After about a month convalescing in our living room, Willow is back up and running thanks to the fine folk at Miami Beach Bicycle Center. We couldn’t get the tulip seat as that was a limited edition a couple of years back, nor the cream colored tires as they’re out of stock until November, so we opted to put the regular black tires and leather seat common to all Amsterdam models. After a quick adjustment of the rear wheel, Yvette and Willow were ready to ride once more!
I am livid. My wife’s beautiful Electra Amsterdam bike, Willow, has been savagely vandalized in our very own building and I want nothing more than to get the culprits to pay for what they did.
How did this happen?
I knew of Imogen Heap; her name is uncommon enough that once you hear it, it tends to stick in your memory. I knew of her from the song “Let Go,” featured years ago in the soundtrack to Garden State (though it took some time before I learned that strange voice belonged to a woman!). Beyond that I had heard a couple songs here are there, especially on Pandora, where her music would sometimes come up as part of some of my playlists. So I knew of Imogen Heap, but I didn’t really know Imogen Heap. Until last night.
It was my wife’s idea to go see her in concert at The Fillmore in Miami Beach; tickets were cheap, general admission and given her non-top-40-radio status, the attendance would probably be manageable. Sure! And then it snuck up on me. Yesterday I played her latest album, which you can stream from her website, but that was it. I was going in cold, ready to soak up the new music.
There were three short opening acts: Euphoria, a trio of high-school kids from Boca Raton who won a contest held by Imogen; Geese, a violin/strings duo who are also part of Imogen’s band; and Ben Christophers, a guy and his guitar, also part of Imogen’s band. They each played 3 songs (Ben did 4) and were each good. The kids from Boca were very good for this being their first show (and what a show!); Geese was weird (in a good way), using computers, loops and effects to create soundscapes; and Ben was fine with his guitar, especially on a very trip-hoppy number that actually got the audience listening. About half an hour after these three acts were done, Imogen took the stage.
Yesterday morning I took the scenic route back home from the synagogue, going down all of Lincoln Road Mall, to the Oceanwalk Promenade, then up 5th St before heading home (see the MapMyRide.com Map). On a whim, I decided to count all the bikes I came across my way, whether parked or with riders. Everyone knows we have a lot of bicyclists here in the Beach, but I wanted to have a very rough headcount. It was 10 AM, and the temp was in the mid 50s, so I figured I would see only those out exercising, and those on their way to/from/already at work.
When all was said and done, I counted 146 bikes, including me, with about 85 of them being spotted just along Lincoln Rd. I am no urban statisticians, but that seemed like a lot of bikes for a 3/4-mile long stretch, let alone for the 2.5 miles of my entire trip. And that fills me with joy.
Check out these pics.
The Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) came to a close on Saturday, Dec 12, with the film part of the equation, three screening slots at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. Program 1 at 5 PM showed WHERE DO YOU START WHERE DO YOU STOP and TOUR OF LEGENDS/ TOUR DES LEGENDES; Program 2 at 7 PM showed MADE IN QUEENS and WHERE ARE YOU GO; and Program 3 at 9 PM showed 17 short films. Because of it being a Saturday night and us having to wait till Shabbat ended to get ready and make it down to the theater, we only caught Program 3 at 9 PM, though this is the one I was most interested in. The BFF had other events associated with it on the two previous days, including a couple of parties, a Goldsprint, and two races. I only attended the one screening on Saturday and none of the associated events, so I guess you can make that statement my caveat for the review.
In an occurrence that boggles the mind, considering how Miami gets passed over for so many events, the Bicycle Film Festival is coming to Miami Beach on December 10-12, 2009, with all film screenings happening at the Colony Theater on Lincoln Road (just a couple of blocks away from my apt!).
Miami Bike Scene has a very comprehensive schedule of events so check it out.
I’m not sure we’ll make it to any of the associated parties (and obviously the Friday night events are right out), but we’ll be making it for some of the film screenings (there is one program at 5 PM, which is still before Shabbat ends and we can make it over).
Needless to say, everyone should ride their bike to the Bicycle Film Festival. South Beach is actually pretty nice to ride in (and with the possibility of a Bike Valet being provided, that would make it just rock out to 11).
We’ll have a review of the films we catch afterwards. See you there!
This article is also featured on TransitMiami.com.
Last Wednesday the 18th, I attended the November meeting of the Miami Beach Bikeways Committee at Miami Beach City Hall. We met in the Mayor’s Conference Room and once again, City Staff were almost half an hour late to the meeting, and it was mentioned this would be addressed later on.
In general this was a very non-productive meeting, yielding only two resolutions and some updates that were not very well explained. It also left me with a bit of a sour taste in regards to the commitment of City Staff, and in turn the City of Miami Beach itself, to the Bikeways Committee and what it represents for this city.
With the minutes from the previous meeting approved and no guests other than myself, we got to the updates immediately.
On Saturday, November 7, Miami Beach hosted a 13-hour long, cultural extravaganza called Sleepless Night which featured over 100 different events in stages scattered all around the city. The event premiered in 2007, and had to take a hiatus last year due to the bad economic climate. We missed 2007′s Sleepless Night, but 2009′s was going to be our playground. And the best way to enjoy a festival scattered over a 13-mile long city was by bike.
I set up a Sleepless Night Slow Bike Meetup to encourage people to bring their bikes to the event. Though it wasn’t going to be a ride (given how many events there were, it would’ve been unfair to force people to follow a set route), anyone that wanted to ride along as we headed down to South Beach from Normandy Isle was welcomed to do so. Unfortunately, I was late to the meetup point (which teaches me that an hour after the end of Shabbat is not enough time to get everything prepped up, so I know for the next one) and only met up with the two friends that came along with us, Diana and Anymir, and Daniel from the Dolce Vita Bicycling Group, who joined us as well. Later I would find out there was indeed a member of the Slow Bike Meetup group there (hello, Olga), and we just missed each other (again, a lesson for the next meetup). At 8:15 PM the five of us headed down to South Beach.
Back in June Gabrielle Redfern contacted me via this blog to perhaps meet up. She said her roots were in bicycling advocacy and wanted to chat about that and the City of Miami Beach. At the time I was in Puerto Rico and could not meet with her, especially as the electoral race in the Beach started to heat up. I’ve been paying close attention to the race for the various spots in City Hall coming November 3, and there is one race where I know for sure who I’m betting on.
As far as Commissioner Group 3 is concerned, I fully believe that Gabrielle Redfern is the right choice for the job, which is why I’m making this my first ever official public endorsement for a political race.
Both The Miami Herald and Transit Miami have endorsed Gabrielle as well, mainly for her transportation activism and her gumption to tackle hard issues head-on. I like that. That she’s also a bike supporter (Miami New Times called her “Miami Beach’s one-woman bike lobby“) just adds to her appeal. We, the bicyclists of Miami Beach, and especially the advocates striving to better the situation for everyone, need all the support we can get inside City Hall, and that’s precisely what Gabrielle seems to bring.
Join us on November 3 at your local Miami Beach polling place in electing Gabrielle Redfern for Group 3 Commissioner.
Yesterday I attended my first Miami Beach Bikeways Committee meeting at City Hall (I also learned where Miami Beach City Hall is, after 7 years living here). I learned about the committee earlier this month from some of the Bike Miami volunteers and later from the owner of Miami Beach Bicycle Center, where I purchased my new bike. I introduced myself via email to the City of Miami Beach Transportation Coordinator, Christine Bettin, just to be sure it was ok for me to attend (the meetings are open to the public, though at 2 PM on a weekday you can imagine how appealing that is), and there I went today.
There were 10 people at the meeting, including members of the City government and one visitor from the Florida Dept of Transportation (FDOT). Except for two people, I have no idea who there belonged to the committee and who was a member of the community, but what was cool was that it didn’t make a difference, everyone was heard and paid attention to equally, including this newbie right here. Everyone was very nice as well as welcoming. We did have to wait for about half an hour for the City employees to show up (seems they were delayed), but after that the meeting went off just fine.
Before I go, I want to make clear that I am grateful to everyone that showed up, both the volunteers and the City employees. Back-and-forths always happen, and not everyone agrees on everything, but I admire and thank everyone’s dedication to improving bicycling in Miami Beach.