Monday, July 18, 2016

The Suburbs To The Sea Ride

We popped the bikes into our car's bike carrier and headed off for a Saturday ride with the West Side Sunset Bandits.

WSSB had posted its weekend ride schedule. We did a little happy dance when we saw it. A new route! And an early start, too, which in South Florida in the summer is a very good thing.

The new route was from West Kendall Lakes Park in the west Miami suburbs to Key Biscayne out in Biscayne Bay. An east west route, close to 50 miles. Suburbs to the Sea.

We arrived at the start point. After some pre-ride chatting and a picture or two, we clipped in, formed into a nice double paceline, and pedaled toward the glowing clouds in the eastern pre-dawn sky.

Pedal, pedal, pedal. The route was a nice one. Urban, but with long stretches without the stop-and-start of many urban routes. We moved along at a nice pace. Soon we were wheeling along streets of the close-in Miami suburbs.

We swung north as we rolled through the Grove. It was past dawn now and sunlight sparkled off the windows of high rise buildings. Traffic was blissfully light. We were heading for the William Powell Bridge and the Rickenbacker Causeway. That would take us across Biscayne Bay to the islands of Virginia Key and Key Biscayne.

Part-way up the bridge...and the top still seems far, far away.
Crossing the William Powell Bridge is fun. For flat land cyclists, the bridge seems like a fair-size mountain with the top of the bridge way high and far away. The group took the bridge well. Like any climb, those who love climbing looked happy as they charged over the bridge. Most of us, though, found our rhythm and rode up and over, pleased that we were keeping up with the pack. Then the best part: a fun descent down the bridge! Once everyone was over the bridge and on the Rickenbacker, we reformed and enjoyed the beautiful causeway ride out to the islands.
Out on the Rickenbacker (Photo by Alex Pruna)
Our destination on Key Biscayne was the Oasis Cafe, a favorite rest stop for cyclists visiting the Key. Living in Brickell, Al and I go there regularly, but this was the first time we were there with all our friends from WSSB.
At the Oasis Cafe (Photo by Alex Pruna)
West over the William Powell Bridge.
Break over, we rolled out for our ride back to West Kendall Lakes Park. We wheeled down the causeway. This time turning onto Virginia Key for a loop of that little island. Then back to the causeway and over the bridge to the mainland. We regrouped at the bottom of the bridge.

Heading back.
We pedaled on through the Grove. Our route gave us lots of canopy from the sun as we rolled down residential streets on our way west. It was a sweet urban route that kept the group on low-traffic roads but with few turns and a minimum of stops.

Pedal, pedal, pedal. Now we were heading west. There was more traffic, but the road was a good one for bicycles. And we had a tailwind. We were having a great time. There were long stretches of road where we could get into a good rhythm and enjoy the flow of the ride. Delightful.

Then we were pedaling the last miles to West Kendall Lakes Park. I looked at the time, pleasantly surprised that we had been to Key Biscayne and back, and it was just mid-morning. We were all smiling. What a great ride!

A good east-west cycling route through Miami is hard to come by. This one is outstanding.

Can't wait to do it again!