Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

No More Bike Miami?

It started this morning with a status update on the Bike Miami page on Facebook:

Bike Miami Days Team: Working hard to bring Bike Miami Days back on Sunday, October 4th. That’s just around the corner… will you help us get the word out?

Cool! There’s been rides all summer, but we weren’t sure when the whole-day events would be back. Shortly thereafter, however, a blog post comes through the RSS feed from the Bike Miami Blog, being echoed almost immediately as a comment on the status update above (fourth comment down):

UPDATE: Friends, we apologize for the over-excitement. Bike Miami Days is seeking sponsors to cover the extensive costs associated with keeping this event FREE, FAMILY-FRIENDLY and FUN, all of which requires a great deal of services and financial support that we do not yet have. If you or your business would be able to sponsor the Set Up, Clean Up, Sound, Public Service Aides and Police or any other part of Bike Miami Days, please contact the Coordinator here. Thank you.

Baffled, I sent an email to the aforementioned coordinator, Kathryn Moore and after a short phone call she gave me the bad news: there’s just no money for a Bike Miami Days.

The October date was to be covered via private sponsorship, but the company in question seems to have pulled out, leaving the event still missing the close to $25,000 needed to hold the 6-hour event. This money, for the most part, pays for the City of Miami police officers present at the event, as well as other costs associated with closing a huge chunk of Downtown Miami.

The City of Miami just released also it’s proposed budget for the 2010 Fiscal Year, and try as I might, I cannot find any mention of Bike Miami in the future tense; it is mentioned a handful of times as part of the past year’s accomplishments, but nothing’s there about future iterations of the event. Add to this the fact that Bike Miami has been the brainchild of the Mayor Diaz administration, and that his term comes to an end in November, and it is easy to see how this community event could fall prey to the shifting political winds in Miami.

Plainly, this sucks. Here we are, just a couple of days ago celebrating the first victory of Miami 21, and now the event that is meant to foster the bikeable lifestyle Miami 21 seeks to facilitate is in danger of not happening. After coming from the dumps in the rankings of Bicycling Magazine’s Most Bikeable Cities two years ago to where they actually declare Miami a BikeTown less than a month ago, could it be that we’re headed for another nosedive?

Any private company/non-government organization/individual donor wants to sponsor part or all of Bike Miami Days, please come forward, please speak up.

Miami 21 – Round 2

Back in August 6th, the ambitious and forward-looking plan known as Miami 21 was presented to the City of Miami Commissioners for a vote. It should have been a day of celebration, yet it turned into a bittersweet stalemate when one of the up-to-then supporters, Commissioner Joe Sanchez, voted “No” on the plan, achieving a 2-2 result (the fifth City Commissioner was undergoing surgery that day), citing weak “zoning laws litigation” reasons for his vote. Since a 2-2 vote does not actually mean a defeat, Miami 21 has a new chance to go before the City Commissioners, and that is happening tomorrow, September 4.

Residents of the City of Miami that support Miami 21 are urged to attend the public hearing at City Hall, starting at 10 AM. This is a case of “the more, the merrier,” and Mayor Manny Diaz wants you there, as he has made known via the Miami 21 Facebook group and other media.

Miami 21 presents a new zoning code known as form-based code which seeks a more organic separation of zones and encourages mixed-use spaces. It would be a great simplification on my part to give a layman’s interpretation of Miami 21 as a plan that seeks to create spaces that are people friendly and encourage walkability/human-powered transportation use instead of the blocky urban sprawl Miami (in general, not just the city) has tons of, and yet I would not be that far off the mark.

Miami 21 also represents a precedent for all of South Florida, arguably the most populated area of our state, as we move into the future; it is a plan to which other cities can look as they work on new urban designs for our congested living spaces. I know I would love to see Miami Beach follow a similar route to what Miami is doing on the other side of the causeway, for example.

Support Miami 21 tomorrow at City Hall, and if you’re not a City of Miami resident, spread the word about Miami 21 and its innovations towards a more livable city to everyone you know. Who knows which city will be the next to be inspired to follow suit.

Luau Night at Grapeland Water Park

Just a quick post from Puerto Rico, copied from the City of Miami website:

Grab the family and check out Grapeland Water Park, 1550 NW 37 Avenue. Luau Night means tropical fun for an affordable price $5 admission per person, the event runs from 8pm – 10pm and will include limbo contests, water games and at 9pm a special hula show that includes a hula lesson, fire dancer and Hawaiian music.

This is a great chance to relax in the park and go on a mini-vacation. For more information call 305-960-2951.

Also check back on July 18th for Jurassic Park, our monthly outdoor movie at Grapeland Water Park, you can dive in and watch the movie while floating in the pool.

Food, Inc. Opens in South Florida

The film “Food, Inc.” has now opened in various locations across South Florida:

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL: Gateway 4
  • North Miami, FL: Intracoastal 8
  • Palm Beach Gardens, FL: BMC PGA Cinema 6
  • Miami Beach, FL: South Beach 18

Food, Inc. presents a documentary-style look at the food industry of the US, and what exactly is happening behind those happy farms that provide us all with our food. From the movie website:

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

I’ve been hearing about this film for a while thanks to some friends in Seattle who run a locavore website called CookLocal.com.Local foodie website Miami Dish also ran a story on the movie recently; I recommend checking this site also for local shopping info.

I intend to go see it, fully aware that it will affect how I eat, what I eat and how/where I shop from now on. I think everyone should as well (especially before it is bumped off the theatres by the latest blockbuster to come). Most people will ignore it, as usual, but if a small percentage can be affected and made to change their shopping/eating ways, I think we’ll be on course for a better tomorrow. Frankly, I hope many Miami/South Florida people go see and perhaps like that we’ll all work towards improving the availability of locally-grown foods.

Miami Tops U.S. City for Cycling Events Thanks to Bike Miami Days

With yesterday’s Bike Miami Days, the last of the inaugural season, The Miami Herald reports that Miami becomes the top US city in regards to car-free cycling event days with a total of 7, one per month since November, 2008.

Booyah!

The last Bike Miami Day of the season was fun, even if less attended than any I have been to (mind you, I missed Feb, Mar and Apr). Those that were there, however, had a grand old time partying at the steps of the Courthouse and riding around Downtown Miami. It was hot, probably the main reason why Bike Miami Days will go into a hiatus over the next four months, and by 2 PM the event was pretty much over. The hiatus, I think, will allow people to build up excitement for the event once more when it returns in Oct, not to mention that it will give time to the Bike Miami team to do a post-mortem of the event so far and find ways to improve on what has been, by any account, a surprise and runaway success.

Many thanks to Mayor Manny Diaz and his entire team (especially to tireless Bike Miami online dynamo Kathryn Moore) for seven wonderful months of cycling wonderland, for giving me the chance to fall in love with Downtown again and for the first time, all on two wheels. You know I’ve already set the date aside in the fall.

Flight of the Conchords @ UM

Flight of the ConchordsWhy the heck did I not hear anything about this before today?

New Zealand “two-man novelty band” (name the song title) Flight of the Conchords will be performing at University of Miami’s BankUnited Center tomorrow Tuesday, April 7, 2009. Jermain and Bret are also the stars of a self-named comedy show on HBO, now in its second season, where they portray (strangely enough) a two-man novelty band from New Zealand trying to make it in New York City. The show is hilarious, as are the Conchord’s songs, all of them original though many done in the style of various pop artists, such as Pet Shop Boys (Inner City Pressure), Marvin Gaye (Think About It) and David Bowie (Bowie). You can check out their entire debut album at Last.FM.

Tickets to the show are $38.50 (ouch!) and there is assigned seating. See TicketMaster to purchase.

Seriously, why hasn’t this gotten any promotion? I heard about it on Twitter from my wife who saw the tweet from @UnivMiami. Then again, considering the geek cult following of the Conchords, hearing about it on Twitter is perfectly acceptable and expected.

If anyone out there goes, let me know how the show goes, yes?

Right now, though, it’s Business Time.

The Blessing of the Sun

sunriseYou might miss it if you blink or look the other way, but this Wednesday morning, April 8, will be a very special day for Jews all over the world, not only because it is the morning before Passover, but because it will be the time to celebrate one of the rarest mitzvahs (commandments), the blessing of the sun. As Chabad.org explains:

Every 28 years the sun returns to the same position, at the same time of the week, that it occupied at the time of its creation—at the beginning of the fourth day of creation. A special blessing – called Birkat Hachamah, “the sun blessing” – is recited to mark this event.

The last time this happened it was 1981, the next will be in 2037, so this is a pretty big deal. Wednesday morning (up until noon, at th every latest), if you see Jews standing outside, praying towards the morning sun, remember they are blessing the sun and thanking G-d for giving us that magnificent engine of life here on Earth. If you are a Jew, perhaps you could find a local synagogue where to take part of this momentous ocassion; if you are not Jewish, perhaps you can take a moment to reflect on creation as well.

This Weekend: Bike Miami Days

Bike Miami DaysThe excellent folks at Miami Bike Scene have put together this PSA for Bike Miami Days showing the activity at a Bike Miami event and promoting the upcoming dates:

Bike Miami Days PSA
* I’d embed the video here if WordPress weren’t such a pain when it comes to embedding flash media without the use of a plugin, one I have on my personal sites but not here.

Bike Miami Days happens this Saturday, March 14, at the usual location in Downtown Miami. You can visit the Bike Miami Blog for up-to-date info (which they are extremely good about providing).

I was in Puerto Rico for the February edition, though it wouldn’t have made a difference since, much like this one, it happened on a Saturday, so this Shabbat-observing Jew would have had to miss it. Again, much like this one. I can’t wait for the April event (Sunday, April 26), though that one will be at Coconut Grove, not Downtown Miami (which is cool, since it gives us riders a new area of the city to explore).

Drop by Downtown Miami this Saturday and enjoy Bike Miami Days!

Bike Miami Addendum

These are just a couple of things I forgot to mention when I wrote my report of Bike Miami 3.

  • Kudos to whoever thought of putting up a Bike Miami Info Kiosk/water station at Gibb Park, at the start of the Venetian Causeway bike lane. The volunteers there were asking cyclists if they were heading to/coming back from Bike Miami and handing out water bottles. Considering the centrality of this route for Miami Beach cyclists, this was a fantastic way to raise awareness of Bike Miami. I’d love to see more inter-city cooperation like this in the future.
  • Local mainstream media, in general, once again failed to support a great event that helps build up a sense of community and spotlights the efforts to make Miami a more livable city for the new millennium. Shame on you NBC 6, WSVN Channel 7, Channel 10 and SunPost.
  • That said, some local media did actually feature Bike Miami new coverage! Here’s what I found:
  • CBS4.com had a 30-second video of their mention of Bike Miami on their morning news show the day of the event. Maybe next time they’ll mention it in advance on their prime time news show?
  • The Miami Herald had an article entitled “It’ll be a free-wheelin’ Sunday in downtown Miami” that ran the Friday before Bike Miami (1/16/09), providing a small report on the event and a guide to the day’s activities. Very nice.
  • Miami NewTimes had a rep at the event snapping pics left and right that they compiled into a Bike Miami Days Slideshow on their website (my wife and I even made it into the slideshow!).

Bike Miami 3

Yesterday was this third installment of Bike Miami Days, the City of Miami’s monthly event promoting a bicycle-friendly environment and lifestyle in Downtown Miami. This month’s event featured a new route extension all the way from Downtown to the Miami Riverfront and Lummus Landing, plus the tried-and-true route south into Mary Brickell Village, though the Bayfront Park section from previous events was shut down for this one due to a festival the night before and the lack of time to prepare the park for public use.

In short, Bike Miami 3 was a resounding success, paralleling the level of enthusiasm and attendance of the first Bike Miami in November 2008. There was a rally at Lummus Landing at 10:30 am to kick-off the day and events at Lummus and Mary Brickell, things like Yoga classes and performances by local musicians, all free. There were also free bike rentals, a welcomed addition for those who don’t have bikes of their own yet want to take part in the event. Local businesses also took part, starting a trend I’d like to see continue, bringing commercial support to the event.

Downtown Miami’s businesses also took up the banner, opening their stores en masse, and even engaging with the riders. Kay Kirk Jeweler’s was again handing out water in front of their store, and there was a live band playing near the courthouse on Flager Ave, livening up the brisk afternoon.

Once more, families made up a significant segment of the participants; it was fantastic to see all the kids riding around Downtown with their parents. I will echo something said over at Miami Bike Scene, though: cyclists need to learn the rules of riding, especially parents when they are bringing their kids over. It would be a shame to have an accident at a Bike Miami event, especially when it could be prevented simply observing common sense when on two wheels.

Bike Miami 4 will return in February in conjunction with Flagler Fest.

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