The most pleasant rides involve avoiding heavy traffic on major roads and heavy activity centers. Views, bush land, rivers, oceans or gardens are all factors to consider when planning a pleasant ride. Many bike paths in Miami are built with this in mind.
With the totally fantastic weather we've been having lately, there's no better time than now to pump up those tires and wipe the dust off that helmet, don't let the angry local drivers keep you from freewheeling. Here is an extensive list of some of the best South Florida's spots to put two wheels down. You should try them all:
Oleta State Park
Ten miles of intermediate bike trails will challenge the most adventurous of riders. Treacherous labyrinths entertain and burn calories for hours and the trickier the trail, the more vivacious the surroundings become. One word of caution: Routes aren’t clearly set and one can mistakenly go into the black expert zone and flip over a bridge.
This 2.7 miles route, kicks off at the southernmost end of the longer Old Cutler Trail, and weaves its way through residential neighborhoods and tree shaded streets.
Bring a bike with you to Virginia Key: there are no rentals available at the first stop on the eight-mile long Rickenbacker Trail. Off the beaten path mountain trails are novice-friendly and picturesque to keep both your eyes and feet amused. Then, head through Crandon Park and end up at Bill Baggs State Park, where you can bike around the lighthouse and maybe even spot a manatee coasting along the seashore trail.
Black Creek Trail
This nearly 9 mile paved path runs between Black Point Park and Marina and Larry and Penny Thompson Park, by the Miami Metro Zoo. If you're into a longer ride, it also connects to Old Cutler Trail and Biscayne Trail. You can even be on the hunt for manatees, alligators, and birds along the Biscayne Bay stretch.
Amelia Earhart Park
Where you’re going, you don’t need roads, or at least not paved roads. Amelia Earhart Park spans eight miles of unpaved roads for all levels of riders. Be sure to bring your hot wheels and perhaps most important, a helmet, since they won’t let you ride here without one.
This easy-peasy three-mile trail takes a nice tour of the Miami Gardens area, cruising by Greynolds Park, Snake Creek Park, Shenkenberger Park and near the Spanish Monastery Gardens, a place worth a minor detour.
South Beach Boardwalk
It’s not a real Miami experience without renting a Deco Bike and pedaling along the South Pointe Park’s paved walkway, which has 360-degree views of the ocean. Early morning riders will get a nice worm with donation yoga every morning at 7am on Third and Ocean Drive. Sunset wheeling is just as sweet.
Old Cutler Trail
This tree canopied trail winds its way through some of the most picturesque parts of Coral Gables, from beneath the banyans on Old Cutler to the ins and outs of Matheson Hammock Park (bike through for a stunning view of Biscayne Bay). Eleven miles long, the ride is a bit bumpy (what with tree roots and all), so it's best for a leisurely pace.
You can cruise through the Everglades on a 15 mile paved road that sometimes features alligators as pedestrians. For a bird’s eye view of the ecological surroundings and wildlife, stop and steal a view from the observation tower. A well-kept secret, Shark Valley is typically uninhabited, so it’s great for families and group rides. Just bring water, sunscreen and good energy.
This trail takes you on a breezy, lush ride through some of Miami's loveliest areas, from South Miami Avenue to Bayshore Drive, down Main Highway and Douglas Road. It pops by the Museum of Science, Vizcaya, Kennedy Park and Peacock Park, and offers an excellent five-mile survey of Coconut Grove's historic charm.
South Pointe Park
With a 360 degree view of the gorgeous, glittering Atlantic, you'll be hard pressed to find another cycling spot as charming. Bring your own wheels or rent a Deco Bike. Cruise along the water and be thankful (for once) you live where other people vacation.