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.
The Florida Dept of Transportation is going to hold a hearing to gather feedback regarding three proposed segments of bike lanes in an upcoming roadways project in the Normandy Isle section of Miami Beach’s North Shore district. I’m thankful that Bike Miami blogged about this because I have not heard anything about this meeting from any other source, including the City of Miami Beach.
This is the Beach segment of NE 79 St in Miami and the JFK Causeway in North Bay Village, the last mainland-t0-Beach connector before leaving the City of Miami Beach. As such, it always features heavy traffic, and for the most part, it’s a virtual race track at any time of the day. It is also right next to my home and on my daily biking route. Bike lanes for Normandy Dr/71 St? Yes, please!
The meeting is on Thursday, November 5, 2009, from 6-8 PM, at the North Shore Park Youth Center, 501 72nd Street in Miami Beach.
The news that a cold front was coming into Miami spread like wildfire all throughout Saturday. Indeed, once it rained in the afternoon, everyone readied their sweaters and jackets, waiting for the tiniest bit of semi-cold air to hit. Saturday night it was very nice, but Sunday morning it was just brilliant; the temperature was in the upper 60s, the sky covered in white puffy clouds, and the wind definitely nippy: Autumn had finally arrived in South Florida. I had to get up early anyway to attend a Bar Mitzvah, so I decided to head out about an hour before to ride around a bit. Miami Beach just recently inaugurated the new North Beach Recreational Corridor (NBRC), so there I headed.
The Labor Day holiday weekend is here, and that means that what would normally have been a busy Sunday of running errands need not be so hectic. Considering how the weather has been for the past week, we were surprised to see that by the early afternoon the sun was still shinning strong and the sky was bright blue, so we hopped on the bikes to go out for a ride. There’s a new farmer’s market that opened near us, and we wanted to go check it out.
G&P Farmer’s Market, located on the corner of Abbot Ave and 72 St, is owned by a young Israeli family, much to our surprise. They are used to buying produce in a market setting in Israel, and they wanted to bring that same concept to this area of the Beach (which has no such market, and no, I am not counting the Saturday “farmer’s” market on Normandy Isles as that is, for the most part, a display of Costco merchandise). Their prices are phenomenal, and they have a great selection of vegetables and fruits, all wonderfully looking. I asked about the source of the produce, and was told they purchase in Downtown Miami from farms down in Homestead and up in West Palm Beach. They also have plans to offer fresh fish (also sourced from local fishermen) and to have a small bakery. We bought a few kitchen essentials and spent under $5. As we told the owner, you’ll see us around a lot more.
Errands done, we brought the produce back to the house, and since the sun was still shinning (in fact, yesterday was a gorgeous day in Miami Beach) we went out to ride some more. Not having a destination in mind, we decided to run in the Normandy Shores Golf Club course. The course underwent a massive renovation over the past year or so and, at least earlier this year, before its reinauguration, it was a great place to ride: a network of smooth, paved paths winding in and out for the length of the course, providing a very serene place for a leisurely ride. That’s all gone. The golf club has officially reopened and given it’s the holiday weekend, the place was packed with people in polo shirts and shorts hitting tiny white balls with sticks.
I don’t care for golf, and frankly, I liked the park better when it was closed and enjoyed by leisure cyclists, roller skaters, walkers and joggers, and by the people of the area in general. Though it is a public park, I guess the technicality is that it is a public golf course where anyone can play without membership. Meh, I’d much rather have the public park space with facilities for riding, something North Beach lacks.
We took a ride down the length of Normandy Shores isle, marveling at the horrible driving skills of the residents and then, after a beer pit-stop (Blue Moon Belgian White wheat ale, for those who were wondering) at the new Triton Supermarket on Normandy Dr, we went back home, happy to have had a chance to ride our bikes (especially Yvette, who hadn’t been able to ride Willow for a while!). The ride also had something of a catharsis to it, seeing how it’s (just a day short of) the anniversary of a really bad biking accident last year.
A great ride on a great afternoon.
It’s been a looong time since I last rode my bike, mostly due to the High Holy Days throughout the month of October. Last week I rode my bike to synagogue once, but this week I decided I was getting back to the routine of using it every day, and so far so good.
This morning I was greeted by a simply gorgeous autumn morning: overcast skies, a light mist hanging in the air, a rolling breeze over the bay and the temperature in the mid 60’s.
It was just perfect bike-riding weather, and I enjoyed my ride to and from prayers immensely. After I got home and had breakfast, my wife and I headed out on our bikes again, this time to go vote. It took us about 20 minutes from the time we got to the polling place till we got back on our bikes, way faster than we had sort of mentally prepared for.
The ride to and from the polling place, however, we took super slow, fully enjoying the magnificent weather, wishing we could just stay out riding the bikes all day long. Alas, my wife had to go to work, so no all-day-biking for us. Still, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer morning to ride the bikes; that we rode them to go do our civic duty just makes it all extra awesome.
I’ve been noticing that the high tide has been a bit higher than usual for the past couple of weeks, figuring it has something to do with the various storms that have been around these parts lately. This afternoon I had to go out for a moment to the next island over (ah, the wonders of living in Miami Beach) so I went out on the bike. It gave me the chance to take a look at the crazy high tide up close and personal. These photos were taken at the end of my street:
It is both a bit scary and awesome.