Local Bike Trail Maps And Safety
Tips For Bicycling Florida Keys
Bicycling Florida Keys is perhaps one of the most "hands on" ways you can experience this beautiful chain of islands on your vacation to the Florida Keys.
Nothing separates you from the nature that surrounds you.
You can hear the ocean and the birds, smell the fresh sea air, and feel the caress of the wind upon your face.
As your legs rhythmically pedal you along the bike trail through bustling centers, over multiple bridges, past tiny key deer and palm lined shores, you're able to get a true sense of the Florida Keys.
The bike route you'll be traveling on is called the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. This ambitious project is scheduled for completion in 2019 or 2020, and the bike trail starts about one hour south of Miami.
Bicyclists On One Of the Many Local Bike Trails
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Department of Commerce Collection
The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail official begins at Mile Marker 106 in Key Largo and ends at
Mile Marker 0 in historic Key West FL. The 106.5 mile bike path travels
alongside US Highway 1, the Overseas Highway with the completed legs
being paved bike trails, and the unfinished sections a blend of dirt
Bike Trail Maps
When bicycling Florida Keys, you'll
quickly discover that the Heritage Trail is more than just a means of
getting from A to B.
It's a chance to see and experience the wonders and
beauty of the region. Along the way you'll even be able to stop
at popular Florida Keys attractions, points of interest, Wildlife Refuges, and State Parks.
This overview of the bike trail maps
out the different stopping off points and Florida Keys things to do and do on your bike vacation.
An important bike safety tip is that the Heritage Trail is not just for bicycling Florida Keys. It's designated as a recreational trail, so you'll encounter people power walking, jogging, rollerblading, even strolling with pets and children.
The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail consists of many different legs, plus side bike trails which connect to it, making it possible to explore even more of the area when bicycling Florida Keys.
Biking Trail Under Construction on Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection
Bike Route Dangers To Be Aware Of
Anyone who's been on a Florida Keys vacation knows that traveling through these tiny islands can be a testy challenge for motorists. Much of the highway is two lane only. A left hand turn is something you only dream about, rarely is it a reality.
When bicycling Florida Keys you'll find that part of the Heritage Trail also includes a portion of the bridge system which connects the Florida Keys. While traversing the bridges you'll need to watch for fishermen and people launching small boats, canoes, and kayaks.
Always remember that even though you see them, it's quite possible that they don't see you. If you remember this, you and those around you, will stay safer.
Biking The Florida Keys
Often the roads are narrow, and have minimal to no shoulders. Many of the people on the road are tourists or seniors and neither are in a hurry.
These motorists tend to change their mind about where they're going, and will turn without warning, or rapidly veer to avoid their turn all together.
When you factor in cell phones, colorful birds along the roadway, spectacular ocean views, and an assortment of small animals such as key deer, you have a recipe for multiple motorist distractions.
And then there's you.
For anyone cycling, these realities of the road can translate into dangerous safety hazards. Bicyclists are difficult to see at best. Bicyclists who don't obey the rules of the road compound the danger. This link to the Florida Bicycle Association provides important bike safety tips
and up to date information on laws directly related to you as a bicyclist.
If you're traveling in an area where the Heritage Trail hasn't yet been completed, you'll be in a bike lane, on a sidewalk, on the shoulder, or even on the roadway itself. In some cases, the latter two are basically one and the same, as the shoulders are often narrow to non-existent.
The Florida Keys Bike Trail Meanders Through Different Settings
Under these circumstances you need to be aware of your surroundings, and completely mindful of the rules of the road.
You'll be dealing with some rather constrained circumstances, where confused or frustrated motorists abound.
Even where the biking trail is more private, you're responsible for your own bike safety, so you should always consider wearing a helmet, colorful clothing so you're more visible, and do whatever else you need to, to protect yourself.
You also need to know that you're traveling through an area that's prone to intense sun, and high humidity. You'll want to make sure you have plenty of sun screen, a good pair of polarized sunglasses,
drinking water, and mosquito repellant. You'll also want to include a camera, and if you have the space, a pair of binoculars will come in handy.
Where To Stay On Your Biking Vacation
Since the islands are small, you'll find that the bicycle routes are never far from important amenities, including food, shelter or Florida Keys campgrounds.
Many of the State Parks, along with private campgrounds will have tent space available, or you can choose from many lodging options in the different areas.
Below are links to the different regions and the different types of Florida Keys lodging available.
You'll find descriptive listings of all the Florida Keys lodging and each accommodation listing links to a TripAdvisor page where you can read reviews, and get additional information to help plan your Florida Keys vacation.
No matter where you choose to go on your bike vacation, how many detours you make, or how many hours you ride a day, you'll find bicycling Florida Keys will be a very intimate and personal experience.
Biking Trail at Sunset
It's compact size, the near perfect Florida weather, spectacular surroundings and numerous attractions provide just the right measure of distraction for even the most avid adventurer bicycling Florida Keys.
So take the time to pull off the road, seek out that "barely there path", and start your version of a Florida Keys vacation.