Gorgeous Sunrise; Making New Friends

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Sunrise Dinner Key Marina, Coconut Grove

Woke up early Sunday morning and rode to Dinner Key Marina to witness the sunrise over Biscayne Bay. Arrived there just in the nick of time to catch the sun greeting the new day and all the sailboats on the bay.

Rode to meet my cycling pals at Cocowalk Starbucks for our group ride across Venetian Causeway to South Beach. Everyone arrived by 7:45 AM and we headed out. The causeway is by far the safest and most picturesque way to get to and from South Beach from Downtown Miami. Early Sunday Mornings there is light traffic and the weather is still pleasant.

We took our usual rout to Ocean Drive so that we may enjoy the Art Deco Hotels, Palm Trees, Beach, and interesting characters.  We rode to the southernmost end of Miami Beach were the new South Point Pier is located.

While there we noticed a guy who seemed to be a tourist was having some difficulty with his hybrid bike. I inquired about the problem and he pointed out that the protective cover to his large crank was loose and he could use a screwdriver if we had one.

It was his lucky day. Alfred must have been a Boy Scout and is always prepared for emergencies with the right tools for the job, patch kit, tube and air pump if need be. And that is how we happened to meet Juan Fernandez from Spain.

He was most grateful for the helping hand and we began to get acquainted. Turns out he is an Iberia Airlines pilot from Spain on loan to a Finish airline for a few month and based in Miami Beach for flights to Helsinki. The bike was recently purchased for his wife and he was taking it for short spin.

We told him that we were heading to Taste on 9th Ave. for their freshly baked muffins and brewed coffee and that he would be most welcome to join us. And he did.

We all had a great time chatting and getting to know one another. We exchanged cards and agreed to stay in touch and even offered to be each other’s house guest in the future.

That serendipitous encounter came about because cyclists are friendly, helpful and enjoy sharing with others.  Looking forward to the next opportunity to ride and possibly make a new friend.

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Harry, Gary, Elena and Alfred at South Point Pier, Miami Beach
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Elena, Juan, Harry, Gary, Alfred and Stephen at Taste, Miami Beach
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Drawbridges Over Troubled Waters

By: Harry Emilio Gottlieb

How many more cyclists need to be sliced and diced on cheese grater surface before FDOT is motivated to improve safety with nonslip bike lane?

So you wake up this morning and decide to great the day with an enjoyable and healthy bike ride. You determine today’s destination and plot your rout. It will to take you over the Miami River and Intercostal. There is light traffic, the wind is in your favor and there is enough cloud coverage to make it comfortable. You have ridden across that drawbridge many times before. But this time it will be just a little different. A few hours ago there was dew in the air or perhaps a drizzle of rain. The moisture has mixed with the fuel residue from cars, trucks and boats. The surface of the metal grate at the crest of the drawbridge is now covered in a slippery film that may be a challenge to most cyclists, especially those on Road and TriBikes, out for a bit of exercise. All of a sudden you sense something is very wrong. Your bike is sliding and perhaps even fishtailing. Your priority is now to keep calm, your deal with the new tense situation, adrenaline is kicking in. Your immediate goal is to avoid falling on the “Cheese Grater”. You pray there is no car, truck or bus behind you and will somehow safely reach the solid road ASAP.

Needless to say some cyclists have not been so lucky. They were unable to control the slippery surface and crashed upon the metal grate. Some have received the worst road rash of their bike riding lives and others have experienced fractured ribs, wrists and collarbones. Rising up from the terrible fall one tends to quickly inventory the quantity of healthy fingers remaining in one piece.

FDOT has not seen a need to make drawbridges safer, because they claim they have no record of anyone reporting a drawbridge cycling accident. The fact is that many cyclists just pick themselves up, go home or seek medical treatment on their own. Unless the accident is very serious in which case the paramedics will be called and a report is filed.

Now it is up to the local FDOT office to recognize the need to “Do The Right Thing” and improve the safety of our drawbridges. Its sister office in Broward has previously installed a smaller diameter metal grate in a designated bike lane on the A1A drawbridge just north of Commercial Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale as have other agencies around the country.

Photos courtesy of Yamile Castella.

Another solution would be to designate a bike lane with paint and fill in the dangerous grates with concrete or rubber.

9/11 Memorial Day Ride

 

There are certain days in our lives that we all remember too well. The assignation’s of JFK, MLK and Bobby. The passing of our loved ones. And on September 11, 2001 the terrorist attack upon the New York Twin Towers and our way of life. We vividly recall where we were, the weather, who we were with, the sounds and smells.

September of 2016 had arrived and plans were being made throughout the country to honor that day. I had read about two 9/11 memorials that had been installed in Miami-Dade County and decided to plan a ride to them with by cycling pals. They all approved and we agreed to meet at 7:45 am at Cocowalk in Coconut Grove.

I met the guys and we headed for the 9/11 Memorial located on Brickell. None of us had ever seen it before. Turns out it’s an actual I-Beam from the Twin Towers installed within a concrete display with an American Flag pained alongside of it. Local Firemen and their trucks where nearby preparing for their participation.

After paying our respects, taking some photos and thanking the fireman for their service, we proceeded to ride up Miami Ave. to N.E. 2 Ave. and head to Miami Shores for the second 9/11 Memorial. This one was also an I-Beam but it was filled with concreate and sealed with in impact resistant glass.

We then rode north on N.E. 2 Ave through Miami Shores, El Portal and Miami Gardens to 125th Street in North Miami for some lunch at Café Crème one of our favorite French Bakery and Bistro. The owner Cory greeted us like lost relatives and provided us with Café Au Lait and an assortments of tasty Croissant’s. We even shared a few yummy pastries.

After fueling up we reversed our course and rode south through the Design District.

Riding further south, we entered Wynwood which is internationally known for its amazing Street Art Murals.

We rode back through Downtown Miami and saw some plenty of cranes for all the of the new construction taking place there. And as if to end our 9/11 Memorial Ride on a high note, we came across the sight of an incredible Tall Ship that was docked at Museum Park and flying the Spanish Flag.

All in all we had a most memorable cycling experience with good friends. We took safe routs and avoided the heaviest traffic. There was no rain and very light breezes out of the east. The road conditions where good, all though we did encounter a few potholes. We made a point of recording the locations and shooting photos of the most dangerous potholes, so we could report them to the various municipalities Public Works Departments.

Welcome to Harry’s Cycle Path.

Harry BikeDo you always have a big smile on your face when you take a ride on your bike? Do you still feel like a kid with the wind blowing in your face as you wiz around corners? Do you sometimes imagine yourself as if you are flying? Have you ever been sleeping and dreamed about being on your bike? Do you prefer to have adventures by taking the road less ridden? Do you keep your bike cleaner and brighter than your home or your car?

If so, than it’s a pretty good chance that you are an avid cyclist like me and many of our pals. This Blog is dedicated to Cycle Path’s like us. Together we shall share stories of adventures, places we could have only discovered on our bikes, interesting characters we have met along the way, tips on repairs, events, reviews of new products, activism to improve bike and road safety and lasting memories to savor and share.