For years, swarms of local cyclists have been taking over city streets the last Friday of every month in a massive — and notoriously traffic-snarling — celebration of bike culture. Today they have another reason to ride: in honor of cyclists lost to distracted driving, especially Patrick Wanninkhof, a Key Biscayne native killed in 2015 while on a cross-country trip.
After a 20-mile journey through Overtown, Wynwood, the Upper Eastside, North Bay Village, Miami Beach, and downtown Miami, tonight's Critical Mass will head to an afterparty at Esquina de Abuela. There, Miami native and New York musician Janna Pelle will perform a release show for her new album dedicated to Wanninkhof, her lifelong friend.
Pelle's album includes a song called "Hit and Run." Its music video doubles as a PSA about the perils of distracted driving.
"I guarantee that most people watching this video will know someone — even if they don't know them personally — they'll know someone who was involved in a distracted-driving crash," she told New Times this past April.
She chose the 305 instead of NYC for the release party because, as she told the Miami Herald , “Miami needs this message more than ever” in light of its distracted-driver problem.
But first, there's the ride: As usual, cyclists in tonight's Critical Mass will meet a Government Center at 6:30 before setting off at 7:15 p.m. The route will take them north on streets including NW Second Avenue and NW Fifth Avenue along the way to Biscayne Boulevard before turning east onto NE 79th Street and
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Then bikers will pedal south on Indian Creek Drive and Pine Tree Drive to the Venetian Causeway before crossing Biscayne Boulevard on NE 15th Street on the way back to Government Center. The afterparty will start at 9 p.m. at Esquina de Abuela, 2705 NW 22nd Ave.
Motor vehicle traffic is sure to slow along the route, so give it a close look before driving anywhere tonight if you don't want to start the weekend in gridlock. And don't text and drive!