Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Ride across Miami
Miami Spring to North Miami (Oleta River State Park)
After a long day of riding yesterday, and entering the stressful (for cyclists) urban jungle that is Miami, we were a bit apprehensive for today. We spent a good while on Google maps last night carefully mapping out routes through the city. Amazingly, even though Miami is a large metropolitan area with year-round good weather, there are no organized bike maps, or bicycle travel routes in the city. Save for a few bike paths, and haphazardly placed bike lanes, the city is completely void of bike friendly infrastructure.
The 35 mile long route that we ended up mapping out avoided as many busy roads as possible and veered circuitously around the notorious bad neighborhoods. As the crow (or pigeon or flamingo, or what have you) flies, our destination was only 15 miles from our hotel. So, as you can see, we made considerable effort to make our route today as safe as possible.
We hung out at our hotel for awhile to avoid as much of the morning rush as possible, and then hit the streets around 10 am. Traffic was pretty mild compared to the evening rush yesterday, so far, so good. Our route had about 90 different cues, so we were constantly making turns and searching for the next road. This can actually make the time seem to go by faster as we have to be much more alert to not miss a turn.
After getting away from the airport, we were pleasantly surprised to find that our route was working out very well. The neighborhoods seemed very safe, and small children were even playing at the playgrounds. Well manicured lawns, plentiful shade trees, and expensive cars parked in front of each house gave us a feeling of comfort. Call us elitist, but we have found the well-to-do neighborhoods have safer drivers and less people yelling at us from the house or the lawn than the projects. We were looking to get through Miami without people drawing knives or guns on us, and we succeeded. We eventually connected up to the Metro-path, which is a decent multi-use path in Miami that is completely separated from cars. It was a nice change of pace, but the crossings at the major roads were not set up very well for path users. Miami has some work to do.
Eventually after riding across this large conglomeration of suburbs, towns and cities, we found our way to Biscayne bay and then Oleta River State Park. We had rented a cabin ahead of time, and we are glad we did. The cabin was totally adequate, and for just over $50 gave us a roof over our heads and air conditioning! A bargain down here. We cooked up a decent supper of macaroni and cheese and even had a little ice cream from the nearest corner store.
We will be glad to get completely out of Miami, but sad to see our trip end. Our time down here has really flown by.