Friday, January 24, 2014

To The Lighthouse

Looked at the hop-on hop-off bus tour - not for us.  But there were great road bikes for rent at Miami Beach Bicycle Center, two blocks from our hotel. Had shorts, bought jerseys and jackets and we were off! Should have bought chamois cream - more about that later.

"We want to ride for a couple of hours" we said.

"Go to the tip of Key Biscayne" he said.  "It's about 30 miles round trip."  True - if you don't get lost, and don't get on the freeway. Our trip was a bit longer, and he forgot to tell us we'd be riding thru downtown Miami - at rush hour.  

The Venetian Causeway goes from South Beach over several small islands - San Marco Island, Di Lido Island (or as Wally called it, Dildo Island) thru sleepy neighborhoods of tropical flowers and 50's era bungalows.  
And then it dumps you in downtown Miami.  Think Mid-town Manhattan meets recess time at the old folks' home and you'll get the idea.  
I'm getting my courage up.

We had to stop to ask for directions - our map had few street names.  It was a map for people who knew where they were going. That was not us.
We had to negotiate several chicanes.  In heavy traffic.  Car traffic.  But eventually we made it.  The bridge to Key Biscayne is also known as Mount Miami - highest point around.  Here we are on the summit:
no oxygen masks required.  But the bridge bounces like a boat when the cars go by...something you don't notice when you're on your bike.  Couldn't wait to get back on my bike, the bouncing was creepy.

There is a beautiful harbor:
and a funky only-in-Florida restaurant.  Most people arrive by boat.  We took the waiter's suggestion and had whole fried snapper...
Good, but there is a perfume-y taste to the oil used in so many restaurants, and you smell it walking past the alleys, when it's not at its best.  I think I'm off fried for a while.  Yes, me.  Still we managed to do the fish justice...
On the way home we missed a turn and ended up on I 95.  Not recommended.  Took the first possible exit and ended up in gridlocked traffic on the way to Coconut Grove.  In the fast lane. Kept looking for a place to turn left...I learned from looking at the map later that there are no places to turn left.  Ever.  But Wally found a pedestrian bridge, and eventually we made it home.

We had left Key Biscayne early to miss rush hour.  What we didn't realize is that rush hour in Miami takes place between lunch time and nap time.  All those people rushing home to take a nap. 

And the high-rise apartments.  Parking garages for old people.

Got home as it was getting dusk.  Rode about 40 miles, on not the most comfortable bike seat.  Taking a shower was painful.  Peeing is out of the question.  But I should be able to sit down soon - say in a week?

Note to self: always pack chamois cream.  

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