Miami’s huge bike ride – Critical Mass in Miami and Fort Lauderdale

Miami’s huge bike ride – Critical Mass in Miami and Fort Lauderdale


I’ve lived in South Florida for close to
5 years, and one of the things I love doing is riding Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass. As I explained in another video, Critical
Mass is an international phenomenon. Once per month, hundreds or thousands of cyclists
meet up at a predetermined location to ride around their city in a huge group. There’s no attendance sheet or anything
like that; You just show up. Fort Lauderdale is a small city though, so
their Critical Mass ride is quite manageable. Sure it causes traffic, and you’d be hard
pressed to see the entire group from any vantage point, but it’s small compared to the ride
that takes place 20 minutes away in Miami. Until last week, I had never been on Miami
Critical Mass. It was really fun. I ran into a lot of subscribers and fans. I gave them blinkies. The whole time though, I couldn’t get over
the scale of the mass. One thing’s for sure, it’s very different
from the ride I’m used to going on in Fort Lauderdale. In Fort Lauderdale, there’s free parking
at the meetup spot, which is vacant lot right outside of downtown. It’s pretty convenient if you’re driving
there. In Miami, there’s no such thing as free
parking. In Fort Lauderdale hundreds of people ride
Critical Mass, and sometimes the group breaks 1000. If you’ve never seen it before, it’s a
sight to behold. In Miami, those numbers are peanuts. I have no idea how many riders were in last
week’s mass, but it was a lot. Towards the end of the ride we stopped at
the top of a bridge for a solid 15 minutes. People were passing us the whole time. When we started riding again we were in the
thick of things like nothing ever happened. In Fort Lauderdale it’s a festive atmosphere
at the meetup point. Everyone is saying hi to their friends, and
socializing before the ride. They know it’s going to be a fun night. As for Miami… Not everyone is waiting around at the meetup
point. In Miami the the route looks like a big rectangle. For a mass that large is better to keep everyone
on long straightaways through the downtown. It’s the perfect way to see the best parts
of Miami from street level. In Fort Lauderdale, the route looks more like
a game of snake that you would play on an old Nokia Cell phone. The smaller, nimbler group makes its way through
congested downtown areas, residential neighborhoods, and even cul-de-sacs . In Fort Lauderdale, there’s always some
guy towing a bike trailer with huge speakers in it. This is called a speaker douche and there’s
one on every ride. They’re always riding alone and they always
have terrible taste in music, but at least they’re pretty easy to get away from. In Miami, there’s a speaker douche every
tenth of a mile. They’re next to impossible to get away from. I’d play the audio more so you can hear
it, but I’ll probably get a copyright claim. In Fort Lauderdale, you may come across Benjamin
on his tall bike. In Miami, look out for Raven and his army
of mutant tall bikes. In Fort Lauderdale, the city turns a blind
eye to the ride. In the past they tried to get involved but
caused more problems than they solved. So for now the ride is self governed, and
usually happens without incident. As for Miami, the city at least in part, embraces
the ride. For the thousands of riders who participate,
the Miami PD blocks the major intersections so everyone can pass safely. They do this quite effectively. In Fort Lauderdale, tourists are surprised
to see the mass passing by. They ask us where we’re going, and snap
pictures with their cell phones. It’s really fun to see the looks on their
faces when they realize the true size of the group. So, half the entertainment comes from the
people at the side of the road. In Miami, stay away from the people at the
side of the road. So, if you
live in South Florida or you’re visiting, I hope this has given you a little taste of
what to expect at each ride. Info on Miami’s ride can be found through
Miami Bike Scene, and Fort Lauderdale’s ride through their Critical Mass Facebook
page. I’ll leave links to both. If you live near Hollywood you may want to
check out their ride too, which is a little more intimate. One thing all of South Florida’s rides have
in common is that you can participate in short sleeves at any time of the year. For that reason, you can’t go wrong with
any of them. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll
see you next time.