Bike Day is a perfect fit for Coconut Grove
Kathryn Moore (above left), from the Mayor's office, and her Miami Bike Team should be very proud of themselves today. They did an incredible job bringing Bike Day to Coconut Grove yesterday.
It was a perfect day for the event and the Grove was packed with happy bikers, skaters, bladers and the like. Two new bike racks were introduced, too. You can see the bike-shaped green rack, proudly displayed by Miami's Magnificent Six Bicycle Action Committee. This is right next to the Bookstore on Virginia Street.
A red, guitar-shaped bike rack was also installed on Main Highway, across from Le P'tit Paris, Marshall and Douglas were the first to try it out yesterday morning. Everyone was very impressed at how they were installed in the middle of the night, so as to be a surprise the next morning. Richard and David from the BID and Chamber, respecively, manned the info booth next to the bike rack all day. I also worked with Manny and Ingrid from the BID office, at another info booth. They actually spent more time there than I did, since I was wandering all over the place taking photos.
The whole Grove partook of the fun. Even the Grove's own angel was out at the triangle in the center of the village, posing for photos. The Guys from Smoothie King, like most of the merchants, had a busy, successful day. That's my friend Alex, in the center photo. He's with FIU, they took surveys on biking in the county, to see what people are looking for in the way of bike paths and things like that.
The streets were void of cars, except for the few parked on the side and just a few were let in and out, so it was a strange feeling at first, but pretty quickly, people got used to not having motorized vehicles around. It actually was quite pleasant.
Peacock Park was the center of activities and the rally point, but people ended up all over the place -- riding, visiting, eating, drinking. It really was an amazing experience.
A couple of bike valet stations were set up and people could leave their bicycles and go eat or visit art galleries, and they knew their bikes would be safe. CocoWalk had one set up in an empty storefront and I suggested to them that this would be a good thing to have all the time.
It seemed that every city politician was out, which was great, but it would be a much better event in the future if it was a bit more low key. By that, I mean, no speeches and grandstanding and photo opps. Just close the streets to autos and let bikers take over like was done yesterday.
I spoke with many people and everyone would like to see this happen on a regular basis. Hopefully the BID can come up with something and this can be a once a month happening. The merchants were happy, the bicyclists were happy, the town leaders were happy. It's a win-win-win situation for everyone. Some merchants started out slow, but it picked up throughout the day and with more people here on a Sunday since maybe the King Mango Strut in December, there is no reason that anyone could not be happy with the results.
Bike Day brought so many new people into the Grove and so many people that had not been here for awhile. The streets were crowded, there was music all over the place -- flute playing, drummers, guitars and singers. It was a happening. And it was an organic happening. Very organic, natural and what the Grove is about.
Photos by Harry Emilio Gottlieb and Tom Falco for the Grapevine
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