I enjoy riding my bike in Miami, I truly do, and as a rider I wear many hats. I am a roadie, a commuter and a trail rider. As a result, it is possible for me to see my great city from the vantage point of my bike saddle.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to shun my auto in lieu of the bike, and by the same token I also get to see the city and its cyclists from the point of view of a driver, and herein lies the paradox. In the morning my drive takes me from West to East - from east comes the true commuters and these guys get it !
Their bikes are simply that ... I ride, a mode of transportation that takes them from their home to their jobs, mostly in the service industry in the establishments out west. This are not tricked out bikes, they are those which you pick up at Walmart for less than a hundred bucks. But they get them to and from work reliably and best of all ... for free.
These commuters will not risk life and limb, because well, it's just not worth it. As a result and in the process, they teach us a lesson... or two.
For starters, the majority of them wear reflective vests, they stop at every intersection, look over their shoulder before crossing every street or driveway, lest they get cut off by a careless driver and slowly make their progress towards their final destination to avoid sweating too much before the start of their shift.
As I return from East to West during my evening commute (on my bike) I come across these fellow riders as they they return home as well - I go west, they go east and we are all commuters.
Despite the fundamental differences between our reasons to commute, I feel fortunate to have other options, but by the same token paradoxically I would almost hope that I had no other option but to commute on my bike.
Now, every time I ride by a Burger King, Mac Donald's or any other fine establishment and I see a bike ....or several chained to the street sign in front - I know that they belong to my fellow commuters and as we pass each other in opposite directions we nod in mutual respect and carry on.
These guys are the real thing, and we owe it to them to continue with our plight so that they, even more than us can benefit from a more bike friendly society.
After all, it makes me feel vindicated when my Taco Bell meal is prepared and served by a rider ...just like me.
Ride on !