Bicycle Riding in Florida Keys
Bicycle riding in the Florida Keys takes a bit of planning, but can be very rewarding. Imagine cycling where you are near turquoise waters, with a cool seabreeze and warm sunshine.
Or, if can be biking in a downpour with nowhere to stop and wait for the rain to pass. In some parts of the Keys, all there is is road and water.
Let's take a look at some things to consider when you're planning your bicycle riding in the Florida Keys.
On the road between the Florida mainland and Key Largo, the roads are very narrow, don't have a bike lane and cars tend to speed past (assuming there isn't a traffic jam).
This is not the best place to do some bicycling, as you have to be on a constant lookout for the errant driver. Not that you don't normally anyway, but it seems to be really bad on this stretch of road. Everyone seems to be in a hurry to start their Keys vacation. Save your bicycling until you reach Key Largo.
One more thing to watch for are the smaller bridges in the Keys -- they can be very narrow with an exceedingly small biking lane (if you can even call it one).
Key West -- A Popular Ride
Key West seems to be a bicycle mecca. If you don't have your own with you, there are plenty of places where you can rent one. A word of warning -- traffic is also bad here, although it's slow. The streets in the old section of town are narrow, but they widen when you get out of the downtown area. Still, this can be a very plesant ride.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bicycle)
If you have your own bicycle with you, try some of the State parks in the Florida Keys. Most of them have hiking and biking...except for the ones that are underwater!
The Florida Keys Historic Trail is the bicycle trail in the Keys that offers plenty of tropical scenery. Starting in Key Largo around MM 100, it winds its way down the various Keys on US1 (also known as the Overseas Highway). You'll cycle through cities, towns and stretches of road with just you, the road and the water.
The Seven Mile Bridge that separates the middle Keys from the lower Keys is a spectacular bicycle ride, if you're up to a long ascent (although it's not very steep). Seven miles of you and amazing views of the waters that surround the Florida Keys. There's a good bike lane, and traffic is normally moderate, except on weekends and holidays.
Best Time for Bicycle Riding in the Florida Keys
You have a toss-up as to the best time for your bike trip. In Summer, the traffic and crowds tend to be less, but you'll have to contend with the heat, humidity and thunderstorms. Check the weather reports carefully before starting your trip, especially if you plan to cross the Seven Mile Bridge!
In the Florida Keys there isn't much in the way of a roadside pull-off once you are out of the cities. Once you leave the road, you tend to be in the water, and neither is a good place to be during a thunderstorm.
Winter brings beautiful biking weather to the Keys -- warm days in the 70's, lower humidity and few rainshowers. The bad part is that's when the crowds arrive -- the Keys is a hot tourist spot come Winter. This means a lot more traffic, especially in the city areas.
Especially in the summer, bring lots of water and sunscreen with you. The sun is strong at all times, and there are lots of deserted Keys where there are no stores to buy anything to drink if you run out too soon.
Enjoy your bicycle riding in the Florida Keys!
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