Will 2012 be regarded as the year Critical Mass penetrated Miami’s mainstream culture?
There’s no denying it, ladies and gentlemen: The monthly assemblage of what is now consistently 1000-2000 cyclists for Miami’s Critical Mass has hit, or is at least beginning to hit, the mainstream.
Yes, of course, we have the brouhaha generated by certain celebrity athletes’ participation at recent rides. If you’ve missed it, here’s just one tiny sample of the coverage of recent Critical Mass appearances by the likes of basketball idols Dwayne Wade and Lebron James.
As with all cities, but with Miami in particular, the presence of high-profile figures makes things buzz just a bit more loudly and brightly. Their presence has undeniably elevated the event’s public profile in a positive way. Thank you, basketball superheros!
As a quick aside, though, in the opinion of this humble author, if we wish to see these guys at future rides — which would be great for the Miami biking community — we should probably not hound them with fanatical human-worshiping behavior. Let them embrace the ride in its raw, unadulterated-by-celebrity-fixation glory like any other Miamian.
Twenty-twelve was critical for Critical Mass in ways that go beyond the mere presence of famous athletes, though. Most importantly, the past year saw a virtually exponential increase in ridership.
I don’t have any solid data (does anyone?), but there’s a distinct impression that the number of riders averaged around 500 in 2011 while averaging around 1000 in 2012 (plus or minus a few hundred, depending on the month, weather, and maybe even the alignment of the planets — who knows!?)
What’s important to understand, though, is that Critical Mass reached a certain threshold in 2012. Throughout the course of the past year, word has spread farther and wider than ever before on the wonders and excitement of this cherished celebration of cycling and community.
It’s penetrated beyond the sub-cultural circles of fixie-riding hipsters; latex-wearing roadies; cruiser-riding beach bums; blinged-out, low-riding gangsters; your grandma and grandpa; and all other bicycle geek squads of various sorts (including nerdy blog writers).
Indeed, it’s now even reached the radars of Miami’s basketball legends-in-the-making.
The point, however, is that Critical Mass brought D-Wade and King James; they didn’t bring Critical Mass.
Dare I also go so far as to posit that in 2012 Critical Mass even served diplomatic purposes by further consolidating bilateral relations between the United States and at least one of its European allies?
We all remember the epic April 2012 Go Dutch! Orange Bike-In Festival!, celebrating Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) and sponsored by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.
As with all Miami Critical Mass rides, this righteous event was unofficially organized by the The Miami Bike Scene (at least to the extent that such an inherently organic and self-regulating event can even be ‘organized’ at all).
There are also other qualities marking the Critical Mass rides of 2012 from all previous years. In the preceding years, and even in early 2012, Critical Massers would convene directly beneath the Metrorail and Metromover tracks at the Government Center transit station, where the administrative offices of Miami-Dade County are located.
Now, however, the rendezvous point has reached, well, a critical mass. We now regularly occupy not only the ground floor of Government Center station, but also nearly all of NW 1st Street from NW 1st to 2nd Avenues, with pockets of riders filling other adjacent areas as well. The meeting spot has now become the meeting block.
The city’s public safety crews are now much more sympathetic and cooperative with the event too. I personally remember my earliest masses when I would hear rumors floating through the crowds that cops were vigilantly ‘giving citations’ and that riders needed to ‘watch out for cops’.
Such hearsay, whether legitimate or not, cast a sort of perceived antagonism between cops and mass cyclists. These days, though, I don’t hear any of that nonsense, and I’m glad for it too! In fact, the only interaction I witnessed between the cyclists and cops at this past weekend’s ride was quite heartening: patrol cars waited patiently for 10-15 minutes for the bulk of the mass to get through.
Also, as was recently reported on an extremely prestigious, high-profile news source, our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man was seen protecting Critical Mass riders as they made their way through the city.
With public defenders like Spidey (or at least a cool firefighter dude dressed-up like him) climbing street-lamps to demonstrate their good-will toward cyclists, one finds it difficult to deny that Critical Mass has indeed made it to the big leagues of Miami’s collective consciousness.
So, our dearly beloved readers, we ask you to give us your reflections on the past year of Critical Mass . . .
Will you remember 2012 as the year Miami’s Critical Mass went mainstream?
Whatever the case, while 2012 was unquestionably a great year for Miami Critical Mass, I’m pretty sure it’s only going to get better in 2013.
Happy New Year, Miami!
CategoriesAccident Architecture bicycles bike lanes Bike Miami Days biking Biscayne Boulevard Brickell bus Climate Change Coconut Grove complete streets Downtown Miami FDOT High Speed Rail Metrorail Miami Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Transit Miami 21 Miami Beach Museum Park News Parking Parks Pedestrian Pedestrians Pic o' the Day Planning Real Estate Development Rickenbacker Causeway Sprawl Streetcar Traffic Transit Transitography Transit Oriented Development Transportation Tri-Rail Uncategorized Urban Design Urban Development Boundary Urban Growth Urban Planning Walkability
South Florida Transportation
- Bike SoMi
- Emerge Miami
- Florida Bicycle Association
- Florida Department of Transportation
- Florida Greenbook Roadway Design Manual
- Green Mobility Network
- Miami Bike Report
- Miami-Dade BPAC
- Miami-Dade Expressway Authority
- Miami-Dade Transit
- Slow Bike Miami
- Spokes 'n' Folks
- State of Florida Bike/Ped Laws
- TACOLCY Bicycle Club
- The M-Path to Enlightenment
- The Miami Bike Scene
- Transit to MIA
- Tri-Rail (South Florida Regional Transportation Authority)
Transit Blogs and Resources
- City Transit Advocates
- The Transport Politic
- CTA Tattler
- Design New Haven
- Spacing Wire • understanding the urban landscape
- Greater Greater Washington
- public transit
- Metro Library and Archive Transportation Headlines
- Trains For America
- Midwest High Speed Rail
- CoolTown Studios
- Off the Kuff
- Transit In Utah
- Buildings and Food
- The Overhead Wire
- JACKSONVILLE TRANSIT
- Human Transit
- Portland Transport
- Welcome to the FastLane: The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary
South Florida Blogosphere
- 305 Misadventures
- Beached Miami
- BRICKELL LIFE
- Buildings and Food
- Coconut Grove Grapevine
- Coral Gables
- Coral Gables Watch
- Dolce Miami
- Eye On Miami
- Hallandale Beach Blog
- Herald Watch
- HOMESTEAD IS HOME
- JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG
- Liam Crotty Photography
- Miami beach 411
- Miami Every Day Photo
- Miami Fever
- Miami For Change
- Miami Urbanist
- Michael Emilio
- Photography is Not a Crime
- REV Miami – Music, Art, Events, and Counter-Culture Magazine
- Riptide 2.0
- South Beach Hoosier
- South Florida Bike Coalition
- South Florida Daily Blog
- Urban City Architecture
- Urban Environment League
- View from Virginia Key
- What Miami
Planning and Design Resources
Subscribe via Email
- Matthew Toro on Worth a Reminder: County Transportation Summit
- Ashley Jimenez on Sun-Rail & Florida’s High-Speed Rail Future
- xxs on Lost Vision? Miami-Dade Transit 40 Years On . . .
- Matthew Toro on Worth a Reminder: County Transportation Summit
- Gables on Worth a Reminder: County Transportation Summit
- rethink priorities on Lost Vision? Miami-Dade Transit 40 Years On . . .
- In America's Cities, the Better-Off Trade Retail for Restaurants May 19, 2013The replacement of retail establishments with restaurants in America’s urban centers has a demographic slant. […]
- Alley Rally Aims to Examine the City's Forgotten Spaces May 19, 2013In popular culture alleyways are often depicted as the setting for illicit acts. But seen in a different light, alleys are key contributors to urban life. SPUR kicks off a week of alley exploration with an essay on their benefits. […]
- Rural-Urban Partnerships May Be the Key to Water Conservation May 19, 2013Most of us who live in major metropolitan areas know that urban water supplies are dwindling. The question is: what can we do about it? […]
- Living with Frank Lloyd Wright May 19, 201320 homes designed by the renowned architect are looking for a discerning owner. But buyer beware, says Joann S. Lublin, 'owning an architectural treasure can come with significant headaches.' […]
- Don't Close Shop Just Yet, Gen Y Still Likes Shopping in Stores May 19, 2013The rise of online shopping has been seen by some as presaging the demise of the physical store. However, a new report based on national survey results shows that Generation Y isn't ready to give up shopping on foot. […]
- Frightful City Ranking of the Week: Most Dog Attacks May 18, 2013Who else but the U.S. Postal Service would be able to rank America's worst cities for dog attacks? Just in time for National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the USPS has released the "Fiscal Year 2012 U.S. Postal Service Dog Attack City Ranking." […]
- The Emancipation of Planning Education May 18, 2013Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are an emerging trend in higher education. And for the first time a course dedicated to urban planning made its debut this month. Could this trend transform planning education? […]
- Tidal Wave Energy: Is it Ecologically Sustainable? May 18, 2013Balancing renewable energy production and ecological preservation is a difficult business for governments who have ample resources, but also pristine environments that would be negatively impacted. […]
- PATH to Ruin: New York Builds the World's Costliest Train Station May 18, 2013Stephen Jacob Smith examines how high emotions, grand designs, poor negotiating, and "extreme politicization" drove the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to build the world's most expensive train station in Lower Manhattan. […]
- Energy Secretary Confirmed; EPA Pick Advances May 18, 2013On May 16, President Obama's pick to head the EPA, Gina McCarthy, was approved on a 10-8 party-line vote by a Senate Committee and advances to the full Senate. His pick to head the Dept. of Energy, Ernest Moniz, was approved by the Senate by 97-0. […]
- In America's Cities, the Better-Off Trade Retail for Restaurants May 19, 2013
- An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.