University of Miami Law School Supports the Bike Coalition

The South Florida Bike Coalition would like to thank the University of Miami Law School community for coming together during this year’s Philanthropy Week to raise $1,600 for our work in honor of Natasha Pettigrew. It has been an honor for us to get to know Natasha through her story, her friends and professors. As many of you know who follow this blog, Natasha was a student at UM who was killed last year while riding her bicycle. Her friends chose to honor her with a bicycle ride from the Campus into Coral Gables, to her apartment in South Miami and back to campus. Natasha’s Ride reconnected many people who loved her with bicycling – something that meant the world to her.

People Line Up for Natasha's Ride

A special Bike Coalition Shout Out to Brian Sperber for showing us and his peers what leadership, dedication and friendship are all about. It’s a honor to have you in the Bike Coalition. Thanks for all that you do.

The South Florida Bike Coalition is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Funds raised in Natasha’s name will go to our work to improve and increase bicycling in the Miami community, specifically around the area’s colleges and universities. If you would like to make a contribution to Natasha’s fund, you may do so at Please be sure to make a note that your donation is for Natasha and also let us know if you wish to remain anonymous. Thank you.

Natasha’s Ride: Saturday, February 26

Natasha Pettigrew was a friend, a Miami Law School student, a candidate for U.S. Senate from the State of Maryland, a leader in OUTLAW and other campus groups, a role model, a daughter and a bicycle commuter.

Her fellow students and friends have chosen to honor Natasha with a ride and a signature memorial fund that will support pro-bicycling programs of the South Florida Bike Coalition. “Natasha’s Ride” will keep Natasha’s dream alive for a better, safer Miami for traveling by bicycle.

Learn more about this extraordinary woman and join us a group ride around the University of Miami campus and the Cities of Coral Gables and South Miami. Donations will be requested but not required. RSVP on facebook here. Meet up, Ride out and Ceremony at 1311 Miller Road, Coral Gables, Florida.

9-10am: Registration & Breakfast
10am: Ride
11:30am: Ceremony on the Bricks

Read more about Natasha Pettigrew:

The South Florida Bike Coalition is honored to partner with Natasha’s friends and fellow students to ensure that her dream of a truly bicycle-friendly Miami and University community can continue to inspire positive change here. If you would like to get involved with Natasha’s Ride, please contact us at Monetary contributions in her honor can be made here; please be sure to note that it is for Natasha’s Ride.

Thank you – and Ride On, 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?

28 Reasons to Bicycle, from the University of Central Florida

So many reasons to ride a bicycle! If you ride a bicycle in South Florida, chances are that you’ve been faced with the awestruck, disbelieving, inspired look of a full-time motorist who can’t understand why you ride. But, but… it’s hot! unsafe! it could rain! aren’t you scared?! Yes, it’s hot but, statistically, safer than your average car trip and completely doable, in rain, with the right gear. If you follow the rules and pay attention, riding a bicycle can be thrilling rather than frightening.

Everyone has reasons for riding, but here are 28 really good ones, backed up with numbers and other fun facts and posted by the University of Central Florida’s Environmental Management Program. Go on and share!

  1. Increase in local property values.
  2. Correlation with Overall Wealth.
  3. Less Public Money Is Needed To Create a High Quality Transportation System.
  4. High-Tech Business Is Attracted by a Perceived Better Quality of Life
  5. Improved Personal Finances
  6. Better Physical Health
  7. Better Mental and Emotional Health
  8. Fewer Overweight and Obese Citizens
  9. More Free Time
  10. More Beauty
  11. Greater Mobility
  12. Inclusion of Senior Citizens
  13. More Equitable Living for Low Income Earners
  14. Increased Sense of Community
  15. Individual Opportunities for Safer Travel
  16. Less Congested Roads
  17. Safer, Quieter Neighborhoods
  18. More Resources for Public Use
  19. Enhanced and More Credible Metropolitan Image
  20. Better Air Quality
  21. Visually More Appealing Metropolitan Area
  22. Cleaner Surface and Ground Water
  23. Quieter City
  24. Slowed Pace of Global Warming
  25. More Sustainable Lifestyle
  26. Recognition for Leadership in Sound Environmental Policy
  27. Readiness for Other Environmental Initiatives
  28. Enhanced Quality of Life for Women