), the ride caters to people new to the sport and those in recovery. Peter looks like the model of physical fitness on the outside – in many way, he is – but just a couple of years ago his heart almost gave out post-chemo. Now he helps fellow survivors of disease and regular folk get on the bicycle for fitness and good times. I asked him if the Boca Urban Ride was really every week and he explained, “Yes. It’s not just a ride, it’s a lifestyle.” Such a cool guy.

Peter also organizes a similar ride on Thursdays in Lake Worth, the even mellower Laid Back in Lake Worth Ride. Much shorter in distance (about 10miles), a fellow rider tells me it’s fun because the shorter distance means he can keep up on his Triumph (!) Turns out Brad is a vintage bicycle collector specializing in rare english bikes. (Where do all these cool people come from?) He promises to let me come check out his workshop and take loads of pictures sometime and I take it as my duty to document it for you readers of the SFBC blog. Brad says he once considered starting a vintage bike club down here but wasn’t confident there would be enough interest. I know some of you have ideas, indecipherable old bike parts, interest in an informal vintage bicycling group. Let me know so we can get this rolling. (I love my job!)

If you would like to join this ride but think Boca is too far, I suggest you take Tri-Rail (I love tri-rail!). The route crosses right through the Boca Raton train station, making it an easy way to join the group. About the pace: it depends on who joins the ride but it didn’t really pass 12mph much this week. Don’t let that keep you, either: speedy duo Dan and Monty ride the same exact route at a faster speed (15+mph) with added loops, mini-races through parking lots and extended route to the beach. We met up with them probably 6 times in 2.5 hours so… Another great thing about this ride is you can jump in between the paces and push yourself or add in extra breaks, as needed. It’s a tested route that gives participants lots of options to grow into and out of. Either way, you’ll want to be sure to ride back to the end point around 10pm. Wendy leads stretches for everyone, Big Dave lets out the comments he couldn’t drop in traffic and Peter uncovers the watermelon that has been awaiting us in ice since he picked it up from his local farmer’s market.

Kevin, Big Dave, Melissa, Peggy, Maureen, Peter, Brad & Wendy - Missing are speed demons, Dan & Monty

What is better than riding in South Florida, being healthy and meeting new friends? (so very hokey but true.)

Monday Morning Weekend Recap: ‘Coalitioning’

The South Florida Bike Coalition provides resources, support and energy for local bicycling advocates, organized and less so. We have partnered with groups large and small with all kinds of ends in mind. This weekend, we partnered with 1Sky to promote bicycling to Hands Across the Sand, a worldwide gathering of people standing for a clean energy future.

SFBC works to empower individuals and groups to host their own group rides and races, rather than creating new rides ourselves. So… even though I have helped lead or run rides countless times, it was actually on Saturday that I ended up personally leading a ride for the very first time. Fun! Twelve people gathered in Downtown Miami, a number of whom were unaware of their legal rights to ride safely in roadway. I love the feeling when I get to say, “Yes, you are supposed to ride confidently and safely in the middle of the lane!” Of course, I go on to explain when sharing the lane is either legally required or just plain common courtesy. Riding over the Venetian Causeway bike lanes to the Beach and back gave us lots of opportunities to practice passing to the left, riding two abreast and riding single file, proper bike locking, signaling and they why/how of checking one’s brakes-

On the beach, we saw friends from the Urban Paradise Guild, Surfrider Foundation, ECOMB, the Sierra Club and countless other organizations. We also ran into SFBC friend Liam Crotty, who snapped some sweet shots of us:

The 'Urban Rough Riders', Photo from

The 'Urban Rough Riders', Photo from

Our friends at Emerge Miami organized the first bicycle ride to Hands Across the Sand that took place last Spring. They couldn’t lead this one because they were co-hosting the Youth Bike ‘Bike Miami Ride’ in Miami’s Upper Eastside, but they rode over and joined us just in time!

SFBC Member & Emerger Dario G., Photo from

A loud SFBC shout-out and thank you to Emerge Miami, Youth Bike, the City of Miami and everyone who made it a day to remember for children and parents in Morningside Park. ~~

On Sunday, I met up with Daniel and Yvette from the South Florida Slow Bike Movement and @BikeMIA on twitter. Daniel was one of the Bike Miami program’s most dedicated volunteers and it was a pleasure to catch up with him, as always. Daniel talked to me about the bike lane fiasco that is the MacArthur Causeway, (Let’s hope this post serves as a nudge to get him and Yvette to blog their harrowing experience soon!) serving on the City of Miami Beach “Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Bikeways,” arguing for bicycle facilities on Euclid (in the plan but still on the chopping block), DecoBike (are we inviting 900 people who maybe can’t ride a bicycle and are unfamiliar with road rules to the streets of SoBe?), bicycle theft (3rd time a charm?), and the general excitement in our community for Momentum Magazine‘s upcoming feature on bicycling in Miami (Go Dina Go!)

I only wish that I had time to go on all of the bike rides that happen in South Florida every weekend. We’ve heard Critical Mass, zMotion’s Ride for Josie, Velo Sundays and Ft. Lauderdale’s Urban Ride were all big successes. This Thursday, the ever-expanding Kendall Twilight Ride will celebrate Independence Day with a ‘Freedom’ themed ride. Meet up at 7pm at the Miccosukee Golf & Country Club (intersection of SW 142nd Ave & SW 68th Street) in your red, white and blue and ride round the course four times. It’s a beautiful, comfortable, laid-back ride. SFBC will also be representing this Thursday at a public meeting to discuss toll money for bicycle/safety improvements to the Rickenbacker in Miami-Dade. There are also rides in Boca and Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday and the SFBC Meeting of the Board. Lots to do this week – Ride Safe, South Florida!

Velo Sundays: Inspiration to Start Your Own Group Ride

A few weeks ago, one average (albeit very cool) guy decided to start a group ride in his neighborhood in South Miami. Our unassuming hero – we’ll call him Billy – noticed a lack of easy afternoon or evening rides around the Dadeland area and figured that people on all kinds of bicycles might enjoy a laid back Sunday evening ride. So Billy invited some friends, created a facebook event, and Velo Sundays was born.

Velo Sundays is “a weekly ride for all types of cyclists. The ride will cover 10-15 miles. All bikes are welcome. Meet up in front of Dadeland Station near the metro stop.” Riders are encouraged to bring water, wear helmets, have working lights. The facebook page says “Costumes, funny hats, and bells are always appreciated.” I rode with the group on Sunday and found it to be a nicely mixed crowd. Fixed gears and hybrids, cruisers and mountain bikes, spandex and cutoffs – all riding in friendly harmony through the streets of Pinecrest and South Miami. I gotta say – it was a lot of fun.

If you’re free on Sunday, meet up at Dadeland North Station at 7pm – Easy to get to by metro, bus, M-Path or car (plenty of parking). Please, Don’t be intimidated by whatever it is that keeps you from trying a group ride. This is one mixed group that will stay with you and the ride is a comfortable 10-15 miles at a relaxed average 12-15mph. (Yes, we stop at red lights and ride single file when cars come up to pass.) Our group was small enough at 25 riders that there was no need for corking. We found the evening drivers to be noticeably civil and ready to pass us at with the minimum 3 feet. Afterwards, smaller groups split up and met for dinner or drinks at nearby places. It was good times.

Velo Sundays not convenient for you? Have you thought about starting your own ride?

There are few joys like being a part of someone’s first group ride. The feeling of freedom, camaraderie, support and fun makes it one of the best parts of what we do here at SFBC. The South Florida Bike Coalition supports you in planning social group rides in your neighborhood. We can talk you through your ideas for when and how often, where to start and how to promote it. We have volunteers on staff who can help you create a flyer or take you through the process of creating a facebook or meetup event. We already have one member planning to bring a neighborhood ride on Thursday evenings to West Kendall and two others in the early planning stages in North Miami Beach. How about Homestead, Pompano or West Jupiter?

If you have a ride or other bicycle-friendly event that we can help promote, let us know. SFBC is dedicated to empowering South Florida’s riding groups and individuals to ride better, safer and more often.

UPDATE!!! The Thursday ride in Kendall is scheduled to start tomorrow! RSVP on facebook here.

The new “Kendall Cycling Group Ride” will be lead by SFBC member and League of American Bicyclists Ambassador, Angel Walkine. It starts at 7pm at the Kendale Lakes Country Club Bicycle Path – meetup at the intersection of SW 142nd Avenue & SW 68th Street (map here). Everyone on bicycles is welcome for this casual, easygoing ride. (Please remember your helmet, water and lights.) If it rains, the ride will be rescheduled for Thursday, June 17th, same time and place.
Please wear a helmet. Water and lights are recommended. If it rains the ride will be rescheduled for the following Thursday, June 17th, 7 p.m. same location.
The ride is a four mile loop around the course/park on a bike lane with no stops! Angel promises the group will stop occasionally for water and photos whenever anyone would like a break. The ride will be beautiful, expect to see lots of wildlife and enjoy South Florida by twilight. Depending on interest, the group can double or triple the mileage.

Why We Ride: Community, Charity, Change

SFBC members ride for countless reasons – among my favorites: community, charity and change.

Yesterday, SFBC members and friends organized a bicycle tour of street art in our neighborhood, the Wynwood Arts District. We saw classic, commissioned works of art, murals, graffiti and design. We met with Alexis Samaniego, a local boy-turned international artist in the middle of a piece, toured the gallery at the Wynwood Walls, were welcomed onto secret, hidden private properties to discover pieces of every scale. It was a beautiful day for a bike ride and a wonderful way to explore Miami’s unique cultural community. At stops along the way, I met people on all kinds of bicycles from all parts of the county. The positive energy you get on a bike ride with new friends fueled hours of conversation, after-ride drinks and lunch and then an after-after party in Little Havana last night. Bikes build community.

(Check out more photos and stories here)

Many people get on the bike for the first time not for themselves, but for charity. We ride to raise money for cures to disease, to raise awareness about injustice or promote participation in movements for good. zMotion is an ever-growing South Florida racing team that has raised millions of dollars for multiple sclerosis and other causes, both global and local. Their next charity event is Let’s Break the Cycle…. A Ride for Josie, a local teenager that was the victim of a brutal attack from another high school student. The ride is taking place on June 27 and we encourage you to take part.

Anytime you ride your bicycle, you are reminding other people that this fun, sustainable, healthy mode of transportation and recreation is available to them. Whether you or they realize it or not, when you pass a car stuck in traffic, the motorist is reminded that not everyone has to be tied to a gas-guzzling vehicle for every trip she takes. Everytime you ride, you are effecting a positive change for your body, for your day and for the world and people around you.

SFBC is working with members to plan a ride for another kind of change: We need to raise awareness among bicyclists, pedestrians, victims of drunk driving and advocates for better state governance that HB971 will negatively affect us all. It is time to unite our voices against policies that restrict our rights to use our shared public space safely. Should we have one ride, or several? Miami-Dade, Broward and/or Palm Beach. Let us know if you would like to bring the ride/walk to your neighborhood because SFBC wants to not only lead in our community, but empower you to do the same.

Why do you ride?

Zimmerman MS Bike Ride

What a ride! Thousands of people raised millions of dollars towards curing Multiple Scleroris at the 2010 Zimmerman MS Bike Ride. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of, even just as a volunteer. Next year, however, I’m in for the ride.

The MS Ride gives people who bicycle the opportunity to ride 35, 50 and 75 miles courses for two days, with an overnight stay in Key Largo that features a giant, sponsored bicycle fun fest in John Pennecamp State Park. Every person who registers raises at least $300 for the MS Society. Most people participate in teams – and there are all kinds of teams – but a number of people rode solo or came with a friend. The ride is not exclusive to road racers, either. I saw people cross the finish line on mountain bikes, fixed gears, hybrids, recumbents, handcycles, tandems and even a tallbike. More photos on our facebook page here.

Team Keirin included dozens of fixed gears

For someone who just loves bicycles, I have to say that the MS Ride brought together some of the most beautiful bicycles I’ve ever seen. Still, it was the sight of people riding through on their ‘regular’ bikes after as many as 75 miles of mostly headwinds that really inspired me.

Regular means something different to the Freak Bike Militia

Why ever and wherever you ride, consider riding for charity. It’s empowering, fun and positive all-around. Our friends at zMotion are an ever-growing group of riders for good causes. Here are some of them gearing up at 6:30am yesterday morning:Today’s portion of the ride was cancelled due to rain. An unfortunate turn of the weather- but still a hugely successful event for many, many reasons.

My thanks to everyone who came by and said hello to me as I volunteered with the Florida Bicycle Association. Many people signed up to learn more about what we are doing and it was a pleasure to meet some of you I’ve only met through facebook. I hope to see you all this Sunday for Bike Miami Days in the Grove!

Bike Prom~ Tweed Ride~ Broward Critical Mass

In celebration of Florida’s Bike Month, groups like MOST, Emerge Miami, Green Mobility Network and the Wolf Pack, all organized fun rides in the last 24 hours. Last night, Miami’s first Bike Prom invited people to dress up and ride to a diverse playlist of dance music through the streets of Downtown Miami. It was hugely successful for the 40 people who came, largely because of the talents of Emerge Miami’s own, Daus. Daus designed an impressive moving DJ booth, complete with record player and ipod hookup, all powered by a car battery and attached to his beautiful old Schwinn with a standard bike trailer hitch. The MOST/Emerge collaboration named Daus Prom King for his work and gave the Prom Queen title to Cojo, for her sweet flyer. We capped off the night with drinks at Bar, where the always friendly management let us park our bikes safely in the back.

Daus+Schwinn+Bike Trailer+Speakers = Dance Party

The First Annual Green Mobility Coral Gables Tweed Ride inspired some beautiful ensembles among the over 60 people who came to celebrate the traditional English look, Coral Gables history, and South Florida’s unseasonably cool Spring weather. Some swanky prizes went to the tweediest bicycle, costume and facial hair. I can’t wait until next year!

More photos to come… but check out MiamiBikeScene for the tweediest bike ride video I’ve ever seen!

Broward’s own “Wolf Pack”, an ever growing group of cyclists in and around Coral Springs, organized a new Critical Mass ride Saturday afternoon. The group was a manageable 15-20 cyclists, who rode from ‘The Walk’ around Coral Springs’ streets and parks. It was fun to a part of it and I’m looking forward to their making this a regular thing. More information (and some nicer pictures from the ride) on their Facebook page here.