| Culture |

Magic City Bicycle Collective Aims to Spread the Cycling Gospel (Photos)

For a major metropolis, Miami's cycling scene has often been described as sub-par. From a lack of bike lanes to discourteous driving, it ain't easy spinning your wheels in the Magic City. When it comes to bicycles as a viable alternative to gas guzzlers, we have a long ride ahead of us, so to speak.

But the Magic City Bicycle Collective (MCBC) and its dedicated team of "superheroes" (aka volunteers) may be the answer to many of these problems. This newly launched, volunteer-led co-op aims to empower Miamians to grab their bikes and GO.

Saturday night was their grand opening gathering, where cyclists and interested locals alike gathered at the Collective's new space in support of a greener, healthier tomorrow. There was beer, baked goods (vegan!), and a themed pinata. And bikes. Lots and lots of bikes.

Volunteer Olga Cano outlined the many programs the co-op plans to implement upon their official launch, which is scheduled for the second week of July. Though just opening their doors, the group has been meeting since January, and lord knows the concept of a co-op has been tossed around in MIA for years. Their overall aim is modeled after similar success stories in other cities.

The Collective won't provide services (hence, they won't be in competition with any local biz). Instead, they're all about education. Individuals are invited to come and learn from on-site instructors how to fix and maintain their own wheels. For a $5 per hour suggested donation, riders can utilize the tools, space and the extensive knowledge of MCBC mechanics.

Additionally, workshops are in the works, including Fix-a-Flat, Clean Your Chain and other basic knowledge-builders. For riders whose repairs may be beyond what the MCBS is able to assist with, local bike shops will be recommended.

And much like your fave bar (but better), Thursdays = Ladies Night. Female riders will be able to come out and learn from same-sex mechanics, taking a little mystery out of the ins and outs of nuts and bolts.

Lastly, for cash-strapped cyclists, anyone who volunteers 20 hours at the shop will earn a bike, which basically, they'll build themselves from donated parts.

Upon its official opening, the shop's hours will be Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays from 2 to 6 p.m. They're located caddy-corner to The Corner at 1035 N. Miami Ave.

The MCBC is a welcome addition to the burgeoning bike scene in the Magic City. Thanks to their influence, let's hope two wheels become more the norm than four.

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