Tag Archives: Florida

A Biking New Years in Key West

By Richard Fox

Of all the places I’ve spent New Years, nothing tops Key West, Florida, the southernmost point in the continental USA and the western  tip of the coral cay archipelago off the southeast coast of Florida, accessible by one of the most scenic highways in the world, the 127-mile overseas highway. Accommodations can be expensive and we stayed in an RV Park (expensive as well) on the “other side of the tracks” – Stock Island – but just across a short bridge from the main island of Key West and its fabulous waterfront bike trails.

... and here's why.  Fabulous paved trails run along the waterfront throughout much of Key West, making for euphoric easy scenic cycling.
Fabulous paved trails run along the waterfront throughout much of Key West, making for euphoric easy scenic cycling, right from where we stayed on Stock Island.
Everyone gathers to watch the sunset from this southernmost point in the continental US. Besides sailing excursions, Key West has become a popular cruise ship stop. If your cruise stops here, make sure to rent a bike!
Everyone gathers to watch the sunset from this southernmost point in the continental US. Besides sailing excursions, Key West has become a popular cruise ship stop. If your cruise stops here, make sure to rent a bike!
The quaint town of Ernest Hemmingway meets Jimmy Buffett is very bike friendly.  Even though there's plenty of auto traffic, bikes and scooters outnumber cars in town.
The quaint town of Ernest Hemmingway meets Jimmy Buffett is very bike friendly. Even though there’s plenty of auto traffic, bikes and scooters outnumber cars in town.
When we went in 2008-9 , we had a choice of three New Year venues.  We chose the most colorful, covered by CNN (and we saw ourselves in the coverage): Drag queen Sushi is lowered down in a ruby slipper to mark the New Year.  The mixed crowd was very happy and partying in a relaxed Jimmy Buffett vibe, as opposed to a more sinister French Quarter way.  A Sarah Palin drag queen exclaimed "I can see Cuba from my house!"
When we went in 2008-9 , we had a choice of three New Years midnight venues. We chose the most colorful, covered by CNN (and we saw ourselves in the coverage): Drag queen Sushi is lowered down in a ruby slipper to mark the New Year. The mixed crowd was very happy and partying in a relaxed Jimmy Buffett vibe, as opposed to a more sinister French Quarter way. A Sarah Palin drag queen exclaimed “I can see Cuba from my house!”
And we started the new year in a relaxed, happy, Key West state of mind on our bikes, cycling to delicious restaurants in perfect weather.
And we started the new year in a relaxed, happy, Key West state of mind on our bikes, cycling to delicious restaurants in perfect weather.
And of course a ride to the monument for the southernmost point in the continental US.
And of course a ride to the monument for the southernmost point in the continental US.

 

Two Great Beach Rides on Each US Coast

It’s summer, the beaches are packed, and you can’t decide whether to hit the beach or go for a bike ride.  Well, you can do both on beaches where the sand is compact enough to support a comfortable ride.  Of course the off-seasons are best when the crowds are less, but these rides are doable any time of year.  Here I present four of my favorite beach rides, all  at beautiful locales where there are no paved trails adjacent to the beach.  On the west coast are Pismo Beach, California and Cannon Beach, Oregon.  On the east coast are Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and Daytona Beach, Florida.  If you have your own favorite beach ride, which should be at least 4 miles each way, please let me know!

Cannon Beach, Oregon. Even when most crowded, like here on July 4th, the wide beach is rideable...
CANNON BEACH, OREGON Even when most crowded, like here on July 4th, the wide beach is very rideable and the adjacent cute town is perfect for a post ride meal.
Even on crowded days you can find solitude along 5 miles of fabulous beach riding in Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Even on crowded days you can find solitude along 5 miles of fabulous beach riding in Cannon Beach, Oregon.
The firm sands of the Pismo Beach area support vehicles, however they are not allowed within the Pismo Beach city limits which much improves your lot.  Much longer rides are available if you're willing to ride farther afield alongside vehicles.
PISMO BEACH, CALIFORNIA The firm sands here support vehicles, however they are not allowed within the Pismo Beach city limits which much improves your lot. Much longer rides are available if you’re willing to ride farther afield alongside vehicles. Stop in for some famous clam chowder at Splash’s Cafe in town post ride, and see the migrating monarch butterflies at the state beach south of town in winter.
Miles of beautiful firm sand await at Hilton Head Island, a resort area in South Carolina.  Bike trails run along the main roads around town as well to transport you to your accommodation.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA Miles of beautiful firm sand await at this resort area famous for golf and tennis. Bike trails run along the main roads around town as well to transport you to your accommodation and the island’s restaurants.
I was skeptical about riding here because of the popularity of driving cars on the beach, however they are relegated to the high tide area leaving the nice firm low tide zone to bikes and beachgoers. Some sections are even off limits to cars but bikes can carry on.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA    I was skeptical about riding here because of the popularity of driving cars on the beach, however they are relegated to a sand road along the high tide area leaving the nice firm low tide zone to bikes and beachgoers. Some sections are even off-limits to cars but bikes can carry on. And of course there’s plenty of places to eat on the adjacent strip.