Let's be honest: July was a crappy month for Miami. Bizarrely, the bad news seemed to arrive every Friday in this, the sweltering summer suck-hole of the year.
On Friday, July 4, a happy holiday became a horror show when four boaters died on Biscayne Bay. A week later, LeBron James announced he was heading back to Cleveland. And last Friday, we learned that South Florida mosquitoes are now spreading an unpronounceable, excruciatingly painful disease called chikungunya.
So in the interest of avoiding another Friday-in-July disaster, we present to you tonight's Critical Mass route. Drivers, be wary. Cyclists, strap on your helmets. Everyone else, cross your fingers.
A month ago, Critical Mass's future seemed uncertain. Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa called a news conference to warn that "anarchists" had turned the spontaneous event into a "critical mess."
Orosa went so far as to warn that bikers could be ticketed and that Critical Mass organizers could be held "liable."
"We want Critical Mass to come to the table so we can have some organized events," Orosa said, "not a surprise 'let's go party and ride together.'"
It's unclear if police and cyclists ever had a powwow, but the June 27 jaunt went smoothly and order was apparently restored to Orosa's universe.
So Critical Mass returns. Tonight's ride will take cyclists 11.5 miles through downtown, Little Havana, and Coral Gables. Here is the route, courtesy of the Miami Bike Scene blog:
Riders are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the route, bring road lights, and leave the boozing until after the biking is done. As usual, cyclists will meet at Government Center at 6:30 p.m. and start pedaling around 7.
Drivers are encouraged to take alternate routes, have patience, or, better still, ditch the car and try cycling.
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Whether you're on two or four wheels tonight, be safe. Let's make this Friday in July memorable for the right reasons.