There comes a time when we are all faced with the evidence that points to the fact that we are mistaken.
Last night's Miami Critical Mass ride proved me wrong ... in a big way. I had previously taken away a couple of stars because in principle I am opposed to guerilla style activism that may fuel polarizing views and rather than bringing all parts together towards the achievement of a common goal, it drives them apart by the actions of one of the interested parties.
Critical Mass is potentially such a thing- However, we cannot discount power of the masses so to speak and in these event the Miami Cycling community in all shapes and forms comes together to achieve what is in my view, a common goal : Awareness
The event has grown exponentially from its first years when maybe a couple dozen of people showed up. Now it is literally hundreds of riders coming together for a fun ride around urban Miami.
It is truly a powerful scene to see all those blinking lights taking to the streets and exploring the city, the neighborhoods come out to witness the throng of bikes cruising to town and we are greeted by people waiving on the side of the road, and the sights, sounds, and smells of a Friday evening in the neighborhoods.
As for the car to cyclist relationship, the scales are tilted in favor of the bike and for the most part, motorists understand and respect what they see unfolding in front of them. It is undeniable that at some point in time, many of the participants are in fact motorists as well and as we take to the streets on our bikes and to some, this is their only experience of riding on open streets with real traffic, we learn to come together and respect each other in the open area that in the end, belongs to everyone alike.
Total kudos to the organizers of these event, the routes are always a cultural travel through the streets of the Magic City and gives us all an opportunity to see our town from the ground level and interact positively with our neighbors, as they play host to Critical Mass on any given Friday evening, the are surprised when they see peloton coming through and while wondering what on earth rolled into town, they welcome the riders and cheer enthusiastically.
Note to the riders, it is not cool to litter these communities while we go through it, we noticed riders discarding Styrofoam cups in the middle of the street - we are striving to reduce our footprint and this encompasses everything - also, smoking on the ride around fellow riders completely unacceptable.
To the corkers - great job ! Not only keeping the riders safe in the intersections, but also taking the time to politely interact with motorists as the cyclists roll by and inform them about Critical Mass.
I met a fellow rider who told he had learned about the ride when he witness Critical Mass while he was waiting on a red light and in his own words "It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen" - fast forward to the next month, he is now riding his bike on this event.