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Out of the Fiery Furnace of Miami, a New Group is Formed

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A few weeks ago, the Bike Blog was peddling down Coral Way with Chris Alphin, a bike messenger and nice guy to boot, who organizes the Miami Beach Take Back the Streets Meetup Group. We were engaged in one of the Bike Blog’s favorite activities – ragging on Miami – when Alphin went ahead and spoiled everything by saying something optimistic: he said that he thought maybe this summer would be a turning point for biking in Miami.

Maybe he’s right. The last six months have seen a lot of bike activity –including the formation of the group BASIC, not one but two Critical Masses, the formal entrance into advocacy of the Everglades Bicycle Club, the completion of several more or less decent bike lanes on Miami roads.

And now another group is forming.

This week, the Bike Blog got an email from John Hopkins, who maintains the very good bicycle blog Spokes N’ Folks, announcing the first meeting next Wednesday of the “Green Mobility Network,” a “new group to make the Miami area a better and safer place for biking, running and walking.”

Hopkins says the group was inspired by the efforts over the last year of two bike groups – Bike Miami, which has since withdrawn from outright advocacy, and the Everglades Bike Club, which has recently begun advocating for bikes in the county. Hopkins says he was impressed with how much the Everglades Bike Club has already accomplished – almost single-handedly, he says, they managed to get the county to step up the timetable for the Commodore Trail – a trail that would link the Rickenbacker with Old Cutler Road – by three years.

“The reason for the new group,” he says, “is we see what a little group can get done, and we say 'Gee, what can a big group get done?'”

The idea behind the Green Mobility Network is to bring together not only bicyclists, but walkers and runners as well. As Hopkins puts it, “There’s common interests between runners and walkers – we all need to be noticed and recognized by motor vehicles. . . We want a community whose streets are fully usable by all people who live here – bicyclists, walkers, runners . . . Think what it would mean if all of Dade county was comfortable to walk in.”

Hell, the Bike Blog can’t even comprehend what it would mean to ride a few miles on Biscayne without looking old man Death in the eye.

Well, good luck to the Green Mobility Network, and . . . what the hell . . . may this be The Summer of Biking. (Or should we wait for it to get cooler?)

The Green Mobility Network’s first meeting will be Wednesday, July 18, at 7:00 PM at the Palmetto Golf Course clubhouse at 9300 SW 152nd St.

Also: Critical Mass ride tomorrow, July 14, Douglas Road Metrorail Station, 10:00 a.m. (rated by New Times as the ‘Best Place to Meet Intelligent Women,’ by the way! The guys are no shlumps, either.) --Isaiah Thompson

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