Call it Miami’s finest “Dutch Treat”.
In what turned out to be a momentous night for cycling in Miami, nearly 2,000 Miamians attended The “Go Dutch! Orange Bike-In Festival” after April’s Critical Mass bicycle ride on Friday, April 27 at Grand Central Park.
The Consulate of the Netherlands co-hosted the event with a variety of other sponsors in celebration the Dutch national holiday “Queens Day”. The free event was billed as a celebration of “Dutch culture, sustainable living and Miami’s growing and dynamic cycling scene.”
800 orange t-shirts were distributed for free (and quickly claimed) at the beginning of the ride at Government Center, courtesy of Grolsch lager. Cyclists wearing the t-shirts were treated to a discount on Grolsch drafts later at the festival.
Riders were encouraged to arrive in Dutch-inspired outfits for the “orange costume contest” with grand prize of a custom bike from Republic Bike. DJ’s provided the tunes and popular downtown restaurants including Elwoods Gastro Pub, Sparky’s Roadside BBQ, Kork Wine & Cheese, and Puntino were on hand to offer eats to hungry cyclists.
The Green Mobility Network provided free bicycle valet free-of-charge and volunteers from the Magic City Bicycle Collective were set-up to demonstrate simple bike repairs and maintenance. There was even a giant contraption called the “Cycle Party” which was essentially a big pedal-powered group vehicle that made it’s way around the park, full of eager participants.
The Dutch-themed event was a collaborative effort between Grolsch, The Miami Bike Scene, the Downtown Miami Partnership, the Consulate General of The Netherlands, and the Omni Parkwest Redevelopment Association (OPRA). With this event, the Dutch consulate continued to encourage Miamians to further embrace cycling as transportation, as they also sponsored the ThinkBike Workshop last May.
The event was a tremendous success despite a few logistical problems – especially the long lines for beer that thirsty riders had to endure after a 12 mile ride! However, even a little rain could not suppress the energy brought by nearly 2,000 cyclists that found their way to Grand Central park after a 12-mile cruise through Little Havana, Coral Gables and downtown Miami.
The whole evening made me wonder if this was perhaps the most important night for cycling in Miami in recent memory. When we turn out to vote in local elections, there is no box that says “make my city bicycle-friendly”. But seeing so many Miamians turn out for a bicycle ride in their city and to celebrate the Dutch culture that so widely-embraces cycling is perhaps the closest thing we can do to “vote”. After all, the best way to be a bicycle advocate is to simply ride your bike.
And ride we did. Hopefully, Miami-Dade officials are taking notice.
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