Bike Man Ray Strack on Cycling, Art, and Music in Fort Lauderdale

Categories: Things To Do
Alex Markow Biketopia.jpg
Alex Markow
Ray (featured right) and his Critical Mass bike crew

In a party town like Fort Lauderdale, known for its three-for-one happy hours and beachy debauchery, Ray Strack stands out. 

As a bicycle advocate, he brings an active subculture to "Fort Liquerdale." He co-organizes nightly bike rides and monthly bike meetups like Critical Mass, a group bike ride that spun out of San Francisco in the early '90s and occurs locally in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Strack and friends lead a group of cyclists on the last Friday of every month on a 15-mile pedaling, offering humorous banter, and philosophical points on how to grow Fort Lauderdale's progressive culture along the way. 

While he's serious about sharing the road and bicycle safety, he doesn't mind acting silly while doing so. He's often spotted wearing colorful bow ties and holiday-themed gear on two wheels. His larger-than-life personality and zest for life is so infectious, you walk away wanting him as your best friend. At 50-something Strack knows a bit about life, so it was time we chatted him up to share his perspective on Fort Lauderdale culture.

New Times: What do you like about living in a place like Fort Lauderdale? 

Ray Strack: I think Fort Lauderdale is a big, small town. It's big enough to have a good vibrant art and entertainment district. But at the same time, if you're actively attending events you end up seeing the same people. Fort Lauderdale is small enough where you don't feel like a stranger.

What's going on with Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass?

Critical Mass, when we started with a handful of people back in January 2011, it's really grown to a diverse group of different ages and interests. Last month's ride, 200 people came out. The ride is socially dynamic, people get out of the house, and turn off the TV, and actually do something together. 

What do you think about the local art scene?

I like FAT Village because it's local. I can get onto my bike and go. It means I can have a few drinks. I don't have to start a car. FAT Village obviously isn't going to have famous artists like Wynwood Walls would have, but there's a place for everything. There's also Sailboat Bend Artists Lofts, where you have to be a juried artist to live there. That's way cool. 

So do you ever head to Miami?

Sometimes for big events. Decentralizing is huge to me. I think people should strive to be positive and connected to where they reside. 

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