Leaving @BikeMiami

Today I announced that I am stepping down as the person behind the @BikeMiami Twitter account as of January 1, 2010. You can read the (very diplomatic) letter I posted here.

Honest truth is, I got tired of just being a cheerleader for a team that is not even playing at the moment. I started that Twitter account as a volunteer effort to help the Bike Miami team get the word out about events and to promote regular city cycling in Miami. After that, there were two Bike Miami Days (neither of which I could attend) and a couple of Bike Miami Rides, all of which were properly promoted. But then the period right before the city election hit, and before more pressing matters like City Budget, Bike Miami was set aside. There was a moment of victory when the City of Miami Commission approved both the Miami Bicycle Master Plan and Miami 21, but then Mayor Diaz’s term in office came to an end, and the candidate that would have followed his lead was not chosen. And there Bike Miami ground to a halt and has remained since.

With the Bike Miami Coordinator also loosing her job in City Hall, there was a cease of communication about the future of Bike Miami that has yet to be rectified. I did keep the Twitter account going through this time but without any official backing, it became more and more difficult to truly have a direction and to know what message to broadcast beyond “get on your bikes, Miami.”

To this we can add an amount of aggravation caused by a local bike shop merchant who decided he would have a beef with me and anything I did through the @BikeMiami account, whether it was me retweeting info about cool bike-related products (most of which are not available in Miami, something we can lay at the feet of the retailers), bike-related news from around the nation/world, or pushing for the regular kind of bike riding that we see in Europe (i.e. normal, day-to-day stuff, not Lycra or anything else needing special equipment). He simply refused to understand that I was a volunteer that did not speak officially for Bike Miami, but that in general kept the spirit of the message of Bike Miami in mind when operating that account. When it finally got personal, I knew for sure that this wasn’t worth the hassle.

I have a very clear idea of what I would like to see Bike Miami do, but since Bike Miami is simply a brand name attached to a series of events organized by the City of Miami, there isn’t much I expect that name to do beyond the Days and Rides. After seeing sites like BikePortland.org, Bike-PGH.org, Bike PHL or BikeJax.org, I realized what Miami needs is a truly independent bicycle advocacy central site, something I don’t really see Bike Miami becoming unless it goes independent of Miami City Hall, which I also don’t really see happening. So you know, be the change you want to see and all that…

I hope that the people I left the account to don’t let it die off, because it has grown to be a good vehicle for communication with the regular folks out there as well as a link to the larger network of bike advocacy sites. But that’s now out of my hands. I will continue to be a cheerleader for the idea of Bike Miami, and hope that the new administration of the City of Miami can realize the importance of this brand name and the initiative it launched for the future of Miami.

I have plans already in motion for what I want to do and which I will reveal in due time.

Get on your bike and ride, folks.


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