Bike Filmmaker Joe Biel on Miami's Critical Mass: "It's the Biggest Monthly Ride in the World"
As home to the nation's largest Critical Mass turnout (and given recent police attention to the monthly two-wheeled trek), it seems pretty clear that Miami's cycling culture is headed toward a tipping point. Bike advocates are working for widespread awareness and major changes citywide -- and people in other places are paying attention.
All photos by Hannah Sentenac
One of those people is Joe Biel, a cycling filmmaker out of Portland who created the documentary Aftermass: Bicycling in a Post-Critical Mass Portland. Biel and team rolled into Wynwood's Gramps last night for Dinner & Bikes, an evening of activism and eating. They talked to Cultist about the major changes happening nationwide -- and how Miami has its own unique niche in cycling culture.
Joe Biel, Elly Blue, and Joshua Ploeg are the trio behind Dinner & Bikes, an annual tour that hops from city to city serving up film screenings and vegan meals. This year they did a five week tour of the Northeast before heading to Miami; next, they'll host a finale in Tampa.
"The bicycle movement is huge. I would have said that last year people were really interested in bicycles, but this year we're finding that people are really informed and really educated in bicycle issues," says Blue of her experience on the road. "Our work in past years has been more like, 'Hey, here's why and how to build this kind of movement.' This year it's like, 'We're here to inspire you to take it to the next level because you're already doing amazing work."
From what they're seeing around the country, a lot of cities are really starting to build a bike infrastructure, she adds.
When asked about Critical Mass and concern about potentially unruly bikers, Blue points the question back to the bigger picture -- unruly drivers. The issues with cyclists causing problems during Critical Mass are generally far fewer, she says.