Have you ever been stuck in your car on US-1, burning up gas and patience? It doesn’t have to be that way, and a five-day event called WHEELS can show you how.
WHEELS will take place in South Miami from November 11th– 15th to spotlight the existing alternatives to traveling by car in South Florida and demonstrate how to connect these resources for car-optional living. By using public transit (e.g. Metrorail, Metrobus, Tri-Rail) and trails (the M-Path/Underline and the Ludlam Trail) in combination with biking, walking, or even skateboarding, WHEELS will show you that, yes, another kind of commute is possible in Miami.
Over the course of WHEELS, attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a wide array of organized group bike rides, runs, and walks appropriate for all ages and ability levels. On Friday, November 13th and Saturday, November 14th, WHEELS will also host a free conference where national and local leaders—including Ryan Gravel (visionary behind the Atlanta Beltline) and Meg Daly from Friends of The Underline—will share insights into how they are transforming cities through successful local green mobility policy and infrastructure. (Note from the organizers: seating is limited, so please register for the conference at this link). Thanks to Miami-Dade Transit and South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, the first ___ conference attendees will receive free rides on the Metrorail and Tri-Rail to and from the conference.
That Saturday will also include a Bike-In Family Festival and Street Bash tin downtown South Miami, a closed street event for all ages, including a bike safety rodeo for kids as well, live music, and–of course–beer. If you’re curious about making a switch to car-optional commuting by biking, walking, and/or taking public transit to work or elsewhere, you’ll have a chance to chat with commuter “mentors” who can answer all of your questions (Don’t you sweat? What if it rains? How much money do you save?). Guests 21 and over who arrive by bicycle to the Street Bash will get a ticket for a free beer.
Emerge Miami, which has promoted alternative transportation and introduced thousands of South Florida residents to urban cycling through its regular monthly community bicycle rides for the last decade, will be celebrating WHEELS by leading two rides that week:
- Thursday, November 12th – Twilight Ride – An evening ride to enjoy Miami by bike after dusk.
- Saturday, November 14th – Emerge Second Saturday ride – This one will be a Farmer’s Market Ride, which will meet at the Vizcaya Metrorail at 10am, head south down the M-Path/Underline, and visit two farmers markets for snacks and treats.
To round out WHEELS, King Mango Strut Founder Glenn Terry will lead a Magical Mystery History Tour through Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, and South Miami in a quirky bike parade.
The aim of WHEELS is two-fold. By bringing thousands of people on trains, bikes, and their own feet, WHEELS will demonstrate to policymakers and developers the pent up demand for alternatives to car travel in Miami. WHEELS will also show thousands of residents and visitors how they can make connections between walking, biking, transit, and trails to get around and leave the car at home.
The entire conference and all events are free and open to the public but if you sign up on http://www.wheelsflorida.org, you’ll be eligible to win free prizes. In the mean time, connect with WHEELS at @wheelsflorida on Twitter and Instagram as well as WheelsFL on Facebook and check out the full program schedule.