Nothing good can come of a fire weapon lying around, even if the reason of ownership is "protection." Bicycles, however, let you explore your city, connect with your surroundings, and reduce traffic. If you're confused about the correlation between guns and bikes, you'll understand when the city's inaugural "More Bikes, Less Guns" trade-in program takes place this Saturday, May 30.
The brainchild of Karim Nahim, manager of Miami Bike Shop (275 NE 18th St., Miami), More Guns, Less Bikes was born during a seminar Nahim took dubbed Landmark Self Expression Leadership Program. "The goal is to develop a program that's going to benefit the community," he says. "The Pink Ribbon Foundation was an evolution of Landmark, so there's some pretty amazing people doing great things for the community."
Now one of those amazing people, Nahim took his idea to Miami Chief of Police Rodolfo Llanes who was blown away by the pretense of taking guns off the streets with a fresh new approach. "The police department does a gun buyback program with gift certificates, but they found bikes to be a totally different ball game. You're taking something negative away from community and introducing something positive."
Indeed, bikes contribute towards improving the city's infrastructure, reducing traffic and combustion, and bringing our community closer. If you've never spent an entire Sunday bike riding through Miami, you've yet to uncover the magic in our Magic City. Of course, the reason for that might be that you don't have a bike, but if you so happen to have a gun, you can change that (so long as you're willing to get rid of it). As Nahim best puts it, "your gun is your ticket to enjoying your city on a bike."
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As for the guns themselves, it doesn't matter what type, if it works, or what the story is. "There's no criteria. It's a no questions asked police and whatever gun they bring they will accept it." For last year's gun buyback program, the Police Department saw everything from 22s to AK 47s.
"Our goal is to replace 50 guns in the community with 50 bikes." Local and national bike makers such as Pure Fix Cycles, Origin8, Sun Cycles, and Loco Fixie have all donated wheels for the cause. Should you happen to get there once the 50 have been reached, you won't be left out. "We will not turn anyone away. We'll give them a voucher to get a bike from us."
At the end of the event held at Museum Club Tower (1598 NE First Ave., Miami) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., which will have free pizza courtesy of Pizza Pazza, two things will happen: a celebratory ride will take place through safer streets and the Police Department will destroy all the guns collected.
Can't make it on Saturday? Don't fret – this is only the beginning for Nahim, or so he hopes. "Next one we want to do is the Miami Gardens Police Department. My friend's son was killed in that neighborhood, and crime is quite high." Plans are to get the Miami Dolphins involved (his friend works for them) and for it to take place right before holidays. "I want to be able to introduce different departments, different cities, maybe even different states. You never know."