You’ve probably read a lot about the Miami bike scene. If you haven’t read about it, you’ve probably seen these towering tall bikes, experienced the swarm of bikes at a red light passing every last Friday of the month, or learned a thing or two about how to fix a bike out of a shipping container. Ok that last part probably not, but that’s where we begin. Pedals up, gears down, let’s take a ride into the Miami bike scene.
For almost a decade the “Magic City Bike Collective” has been educating and servicing bikes on the scene in Miami. They’re an integral part of the Miami bike scene by educating the youth, fellow riders, and doing good for those who love to ride. The MCBC is a non-profit that is truly committed to the community and only asks for donations for the work they do. Their staff is super dedicated, knowledgeable, and friendly to get you back on the road. They were located in Miami by the beloved Corner bar, moved to OMNI park temporarily, and finally found their new home in Little Haiti on 54th street and 2nd Ave.
Photo Miami Bike Scene in Wynwood
Ruben and Dieter are veterans to the Miami bike scene and are committed to the cause. You can catch these two working night and day away from their day jobs to get you cyclin’ or just kick it with them because their staff is friendly as hell. Another awesome part of the collective is that you can trade, barter, and learn all about cycling to the teeth of your crankset.
Every Miami native has seen these bikes towering the downtown traffic.I’m talking about “tall bikes”. Each tall bike is customly tailored to fit that inner-Miamian. From Dolphin football team inspired tall bikes to renegade tall bike “fixies” towering traffic. But who is behind the creation of these double-fused Frankensteins of a bike? Well, a few individuals create their own tall bikes in their garage but I got to speak to Carlos Trujillo who is local “Bikesmith” for the scene.
Photo by Miami Herald
Carlos Trujillo Jr. is a welder by trade and a tall bike builder with passion outside his “9 to 5”. Here is what he had to say about tall bikes and the Miami bike scene,
“I’ve built over 30 ‘talls’ [bikes] in the last 3 years and maybe more than double than that in my life. The bike scene is strong here but there is very little support from local government to include safe bike lanes and driver education to make cycling safer. Miami is one of the most dangerous places to bike.”
Carlos, Eric Davis, and another friend, who goes by Raven, have built many tall bikes in Miami. They were featured in a micro-documentary called, “Avenues of Expression: Street Traditions in Miami”, which played in the History of Miami in Downtown as well as the 2018 Bicycle Film Festival.
“Avenues of Expression” explores the streets as public spaces for expression. It highlights traditions such as street art, parades, protests, vehicle customization, and religious practices. Take a peak of the documentary here.
“Tall Bike Builder” – Avenues of Expression: Street Traditions in Miami from Xavi Medina on Vimeo.
Photo by miaminewtimes.com
For those who are religious, they mark their calendar of all the holy holidays. To us cyclists, our mass happens every last Friday of the month and we meet our ‘church’ at Government Center Downtown, Miami.
Critical Mass has been around since the 1990s and has spread to many cities around the states.
Critical Mass is meant to educate the public that cyclists are just as important as any other vehicle on the road. Cyclists come together to ride in unison with cars and highlight the alternative mode of transportation that leaves little carbon footprint. It’s a fun ride where people gather all around the city to meet and ride as one. It may seem like a nuisance to the city but it is a demonstration of power in numbers and message against climate change.
Tall bikes usually lead the pack and are the most seen as pedestrians take cellphone videos of the mass movement. “The world would be a better place if everyone rode a tall bike.” says, Carlos Trujillo. I think I agree with him. You can’t miss ’em and it’s hard out here to stay alive surrounded by Miami drivers.