Bike issues are on everyone's lips lately, what with the city's possible proposed crackdown on Critical Mass. Meanwhile, local transportation options are as lackluster and improbable as possible, so there's no better time than now to show support for Miami's two-wheeled culture.
At Gramps tonight, alternative transportation advocates will get to dig into a delicious vegan dinner. Dinner and Bikes, a group finishing up its month-long tour of the East Coast, is taking bicycle films, a pop-up bookstore, and a locally sourced meatless spread to Wynwood.
As far as what's on the menu, the buffet is a spontaneous creation by the Los Angeles-based Joshua Ploeg, who's known as the "Touring Vegan Chef" (and author of This Ain't No Picnic: Your Punk Rock Vegan Cookbook.
"I go to the store and pick out anything that looks good -- seasonal, I try to get as much local stuff as I can, I throw a few exotic curves in there," Ploeg says. "It's chef's choice. I don't really plan. Sounds sketchy but it winds up pretty cool. Usually the stores we tend to go to are produce-heavy and a mix of different ethnicities, but with a fair amount of local produce and a lot of variety in the different staples -- rices and things like that to choose from."
Ploeg's meals are gluten-free and designed to be safe for folks with various allergies.
"Somewhere like South Florida, you get like a paradise of groceries -- like the mangoes being so easy to find. It's like being in Southern California, where avocados are ten for $1. I like to go to places where they're spoiled," he laughs.
While attendees are stuffing their faces, Joe Biel will play a series of short films about bicycle activism and culture, followed by some words from local advocates. Then Elly Blue will give a presentation making the case for the positive economic benefits of cycling ("bikenomics"). Last, everyone can drop dollars at the microcosm pop-up book and T-shirt store.
As far as sustainability, these folks practice what they preach. They're currently touring the Northeast in a van that runs on vegetable oil.
"You start it up on diesel, and when the engine gets to a certain temperature you flip the switch and it goes to straight veggie oil," Ploeg explains.
Ploeg and the rest of the Dinner and Bikes team generally do at least one of these trips per year. The current leg concludes in Tampa (right after their Miami visit).
"There's always a lot of smaller towns. We go where people want us to show up. We started in Morristown on June 1," Ploeg says. "It's like five weeks altogether and 30 shows, which is quite a few. We went all the way north to Bangor in Maine, and we're heading all the way down to you guys."
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