Bicycling Magazine hosted one of their BikeTown events here in Miami today, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, at Bayfront Park. I missed when the original announcement of this went out, as I was in Puerto Rico, so I was not able to enter the contest for one of 30 new Jamis commuter bikes being given away. Regardless, I wanted to go Downtown for the event to show support for those that did win and for the City of Miami’s bike initiative, which ultimately is what brought BikeTown to our city. I’ve been off the bike for months now, so I wasn’t sure that doing the North Beach-Downtown 2-hour trek would be the best idea; I decided to drive Downtown and then bike around for a while. I got to Bayfront at around 12 noon (thanks Miami Beach traffic) but I was still on time to catch most of the proceedings. Which really amounted to a few people giving speeches: people from the City of Miami, from Bicycling Magazine, from MetLife (sponsors of the event, and apparently the reason why this was held on a Thursday at noon), and from Elite Cycling (the shop that put together the bikes). Once this was done, it was time for the pictures.
Each winner had been notified prior to the event so each one had a bike already pre-assigned, built to their measurements. Once everyone had found their respective bike, the next 10-15 minutes were all about the official pictures and video (which I’m hoping will show up on the news, but I’m not holding my breath). That taken care of, the three remaining unclaimed bikes, plus an extra one provided by one of the sponsors, were raffled off (again, I missed the sign-up for this – a cosmic sign, you think?), so in the end, 31 new bikes were given away.
I have to say that I was very surprised (in a pleasant way) to see about 60-ish people there, considering the weird time for this event. Yes, most of it were the winners and organizers, but there were also fans of bicycling in Miami in attendance. In the end, BikeTown was pretty much a photo- and video-op for those involved in it–there was no rally built around it, no peripheral events meant to capitalize on the excitement, which is understandable considering the weekday noon time–but it was a nice event nonetheless. If nothing else, it is proof positive of the City of Miami’s efforts to make Miami into a bicycling nexus, and the City appreciates it.
As I drove back home up Biscayne Blvd, I could not help but notice the amount of cyclists going up and down the street in all sorts of bikes, more than I recall seeing months ago, before this whole BikeMiami thing started. There’s your BikeTown right there.
You can check out the photos in the slideshow below or at Flickr: BikeTown Miami – 08/27/09.
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