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Florida Keys for riding?(9 posts)

Florida Keys for riding?ridewt
Jan 8, 2004 9:14 AM
The wife is suggesting the Florida Keys (I think Key West) for an April vacation. I know nothing about the area except that Key West is supposedly artsy and fun. My question: is there any way to do some decent riding down there? Is traffic really bad? Thanks.
No riding....african
Jan 8, 2004 9:18 AM
take a vacation, do some walking or rent a beach cruiser bike. Forget about serious riding. Just relax and drink your ass off.
re: Florida Keys for riding?russw19
Jan 8, 2004 9:25 AM
African is right... the Keys is not the place to try to get training type rides in. It's absolutely completely flat. It's not that big, and there isn't that much riding to do down there. Rent a beach cruiser and cruise around... that's one thing, but you won't get too much training rides in. If you are taking a vacation and you are worried about doing so early in your season and messing up your form, take your running shoes and get some running miles in instead.

It's hard sometimes when you are on vacation to find good training rides... and the Keys are going to be harder than most places due to the size and topography of the islands.

re: Florida Keys for riding?maximum15
Jan 8, 2004 9:53 AM
I wouldn't try it except on a beach cruiser. A great place for snorkling is about 4 miles offshore around mile marker 26 (Cujo or Summerland Key). There is an offshore reef called Loo Key that has excellent snorkeling. Best to rent a boat so you can stay out all day.
Jan 8, 2004 9:57 AM
I know a few people who do ride there, but it's hard to string together a good long ride without lots of traffic.
There's some passable mtb trails around, though they are flat as the water down there. My dad has a place on Cudjoe Key, about 20 miles from Key West. In the past, I've ridden some stuff on Big Pine and Little Torch, I think. It's been a few years.
For road, make sure to run flat-resistant tires. There's a lot of crap on the road, since there's only one way in or out. The shoulders tend to be good, and there's bike paths paralleling US 1 in places.
If you're in Key West, though, I'd just rent beach cruisers and tool around the city. It's not a workout, but lots of fun. It's a vacation, man. Relax, eat some good food (The Blue Heaven is great, if it's still there), listen to bands, watch people, get some sun, see the sunset off the pier, walk Duvall St. Have a good time, and look at it as enforced rest. Once you get back, do some mid-effort intervals, and a long ride the next day, and you'll be fine.
Nope, keep the bike at home.bimini
Jan 8, 2004 11:50 AM
Hwy 1 down through the keys is a fantastic trip but the roads are narrow, packed full of traffic and all the tourist are gawking at the oceans and bikinis (or in key west the guys are eyeing the other guys thongs).

Not a friendly place to ride a road bike. Rent a Moped.

If you like to snorkel there is some really good reefs up around Key Largo. You have to go out on a dive or snorkel boat to see them (they are 5 miles offshore). You can also catch an all day boat to the Dry Tortugas out of Key West. Great snorkeling and beaches in the Tortugas.

I use to live in Florida for 4 years and we liked to go down to Keys for the diving and fishing, but not a place for a bicycle.

Key West has a lot of bars, clubs, artsy places, and lots of people (including a lot of very unique people). The upper keys are where to go if you like the ocean and ocean sports. When we went to the Keys we went to Key West for a day and then spent most of our time up around Islamarada chasing fish around (but we prefer that sort of thing).
Jan 8, 2004 12:20 PM
Thanks for your replies. Since I'm a pasty white Scottish type, the beach isn't really my thing but it does sound like a fun place. By the way, is it much of a place for big beaches. I somehow get the impression that it is more of a diving, snorkelling mecca than a big beach environment.
As far as beaches...Gator
Jan 8, 2004 2:00 PM
Key West is probably your best bet. I lived in Miami for more than 30 years, so I know the Keys pretty well. Most of the keys are very rocky and lined with mangroves. There are some nice beaches in the lower Keys,however, and Key West has several great beaches, including one in the old naval base.

Key West is a fascinating place, BTW. It's not very big, but it is PACKED, and every little street and alley can reveal some hidden gem. I like My Blue Heaven (a bit touristy now, though), Pepe's for brunch, The Bull on the otherwise awful Duval Street (although the bar atop the La Concha Hotel is wonderful at sunset) and the best bar on the planet, The Green Parrot--do NOT miss this place.

I've found the best thing to do is rent a scooter (mopeds can be tempermental) and ride all day. Be sure to check out the cemetery in the center of the island--there are some very interesting things to be found there, if you look closely.

And just in case you're still considering doing any cycling in the Keys, don't. Hear me loud and clear--it is EXTREMELY dangerous. The road are clogged with RVs and huge pickups trailering massive fishing rigs, with plently of people dying to pass them at 100+ mph. It is also notorius for drunk driving--EVERYONE in Miami knows someone who was killed in an accident down there.

One of my good friends in high school, and an excellent cyclist, was nicely dismembered by some drunken piece of white-trash crap while attempting to ride to Key West. Please don't let this happen to you.
re: Florida Keys for riding?TUT2222
Jan 8, 2004 5:56 PM
I agree with the others about the cruisers for Key West. If that is where you wind up, make sure to see the festivities at Mallory Square at sunset, it's rather interesting at times. Also, Irish Kevins bar is great for a laugh, but don't admit you are a tourist, if you don't want to get reamed a new one, :). I don't go to the beaches, since I live in Fl and get enough of the sun, but there is a clothing optional beach on the east end of Duval that may be something to check out. Lots of interesting bars and restaurants to check out all over.