Even if you’ve lived in Miami all your life, there’s a chance you may have missed a few details. After discovering bicycling about ten years ago, cities that I thought I knew inside-and-out became completely different worlds. Neighborhoods that I passed through daily in my car took on new life. On a bike, you’ll find yourself admiring a front yard garden, a home’s intriguing architecture, or just soaking in the sun outside the confines of car windows.
It’s no wonder that Miami is one of the nation’s best cycling cities, thanks to year-round weather conditions suitable for being outdoors. And an abundance of water, beaches, and fascinating culture.
Whether you’ve got an hour to spare or a full-day, pull out your old two-wheeler and go exploring. I’m constantly traveling on business, and Miami ranks at the top of my favorite cities to visit, largely because of the opportunities for bicycling. Don’t worry if you’re turned off by those tight Spandex bike outfits — there are no speed or apparel requirements for cruising Miami. Take it as easy as you please.
If you don’t own a bike or are visiting town, there’s a handful of affordable rental options, including Miami Bicycle Rentals (http://www.miamibicyclerentals.com) and Bike and Roll (http://www.bikeandroll.com), whose two locations can even allow for a one-way journey. Metrorail also allows bikes on board, so the routing options are literally endless. My rides through Miami inevitably take a different route each time, but when I’m taking a friend out or giving advice, here are my ‘best of the best’ itinerary ideas. If you’re riding from your desk, go ahead and open up Miami in Google Maps or another program and follow along. Then get out there and ride it for real!
One Hour or Less
The Venetian Causeway and South Beach
(Photo by Marc Averette)
There are only a few places in the world like South Beach, pulsing every hour of the day with life and excitement. If you’ve got just 15 minutes to take in the Miami landscape, do it from the Venetian Causeway. Gliding between tiny islets and the crystal clear water of Biscayne Bay, time on the fabled causeway gives reason to breathe deep and bask in the south Florida sun.
Coming off the bridge, continue straight on 17th Street to Meridian Ave, where you’ll turn left (north) for two blocks to the Holocaust Memorial and its surrounding gardens. Cross the canal and take a right onto Dade Ave, then another right on Washington Avenue. Now you can choose any of the numbered streets to pedal down toward the beach, taking in the Art Deco style every inch of the way. The beachfront Collins Ave and Ocean Drive are see-and-be-seen routes — take your time and bask in the people watching. At 11th Street you’ll pass the Versace Mansion and its famous mosaic pool, now home to a decadently luxurious hotel and restaurant.
Before reaching the South Pointe Park and pier, cool off with a dip at Nikki Beach. You can then cruise back up Ocean Drive, or follow the water to Alton Road and back up to the Venetian Causeway.
The Leisurely Two Hour Jaunt
Little Havana and the Design District
From the mainland side of the Venetian Causeway, it’s only a 20 minute hop down to Little Havana, where you can cruise through one of the country’s most authentic and vibrant cultural neighborhoods. Off the causeway, head south on Biscayne Boulevard toward Bayfront Park, where there’s a Bike and Roll rental location. Follow the water south, crossing another bridge when Biscayne dead-ends into Brickell Ave/2nd Street. You’ll pass the Miami Riverwalk on your left, before turning left onto Brickell Key Dr and then right onto S. Bayshore Drive (to get off a busier section of Brickell Ave). Again, you’re just following the route closest to the water, so it’s pretty simple to follow, even without a map.
After a few blocks, Bayshore will become Brickell Bay Drive. Turn a smooth right onto 15th Road. Follow it inland, under Interstate 95, to 11th Street, which you’ll ride for about a dozen blocks into Little Havana.
Once in the neighborhood, explore at your leisure, making sure to ride by the El Credito Cigar Factory on 8th Street and Maximo Gomez Park on 15th Avenue, better known as ‘Domino Park’ for the scores of old men who gather here to compete at the timeless game. You’ll eventually head back north via the same basic route, following the water.
When you reach the Venetian Causeway, continue north on Bayshore Drive through the waterfront Margaret Pace Park. Turn left on any of the cross streets to 2nd Avenue, where you’ll turn right and head north all the way to 38th Street.
Welcome to the Design District. Ride a few blocks on every street between 38th and 41st, window shopping while you pedal past some of the world’s most cutting edge showrooms, antique dealers, and art galleries. Intricate gardens and first-class restaurants are tucked in between all the art, so if you’ve worked up an appetite, this is the place to revel in Miami’s cutting edge lifestyle and cuisine.
The Full Day Excursion
Cruising Key Biscayne
If you’ve got a full day to ride, consider the ultimate in Miami bicycling and ride the Rickenbacker Causeway out to Key Biscayne. Follow the directions to Little Havana as far as the rounded right onto 15th Road. After crossing Brickell Ave, turn left onto South Miami Ave, which you’ll follow a dozen blocks to the Rickenbacker Causeway.
There’s hardly a ride in the country that rivals the open water pedal across Virginia Key Beach Park to Key Biscayne. After the bustle and busy streets of South Beach, just a few miles north, here you can kick back, cruising Crandon Boulevard, with a stop at the Biscayne Nature Center to gain a full appreciation of the staggeringly gorgeous natural beauty that surrounds Miami, just under the water’s surface. It’s only about a 45 minute ride across the island, where you’ll reach the Cape Florida Lighthouse.
Stop here for a break, gaze out across the bright blue horizon, and start plotting your next ride.
Working with self storage users all over the Unites States, Tim Eyre helps customers store their stuff in places like a
Miami self storage facility and a location providing self storage units in Miami Gardens on 183rd Street. In his spare time, Tim likes to get outside for a game of basketball or a round of golf.