Thursday, January 19, 2012


We spent a couple of days in Miami. We went to the neighborhoods between the Rickenbacker Causeway (that leads to Key Biscayne) and the University of Miami.  This takes in parts of Coconut Grove and Coral Gables.

Miami has a decent system of bicycle routes and pathways. We contacted the city by email and had a current bicycle route map sent to us. The city is expanding its bicycle network, and it is making steady strides towards becoming a top bicycle city. At present it may still lack the comprehensive network of routes needed to be great, but it's climate and beauty give it a major edge on other bicycle friendly cities.

We checked into the Holiday Inn by the University of Miami. The desk was amused when we explained what the two large pieces of luggage were. They gave us advice about navigating the immediate neighborhood by bicycle. We started each day at a nearby coffee shop. I love where we live, but it is hard to get a decent coffee there. In Miami, expresso is everywhere. (Heaven.) We biked east through a warren of residential streets. There are lots of truly wonderful homes here. Some are elaborate gated affairs, others more humble dwellings. All have the most wonderful landscaping.

Creek in a residential neighborhood
At one point we rode over a tidal creek lined with boats.  Manatees swam lazily down the creek below us.

Bike path heading north
Eventually we left the quiet residential streets to follow paved a bike path that lead north. Besides us, there was a light assortment of walkers, joggers and other bicycles.

Trail marker
Chinese crested
The paths are reasonably well marked. Most of the route we followed was paved trail. In some areas we took routes that were marked bike lanes.  Our ride was punctuated by quiet city parks.  Most were pocket parks in residential neighborhoods, but several were larger affairs, especially those that adjoined creeks or Biscayne Bay. We stopped at a dog park to watch the dogs playing. We were fascinated by one dog and talked with his owner. She brought him over so we could meet him, a frisky Chinese Crested. He was a delightful dog--friendly, playful, and he actually pranced when he ran! My picture of him didn't come out, so the one in this post is one from the web that looked like him.

Coconut Grove
Eventually we biked into Coconut Grove.  The streets were lined with interesting small shops, restaurants and a few bars. A small state park (Barnacle) is located right downtown. It would have made a nice place for a lunch, but we pedalled on.

We meandered though quiet neighborhoods, passed gated communities, the Mercy Hospital complex, a half dozen schools and academies, churches and synagogues.  Finally we came to South Bayshore Drive and the parks and marinas that line that area. We spent a few minutes admiring the boats, of course.

The parks were pleasant. We chatted with three visitors who were trying to find a grocery store. They were backpackers from Africa. When we asked if it was it cold there, they said they couldn't say. "We follow the sun," one said with a smile. We couldn't help them, so we pedalled on. Two blocks further, we spotted a gourmet grocery. A bit more than the backpackers may have wanted, but miles closer than any other. So we doubled back, found them, and got them headed the right way. A few more words of passing conversation and we headed on enjoying the bayfront parks along the strip. In time we ended up back at the gourmet grocery for a late lunch. We ate our yogurt and sipped our bottled water sitting at one of the shaded tables set near the orchids, bromiliads, and other flowering plants for sale in front of the grocery. Office workers sat at nearby tables. We all watched the people carrying their groceries off to the marinas.

We cut inland and followed another bike route back to our motel.  A really super day.

Love Miami.