Miami's quickly growing bike scene remains tightly interwoven with the city's other do-it-yourself-spirited, artsy subcultures.
Sure, there are plenty of people with fancy road bikes and Lycra suits joining Critical Mass and speeding along on group rides. But a large number of the scene's most outspoken two-wheelers are young people who push for bicycling less as an exercise form per se.
For them, hopping on a bike is a fun, cheap, and healthier way to, say, get to the latest Wynwood gallery opening. That's why you'll see bike valets, education books, and other cool, two-wheel stuff integrated into events otherwise heavy on music, art, and other fun festivities.
Case in point: Two events this weekend celebrate urban cycling as a growing community, and as a means, rather than a pedal-for-miles end in itself.
Critical Mass Goes Dutch
Tonight (Friday, April 26) marks another edition of the monthly Critical Mass ride, where cyclists of all stripes gather for a huge, slow ride through city streets to prove that yes, bicycles count as regular traffic too.
But where Critical Mass usually ends at a bar or restaurant, tonight it winds up at Grand Central Park for a special mini festival called "Go Dutch." A little confusingly, it's supposed to be a celebration of Queen's Day in the Netherlands -- but that's probably because the event's major corporate sponsor is Dutch beer maker Grolsch.
Nevertheless, other sponsors include Grand Central Park and Miami Bike Scene, the be-all, end-all blog of Miami urban cycling.
The festival includes a bike polo demonstration, a kiddie tricycle race, a Grolsch-sponsored raffle for a fixed-gear bike and, yep, music -- an early-evening version of Grand Central's popular Friday-night Peachfuzz party, heavy on R&B and hip-hop nostalgia. Admission is free and the first 500 people to show up get a limited edition T-shirt. The event runs from 7 to 11 p.m. at Grand Central Park, 700 N. Miami Ave., Miami.
Alice In Wynwoodland
Saturday evening brings another event that gets a little purposefully weirder with its bike component. Dubbed Alice in Wynwoodland, it's a joint collaboration between Emerge Miami -- organizers of the annual Miami "bike prom" -- and Front Yard Theater Collective. Part bike ride, part street theater, participants are invited to meet at 6 p.m. at the Arsht Center Metro Mover station (formerly the Omni Station), 1455 Biscayne Blvd. Come with your bike -- and in an Alice in Wonderland costume, organizers say.
"Cyclists will accompany Alice in getting lost through the streets of our neighborhood," writes the theater collective's Gabriela Fernandez, "and discovering the weird, the mad and the beautiful in a series of skits that make up a fun and beautiful play about getting lost and finding one's self."
The total route won't be revealed until the start of the event -- "after all Alice didn't know where she was going," says Fernandez -- but it ends at the Garrett, the upstairs mini venue within, yes, Grand Central, at 697 N. Miami Ave. That's where the costumed riders get to witness the last part of the play and dance to DJs spinning over a screening of the classic Disney version of Alice. Again, admission is free and full details are at frontyardtheatercollective.com.