PART II >
South Florida Odyssey
PART I: Ft. Lauderdale to Florida City
Cycling through the glitz; Ft. Lauderdale to Miami & a skinny dip opportunity
by Dale V. Lally, Jr.
This route begins just south of the Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood airport at the intersection of Griffin Road and US 1 and ends at the intersection of Palm Drive & US 1 in Florida City. There is an optional side trip to the Room at the Inn B&B in Homestead (see Segment #3).
The route generally follows A1A through the beach communities of Dania, Golden Beach, Bal Harbour & Surfside. Marked bike lanes and sidewalks, heavy police presence, low speed limits, and constant construction sites together tend to slow down the pace of life and thus provide a partial haven from the normally heavy traffic that can be even more burdened during the height of the tourist season.
Riders navigating through this area must exercise enhanced safety precautions,—not the least of which is to be very visible—use a rearview mirror and wear a helmet.
With few exceptions, the route switches to lower density side roads south of 96th St in Bal Harbour. Using the Venetian Causeway, the sidewalks in front of Bayfront park and along the 2nd Ave bridge vastly simplify travel through downtown Miami.
South of the 2nd Ave bridge, parallel back roads continue to provide a haven from the heavy traffic. Between Coconut Grove and Florida City riders will encounter almost constant bike paths or back roads with little traffic.
Note that the road research was done between 1999 and late 2002. However, due to constant construction and changing traffic patterns, riders must be prepared to seek alternatives such as riding on sidewalks (but riding the sidewalk is illegal in Bal Harbour) or walking around construction sites.
The reward for this effort is the opportunity to ride through beautiful neighborhoods along tree shaded bike paths.
This tour has been divided into three segments: 1) Ft Lauderdale airport to the 2nd Ave bridge in Miami; 2) the 2nd Ave bridge to the Snapper Creek pedestrian bridge; & 3) the Snapper Creek pedestrian bridge to Florida City for a grand total of 70 miles.
Segment #1 Ft Lauderdale airport to SE 2nd Ave bridge in Miami (27 mi.)
If you ever wanted to skinny dip—legally— the opportunity lies just nine miles south of Dania Beach, just south of Bayview Drive.
Immensely popular Haulover Beach has a clothing-optional section that extends from just south of Bayview Dr for about 0.4 miles.
Regardless of whether skinny dipping is your thing, there is a pleasant bike path that extends the length of the beach just to the left of US A1A.
Be prepared for some fantastic photography moments while passing over the Venetian Causeway at mile 22.5. The view of the sailboats and cruise ships to the south is on of the high points of this tour.
Due to the extremely heavy traffic volume on US 1, prudence dictates that cyclists get onto the extra wide sidewalk that passes in front of the Bayfront Park just to the east of US 1 and remain on the sidewalk all the way around to and beyond the SE 2nd Ave bridge. This vastly simplifies dealing with the heavy traffic.
Segment #2 2nd Ave bridge to Snapper Creek pedestrian bridge (12 mi.)
At about 11 miles into this segment (38 miles total) you will encounter a gated community.
We were informed that these are public roads and the public is permitted access. But that doesn’t mean the gate will be open. Should access be denied, continue southbound on Old Cutler Rd for 1 mile and turn left at the T intersection with Red Road.
Segment #3 Snapper Creek Pedestrian bridge to Florida City (31 mi.)
About 10 miles south on Old Cutler Road from the starting point of this segment, a left turn onto SW 87 Ave will take you to the Room at the Inn Bed & Breakfast in (very rural) homestead. The B&B is located at 15830 SW 240th St. Look for the blue bike out at the road. It’s a house with a huge metal fence and gates at each end of a circular driveway.
Since this route passes through one of North America's prime tourist destinations, accommodations range from the simple to the sublime. The most economical accommodations can be found at the youth hostels located in Miami & Florida City.
Travelers seeking a bit of pampering without buying the room should consider the Room at the Inn B&B in Homestead. There are also at least two campgrounds in Florida City. The Southern Comfort campground is located on the southeast quadrant of the intersection of Palm Drive & US 1. The Everglades International hostel is located about half a mile west of US 1 & Palm Ave.
PART II >
Outdoors writer Dale Lally began commuting to work at Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1970. Since then he cycled over 100,000 miles touring throughout North America & Europe and cycled the Ft Lauderdale to Key West route on at least four occasions. During research for his books, he rode a Specialized Expedition touring bike. Dale passed away in July 2004 while attending the Tour de France.