I like to sit with my young nephews and spin crazy tales such as “once upon a time, children rode bikes outside for hours on end without adult supervision. If they wanted to go somewhere they would hop on their bike and ride there.” The stories never really catch on but maybe it’s a nostalgic part of me that wants to relish in those days.
Two weeks ago, a friend and I decided to participate in the Town of Miami Lakes kick off event for the new Spin Bike Share program. A handful of dedicated fitness buffs and curious minds congregated under an overcast sky at 9:00 am. Thirty minutes later the event was officially cancelled but my friend and I being rebels at heart decided to take our free ride offered by the Spin company and put it to good use. We rode in the rain, we found shelter under a tree , our memories of a care-free childhood slowly coming back to us, it was awesome.
Since then, I’ve been hooked on that feeling and sought it out. I’ve enjoyed the new Spin Bikes and my purpose is to share my experiences both good and bad.
Avoiding Death: #lifegoals
Don’t look so shocked at the title. If you have ever ridden a bicycle in Miami, you know the chances of becoming road kill rise higher each moment you’re on the street. We’re not handing out medals for bravery so here are some helpful tips:
1. Walk your bike across the road if there is a traffic light.
2. If you’re on a curve, assume the driver will believe in their very soul that they have the right of way when turning a corner. Don’t get upset, let it go dude.
3. Don’t stand on the very edge of a corner when crossing. Push the button for the crosswalk and wait, even then, look over your shoulder.
4. Make sure to look both ways when crossing a driveway in a residential area. People will bolt out of their driveways and rear end you.
5. Sidewalks are for pedestrians but unfortunately there are times we cyclists have to use them. For example: if you shout “to the left!” really loud, you’ll manage to startle pedestrians but avoid running them over. It’s a win-win if you ask me.
6. Don’t be entitled if you’re on the road. I’ve seen my fair share of arrogant bike riders. If you’re going to be reckless and weave in and out of the road because you have a bike then you will most likely to get hit. We are way too close to Hialeah for you to believe otherwise.
To ride a bicycle on the streets of Miami is to know one thing: it’s a driving-favored city. There are cars everywhere! Each year Dade county is flooded with more reckless drivers from other countries (have you ever driven in South America?) which makes it difficult to make Miami a city that embraces alternative transportation. Knowing this, you must be careful on the road. Most families, especially those riding with small children (elementary school age) opt to stay in their neighborhoods. I recommend this because small children don’t have the same quick reflexes that adults do.
The Pros: Cool Factor
Let’s start off with the good stuff. Bike shares were only reserved for cool and progressive cities in Miami. They began primarily in popular tourist locations. Now, Miami Lakes came into the scene, hello! This speaks well of a town that is adopting new ideas. The concept of alternative transportation is a global concern and making bicycles available for the community is a step in the right direction.
The Cons: Learning to Share
Miamians don’t know how to share… I’m kidding, no I’m not. OK, here’s the blunt truth,people are taking these bikes and riding them into their communities. These bikes are meant to be left in public spaces where everyone has access to them. Now, I know it will take time for some people to understand this: If you live in a gated community please do not ride your bike into the community. The bike is not your new ride, it belongs to the people. Be considerate, this is a public transportation method to be shared with everyone. If you leave your bike in the community others cannot use it, then they will become discouraged and abandon all possibility of enjoying an affordable bike ride and using it to exercise. It’s OK to leave the bicycle outside and walk into your gated community. You just spent time exercising anyway, walking a few extra minutes will only increase those workout points on your fit bit or fitness app on your watch.
The Pros: Nature Exists?
January through March, the pinnacle time to exercise outdoors. Your new bicycle experience doesn’t have to be all grueling beast-mode, it can actually be pleasurable. Take it the trees and flowers, the new Spin Bikes help you explore the small nook and cranny neighborhoods of Miami Lakes that go completely unnoticed when you’re driving your car.
The Cons: Scavenger Hunt
The Spin Bike Share app is easy to use and pretty. First two requirements are out of the way. It shows on a map where you are and where the closest Spin Bike is to you, glorious! On some occasions I’ve been lucky enough to have found a Spin Bike right next to my home, other times I’ve had to navigate the streets in Miami Lakes in the car (kind of defeats the purpose) only to discover that some small tribe of people have tucked away the Spin Bikes in their … you guessed it gated community. Other times, I encountered the Spin Bike lying helpless against a tree like a wounded animal because someone has damaged it.
The Pro: Repair Alert
Thankfully the smart people at Spin created an alert letting you know if the bike is unable to ride, thus saving you money. The Spin Bikes are $1 for a 30 minute ride which is affordable and links up to a credit card on file. Easy peasy. Another great aspect is that the Spin Bikes are made for adults not for children. Why is this a perk? Because it helps adults remember that riding a bike is fun, it’s healthy and you can actually use it to travel to places. We’re a far distance from that last part in Miami Lakes but I’m hoping we will reach that point.
We as a world-class city are moving forward and we have to release old mindsets. In Miami when most of us see a person walking/riding a bicycle we believe they’re economically poor. Some of our parents were poor immigrants that viewed owning a car in the United States a symbol of success. People using public transportation were looked down upon but we are in a new generation where we are now motivated to create community and care for our well being.
Bikes/Walking/Bus = Losers
See how that works? Now, the Millennials with their health-conscious, plant based meals. Their outdoor Pilates workout in their athleisure wear are taking over Miami, thank God for miracles. Come to us healthy Millennials! We have a new bike share system in Miami Lakes, we’re “with it” give us a chance. Come all you Chia seed seeking, tree hugging entrepreneurs with your wild ideas of recycling and sustainability. We’re ready for you, let’s ride!
Michelle Orchid Rodriguez is a wellness lifestyle blogger,educator and an independent Licensed Massage Therapist. Her mission is to promote a higher quality of life for others through her work in therapeutic massage & promoting healthy living. She is the founder and CEO of Lumina Massage Inc. in Miami Lakes,Florida. Lumina Massage is a specialty massage company that focuses on neuromuscular therapy for pain management and advanced prenatal bodywork.