When it comes to cycling, South Florida gets a bad rap. In fact, it has one of the worst records in the country for bike/car crashes and fatalities.
"It's a reputation we're trying to change," says Sue Kawalerski, the coordinator of Miami-Dade County Parks' Bike305 initiative.
The Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Master Plan is a great starting point for that change.
"[The master plan] is a network of existing and proposed connected greenways and trails which will offer safety and protection for all types of cyclists", Kawalerski says. "It will totally separate cyclists from auto traffic.
"The good news is we currently have dozens of miles of greenways and trails built and ready to enjoy"
Before you hit the trails, make sure:
• Your bike is in proper working condition
• You have a helmet that fits properly and is not cracked, dented or too old (your helmet has a date on the inside. Helmets should be replaced every two to five years from that date because the materials in the helmet deteriorate over time and use
• You take 2 water bottles filled with water or an electrolyte-infused beverage like Gatorade and hydrate frequently during your ride
• You know the rules of the road & trail etiquette
• You know your route
• If you're riding with children, keep an eye on them at all times. They MUST wear bicycle helmets if they are 16 years of age or under, per Florida law.
South Florida weather allows cyclists to take advantage of our beautiful parks, beaches and outdoor attractions all year long. So, get out there
and become part of this healthy, active community!
Top 10 Bike Trails to get you started
The first 7 are all connected!
1. Rickenbacker Trail
Why not start with the best? The Rickenbacker Trail is the most widely used bike route in all of South Florida. Bike lanes provide access from mainland Miami to the Village of Key Biscayne on both sides of the Rickenbacker Causeway. Your ride takes you through Crandon Park & Beaches, ranked in the top 3 of Best Beaches in South Florida by USA Today. Along the way, the William Powell Bridge will get your heart rate going! It's the highest "hill" in Miami-Dade County!
2. Commodore Trail
The Rickenbacker Trail connects to the Commodore Trail which heads south thru Coconut Grove on the east side of South Miami Avenue, South Bayshore Drive, McFarland Avenue and Main Highway, Douglas and Edgewater Drive.
NOTE: You will encounter paved portions alongside the road with cyclists heading in both directions, and, a sidewalk thru downtown Coconut Grove: Please use caution here to avoid pedestrians, bistro tables and retail displays.
While it may be challenging in areas, this trail will take you to five parks, historic sites, schools and tree-canopied neighborhoods which give you a glimpse of "Old Florida". Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is on this trail.
3. Old Cutler Trail
The Commodore Trail connects to the Old Cutler Trail at Ingraham Park in Coral Gables. Follow this trail south for 13.5 miles under the fabled tree umbrella of Old Cutler Road past Matheson Hammock Park, Fairchild Tropical Garden, Pinecrest Gardens, and Deering Estate all the way to the Town of Cutler Bay.
NOTE: After Fairchild Tropical Garden you will cross Old Cutler Road and enter a gated residential area, Snapper Creek Lakes, where the trail cuts thru before traversing a small canal bridge to the continuation of the trail on Red Road, then Old Cutler (again) heading south.
The Old Cutler Trail has been re-paved over the past several years so you will have a smooth, well-marked pathway to your destination.
4. Biscayne Trail
The Old Cutler Trail connects to the Biscayne Trail at NW 87th Avenue & Old Cutler Road. Follow the wide paved trail on the southside of 87th to take you to Black Point Park and Marina. There is a restaurant and bathrooms and picnic tables for a nice waterside rest stop where you can often see manatees, pelicans and other seabirds.
5. Black Creek Trail
The Biscayne Trail connects to the Black Creek Trail after you turn right towards Black Point Park & Marina. You'll see signs just over the channel bridge to your right.
This is one of Miami-Dade County's newest trails running along the channel of the Black Creek where you will be immersed in a natural habitat for a variety of birds within a stone's throw from a residential and urban environment.
NOTE: Sorry about the smell: "Mount Trashmore", a county dump, looms over parts of this trail near Black Point Park.
The 8.5 mile trail crosses US1 just past a new bike/ped bridge and leads west (follow the signs) and north to nearby Larry & Penny Thompson Park and Zoo Miami.
6. South Dade Trail
The Black Creek Trail intersects with the South Dade Trail at US 1 & SW 117 Avenue (approx.) The South Dade Trail runs north-south alongside the South Miami-Dade Busway from the South Dadeland Metrorail Station to Florida City. It is a wide, paved sidewalk.
NOTE: Due to the high number of intersections, please remember to use caution, slow down when approaching, and watch for car traffic before crossing.
The more adventurous cyclists may choose to extend their trips by combining a bike ride on this trail with a ride on a bus or a metrorail car where bikes are permitted, free of charge.
7. The Underline (aka M-Path)
The South Dade Trail connects to The Underline at the South Dadeland Metrorail Station and heads north for a 10-mile paved pathway trip past the Brickell Metrorail Station to SW 8th Street in downtown Miami.
The Underline is at the beginning of a transformation into a linear park with separated lanes just for bicycles, and, will one day assist cyclists to cross intersections with safer infrastructure and lighting allowing for 24-hour freedom of mobility.
Attractions along the way include the University of Miami, Dadeland Shopping Mall, access to all retail, business & neighborhoods along the US1 corridor and Brickell Avenue, short distances to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens and the entrance to the Rickenbacker Causeway leading to Key Biscayne.
This trail is part of the East Coast Greenway which is a massive cross-country cycling venue stretching from Maine to Florida, currently under construction in the eastern seaboard states.
8. South Beach Trail
4.2 miles of paved trail with some areas of cobblestone and an interruption of a wooden beach boardwalk where bikes are prohibited. Lots of restaurants, shops, swaying palm trees and spectacular views of Biscayne Bay.
The trail stretches from the southernmost point of Miami Beach (southpoint pier) north to Indian Beach Park on 46th Street at Collins Boulevard.
NOTE: Past the busy stretch of Central South Beach, large segments of the trail turn into what is known as the Miami Beach Boardwalk, where bike riding is prohibited. Along the way, behind a series of buildings, are a few unfinished segments of trail; however, these segments quickly give way to paved pathway.
This trail is also known as the Atlantic Greenway.
9. Snake Creek Trail
This north Miami-Dade trail is an important transportation corridor, linking the municipalities of North Miami Beach to Miami Gardens, along the Snake Creek canal. The 6.5 miles of wide, paved, tree-shaded trail takes you past restaurants, schools, and workplaces and includes amenities like parks, picnic shelters and fitness stations.
Trailheads: South Glades Dr. & Miami Dr./N. Glades Dr. & NE 19th Ave. (North Miami Beach), and, NW 202nd St. & NW 15th Ave. (Norland)
NOTE: There is a low overpass at I-95 with steps leading down before the trail picks up on the other side. Please get off your bike and use caution passing below the overpass.
10. Eduardo Hernandez Memorial Trail
This 1.2 mile paved trail parallels SW 157th Avenue thru Kendall West. It is just north of Westwind Lakes Park and passes thru a residential neighborhood with a few food stops, stores and businesses along the way. It's proximity to parks and schools makes it a great way for children to commute via bicycle.
Trail Heads at: SW 157th Ave. and Bird Rd./SW 42nd St. and SW 157th Ave. and SW 59th Terrace.
March is Bike305 month in Miami-Dade kicked off by the annual Bike305 Bike to Work day. Go to Bike305.com for a full calendar of rides & events all year 'round.
Above content provided by Parks-Foundation of Miami-Dade and Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation
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