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‘Wheels’ Unites Thousands of South Floridians Ready to Get Out of Their Cars for Local Travel

Five-day event series to include guided and self-led bike rides, walks, runs, green mobility conference, family festival, street party

A tri-county demonstration of walking, bicycling, riding transit and using trails to get South Floridians out of their cars will roll out November 11-15. More than 20 local, state and national governmental agencies, nonprofits and companies are behind the program called WHEELS that’s meant to get people out of their cars before infrastructure improvements can further help reduce the region’s notorious road congestion.

At least 10,000 people are expected to try some mix of green mobility during the program that extends through Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. It’s centered in South Miami, the only Florida city where transit and a multi-use trail directly pass through downtown. People will register online at http://www.wheelsflorida.org to be eligible for prizes, including free bikes.

Activities include bike tours of transit systems and trails; critical mass transit rides; a conference, and the first-ever bike-in South Miami street party.

“You can bet that the conference will talk about showers in the workplace and secure places to park bikes,” says town planner Victor Dover, volunteer chairman of WHEELS and a walk-bike-transit-trail commuter when he can do without a car.

The program will also include safety training, including how to use bikes with trains and buses, and will provide free helmets and bike tune-ups for early registrants.

One unique activity will include mentoring by Dover and others like him for drive commuters “stressed beyond coping,” he says.

The full schedule of activities appears below and at the website. Most are free. Co-presenting sponsors are the East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA) and the Florida Department of Transportation. Local sponsors include South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, South Florida Commuter Services, Health Foundation of South Florida, Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, the City of South Miami, Baptist Health South Florida, First National Bank of South Miami, and Friends of the Underline.  The PR sponsor is Roar Media.

South Miami was chosen for WHEELS when planners for the national ECGA trail nonprofit realized it could hold its annual fall leadership meeting in a place that didn’t require travel by car. Alliance leaders will arrive at Miami International Airport, ride the Orange Line to lodgings in Dadeland, and otherwise get around for three days by walking, using rental bikes, riding transit, and biking the M-Path, which is a portion of its 2,900 route.

Added Dover, principal of Dover, Kohl & Partners – which in August installed showers in its offices – “It’s time that Miami joins the ranks of the great American cities that have strong walk-bike components. This is critical for Miami’s future, and we hope this event will help jump-start the process.”

The complete schedule:

November 11 (Wednesday)
6:30 p.m.: Miami Bicycling Heroes Reception (Glasgow Lecture Hall, University of Miami School of Architecture)

November 12 (Thursday)
6:30 a.m.: Underline Commute (South Miami Metrorail Station)
6:00 p.m.: Emerge Miami: Twilight Bike Ride (University Metrorail Station)
6:30 p.m.: Footworks Run (Sunset Drive) and Brickell Run Club (Brickell Metrorail Station)

November 13 (Friday)
7:00 a.m.: Underline Commute (Dadeland North Metrorail Station)
12:30 p.m.: Conference Part I: National Leaders Speak Out on Green Mobility (South
Miami Hospital)

November 14 (Saturday)
7:00 a.m.: Ludlam Trail Run (Dadeland North Metrorail Station) and 550 Riders Saturday Ride (Dorn Avenue)
7:30 a.m.: EBC Spice Ride (Cocoplum Circle)
8:00 a.m.: Conference Part II: Green Mobility: The State and Regional View / 24th Annual East Coast Greenway Alliance Membership Summit Opening Program (South Miami Hospital)
10:00 a.m.: Emerge Miami: Farmers Market Ride (Vizcaya Metrorail Station)
Noon: WHEELS at Vizcaya: A Family-Friendly Ride to South Miami (Vizcaya Museum & Gardens)
1:00 p.m.: 24th Annual East Coast Greenway Alliance Membership Summit (South Miami Hospital)
1:00 p.m.: SOMI Bike-In Family Festival (Downtown South Miami)
1:00 p.m.: Kidical Mass to Dante Fascell Park & Safety Skills Bike Rodeo (Dorn Avenue)
2:00 p.m.: Gravel Grinders’ Mountain Biking on Ludlam Trail (Dadeland North Metrorail Station)
3:00 p.m.: Florida Bicycle Association Best Practices Workshop (South Miami Hospital)
5:00 p.m.: Critical Mass Transit Ride (from Government Center)
5:30 p.m.: SOMI Bike-In Street Bash (Downtown South Miami)

November 15 (Sunday)
9:30 a.m.: Magical Mystery History Tour (Kirk Munroe Tennis Courts-Coconut Grove)
10:00 a.m.: Gables Bike Tour: A Wheelie Great Ride! (Coral Gables Museum)
10:30 a.m.: WHEELS Concluding Ceremony (University Metrorail Station)
11:00 a.m.: Dolphins Cancer Challenge (University of Miami)

WHEELS sponsors and organizers include: Bike 305; Bike SoMi; Deli Lane/Sunset Tavern; Dover Kohl & Partners Town Planning; eMerge Miami; Everglades Bicycle Club; Florida Bicycle Association; FootWorks; Friends of the Underline; Human Powered Delray; Mack Cycle & Fitness; Miami Bike Scene; Miami-Dade County; Roar Media; SoMi Magazine; South Miami Hospital (Baptist Health South Florida)’ Street Plans; Tropical Audubon Society; and Urban Paradise Guild.

For more information, contact Priscilla Lauture at (305) 403-2080 ext. 110 or at priscilla@roarmedia.com, or visit www.wheelsflorida.org.

ABOUT WHEELS
WHEELS is a five-day celebration of Miami’s bike-walk-transit trails designed to elevate awareness of green mobility and South Florida’s transportation and transit issues. During the November 11-15 event, more than 10,000 people are expected to access South Florida’s transit system and trails and participate in a series of corresponding activities from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach counties. The event is free and open to the public. More information is available at www.wheelsflorida.org

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