There was a time when I lived in south Florida. It was over 15 years ago and I moved from Broward County to Palm Beach County during the nine years I was there, although I worked primarily in Miami-Dade County. I never felt comfortable in Miami to live there, but I always felt it was a great place to visit. I also never thought there would ever be a day when I would think about living in Miami, and yet, I had that very thought this past weekend.
This past weekend I took a trip to Miami in order to attend the Everglades Bicycle Club annual picnic. Being a member of 24 Florida bicycle clubs has its privileges, and if I can work a club picnic into my schedule, I’m going! The picnic was Sunday at Crandon Park, giving all those attending the opportunity to ride scenic Key Biscayne.
After riding, members and guests were treated to a catered lunch from Sparky’s Roadside BBQ.
I’m still thinking about that banana cream dessert, WOW! The real highlight of this annual picnic, however, was president Greg Neville presenting PATCHES a check for $4,000 and vice president Sue Kawalerski presenting a donation of hand-crank cycles worth $18,000 to Achilles International Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans ; gifts made possible from proceeds of two very popular club-sponsored events.
PATCHES stands for Pediatric Alternative Treatment, Care, Housing & Evaluation Services, Inc. This non-profit offers parents the peace of mind brought about by a program staffed by health care professionals who are expertly trained in the care of children with both sub-acute and chronic conditions. Their center is fully equipped and staffed to accommodate children who require the support of ventilators, tracheotomies, oxygen therapy, and feeding tubes, or who have other special medical needs. Supportive therapies, respiratory care, educational programming, and door-to-door transportation are also available. Fully licensed by the State of Florida, their well-rounded, expertly managed program benefits both children and families with the highest standards of pediatric specialized care. The proceeds from the March Roland Mazzotti Snowbird Century went to this worthy organization.
Achilles International was founded in 1983 by Dick Traum, an above the knee amputee seeking to provide other people with disabilities the opportunity to achieve a powerful sense of achievement and self-esteem through athletics. Over the years, Achilles has developed specialized programs for children and war veterans. The Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans program brings running and cycling programs to disabled veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The October Freedom Ride at Homestead Speedway benefits the Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans and has participants of the program join the ride.
It’s moments like these, when cyclists come together in celebration, that make the bicycle club experience magical. It’s a shame that moments like these don’t have the media play of other cycling stories, but that’s the nature of news. In my journalism experience, the line for front page placement is ‘if it bleeds, it leads.’ The feel-good stories are “Features” to be showcased on another page in a different section, often overlooked by those who live life by scratching just the surface of current events.
The feel-good stories, however, have merit. They touch people and in some cases, they inspire. I love Tampa Bay, but during that moment in Miami, I was proud to be part of the Everglades Bicycle Club; my connection to positive programs for the children of Miami-Dade County and the military heroes of our country.
Another moment I had in Miami took place on Saturday when I was riding the Underline. I spent the better part of the day on a bicycle, not once in a car, and I traveled over 28 miles. I’ll tell you, back when I lived in south Florida, I would have thought that riding 28 miles in south Florida were only possible on the paved loop in Shark Valley at the Everglades National Park. I would never have thought about getting around Kendall by bicycle, but I did. From The Palms of Town & Country to South Miami and the Underline, all by bike. That’s when I thought living in Miami could be possible.
I also thought I should never say never because miracles happen every day, mile by mile.
Editor’s note: Bike Florida and Florida Bicycle Association share a common cause in bicycle education for residents and visitors to the Sunshine “Bike-Ped” State. Share the Road license plate proceeds benefit Bike Florida and Florida Bicycle Association to further these bicycle educational efforts. What’s on your motor vehicle? Get the Share the Road license plate!
Did you know Rejjee is the only nation-wide multi-product registry and crowd sourced Lost & Found that includes discount product replacement offers on bicycles? Rejjee also supports Florida Bicycle Association and FBA supports Rejjee.
Do you have a bicycle story to tell? Photos to share? Be our guest and be our next guest blogger! Send your story and photos to Becky@floridabicycle.org. Speaking of stories, our quarterly Messenger newsletter is available online for your internet reading pleasure. Visit the FBA website Home page or click here.
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