Miami bikers will take to the streets en masse this Friday for a crazy route that will stretch 20 miles across Miami-Dade County.
Beginning at the Miami-Dade Government Center, the ride will take bikers up through the Upper Eastside, across to Miami Beach via the JFK Causeway, down Indian Creek Drive and Collins Avenue, and back to downtown by way of the Venetian Causeway.
It'll be a path for the strong and fit. But if you're neither and feel like taking some quick pit stops along the way, we have suggestions.
Our first stop would be Blue Collar. We know, it's a little early in the ride to bust out the burgers and fries, but that's not what you'll be looking for. Any combination of Blue Collar's veggie dishes is an unbeatable mixture of good and better. For lighter options, you can order the mozzarella and tomato salad with balsamic reduction or the curried cauliflower ($4). If you're hankering for something heavier, try the mashed potatoes or the warmy bacony potato salad ($4). Wash it all down with some water (so you rehydrate) or a nonalcoholic bev -- we don't want to be a drunk during Critical Mass.
Normally, we'd be at Schnitzel Haus for the beer, but not this night (we know, we know...). To replenish your carbs, stick to the spaetzle ($4) or the potato pancakes ($10.95). If instead you feel like going down the sweeter route, order the housemade apple strudel with real whipped cream ($5). The only thing you'll regret about the stop is that the entire path doesn't circle around the German gem.
If you haven't stopped anywhere between Schnitzel Haus and the Beach, you deserve a reward -- a cool, sweet reward. Emack & Bolio's is tucked away on the Purdy Avenue side of the Sunset Harbour Shops. Next to it is the beach locale of Panther Coffee, which is open until 9pm. At Emack, you walk into a small storefront of ice cream and chocolate primarily marketed to Miami's stoner community. Of course, you don't have dabble in the ganja to enjoy fantastic ice cream flavors like bananas foster and chunk o' funk. A scoop will run you $3.95 and it'll be the best $3.95 you spent all week.
Where most of your non-cycling Miami counterparts are probably stuffing their faces with delicious sandwiches, you're stopping by for a smoothie. As a matter of fact, La Sandwicherie is slightly off the course, but only by a couple blocks. The smoothies here, like the Miami Sunset or the Bora Bora (both $4.85), are well worth the diversion off the course. Best of all, you can bring your bike up right to the counter without worrying that your tires and frame will disappear after five minutes. Miami Beach is cute, but she can be shady sometimes.
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If you make it back to The Filling Station, you made it after a full 20 miles. Y'all deserve a drink. Grab a beer and some souped up tater tots like the bacon jalapeno cheese taters or the pulled pork and sour cream tots ($7.01- $8.88). Or maybe you're feeling a burger ($7.48 - $10.75) like the simple Caddy or the intense Howard's Big Mack Truck with fried onion rings and pickles. Hell yea, you're into it. You have 20 miles of weight that you need to put back on. Luckily, the good folks behind the Downtown garage bar will be offering up food and drink specials for cyclists who made it all the way back.
Critical Mass will be leaving on Friday at 7:15pm sharp from Government Center at 150 NW First Street. Find more deets here.
Follow Alex on Twitter @ARodWrites.