Best Places To Ride Your Road Bike In South Florida
By Michael G.
BEST PLACES TO RIDE YOUR ROAD BIKE IN SOUTH FLORIDA
Road cycling in South Florida is a world of its own!
Road cycling in South Florida is unique and, unless you have experience riding a road bike here, it is difficult to imagine the scope of the entire experience itself. What makes it unique and what determines a “best place” to road ride here? Well, unlike anywhere I’ve lived and have ridden road bikes, such as in Rocky Mountains or the Sierra Nevada, when it comes to road cycling, let alone all genres of cycling, South Florida is a completely new cycling experience strewn with beautifully paved roads offering delightful coastal scenery with lengthy bridges and spans dishing out actual elevation gains! There are “traffic seasons” in the Sunshine State, and knowing when traffic is the busiest helps determine when, and where, you might choose to ride.
An average of 230 days of sunshine coats South Florida with a sweltering heat we enjoy each year. Copious amounts of tropical South Florida rainfall is almost as common as the humidity and sunshine. Adding to the small amount of elevation some of the larger bridges and spans offer, along with sunshine and heavy rainfall, the mountains of wind you will encounter in South Florida are noteworthy and, dare I say, relentless.
“Should I ride from home or drive to the start of the ride?”
Most experienced road cyclists would agree: starting your road ride straight out of your house heading down your driveway is fantastic and about as good as it gets. Upon learning from my discussions with fellow road riders, we (mostly) seem to prefer kitting up and pedaling away from the convenience of home after our morning’s freshly brewed coffee and (almost) ritualistic preparation.
Riding from home toward your well-known, local, safe, fun route is hard to beat, yet not everyone has that luxury. However, even if you do have a driveway to roll down, your favorite road ride in South Florida may start an hour’s drive from home and with limits to the amount of time in the day, you may need to drive to the start of the best places to ride in South Florida. Isn’t this fun? Let’s ride!!
We all have our preferences about what determines where the “best places” to ride your road bike in South Florida may be. We can debate what makes it “the best” or where that road ride may be, yet I would bet my perfectly fitting saddle that we can agree on the fact that no matter where you are riding your bike…right then and right there is the best place! I live near the Atlantic coast, in Palm Beach County, so let’s start our adventure with the best places to road ride in that region. The 3-foot rule applies to all of Florida’s roads.
Palm Beach County
Sandwiched by five surrounding counties, Palm Beach County, is a populated county with over 3,300 miles of paved roads and nearly 190 miles of asphalt pathways including 47 miles of coastline from its southern county line at Broward County heading north to Martin County. There are inland roads heading west approximately 10 miles from the coast to the Everglades. Hendry, Okeechobee, and Glades Counties wrap around Palm Beach County where you will encounter wildlife such as alligators, deer, wild pigs, snakes, and so many birds your head will spin.
“A1A” or “State Road A1A (SR A1A)”
In Palm Beach County, also continuing south into Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, will be our focus. This roadway is mostly a two-lane, 35 mph highway following Florida’s gorgeous beaches and coastline. Many prefer to ride A1A because of the lower car speeds and because it is only two lanes. At times, A1A can seem daunting with very little roadside, or “bike lane” to ride on. Fortunately, most drawbridges allow cyclists to use the entire lane and there are plenty of “Share The Road” signs warning drivers of your presence on the road.
There are several weekly training rides and club rides nearly daily on A1A to satisfy professional riders and beginners alike.The BocaTour is a Tuesday/Thursday ride that attracts A+ riders from all over the globe!
Depending on where you are in the area, there aren’t as many stoplights and intersections on A1A as there may be on busier inland roads. Cities such as Boca Raton, home of yours truly: Cycle Limited, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, and Lake Worth are along much of the more popular stretches of A1A where you will encounter fellow riders. Water stops and areas to take a break for you or your group are along the beaches so keep your eyes peeled if you’re thirsty.
Elevated, lengthy bridges and large spans over waterways offer adept climbers plenty of difficulty if speed is your strategy. The bridges will work you in the wind, too, so prepare for your haul back the other direction later in the day!
The Marcinski Road and A1A (Ocean Blvd) beginning from Carlin Park in Jupiter, FL every Sunday is a desirable A+ road ride. You never know who’ll show up for this ride but count on it being fast!
Some of the more known routes along A1A in Palm Beach County begin from Boca Raton and head north to the Lake Worth Inlet, commonly called the Palm Beach Inlet, for photos taken on the dock and a water refill refreshment and then head south with, hopefully, a nice tailwind. Should you intend on heading farther north beyond Jupiter, Florida to Hobe Sound, you will ride on Jupiter Island once over the Jupiter Inlet at the scenic lighthouse. You will be exiting A1A and entering US Highway 1, oftentimes the same actual road, a few different times, so it is good to pay attention to maps or your computer if you aren’t sure about what road on which you may be riding.
For more organized and group ride information visit The Miami Bike Scene
What comes to mind when you, or most people, think about Broward County? How could anyone not immediately consider Fort Lauderdale? From the southern border of Boca Raton to Hollywood heading south, to the inland cities of Coral Springs and Weston, Sunrise, and the coastal area surrounding Pompano Beach, the best places to ride road bikes in this area still may be on the coast.
There is no doubt there are many other superb roads and routes to ride inland. Highway 84 near Weston is a popular area to ride, as are the many boulevards and arterials east of the Everglades. A1A still may be the most ridden roadway in Broward County along Fort Lauderdale Beach.
For more organized and group ride information visit The Miami Bike Scene.
Much of the road riding in the Miami-Dade area is coastal and includes A1A, Collins Avenue, the many spans and bridges over and across waterways as well as the many inland neighborhoods that seem endless when you’re down in the heart of Miami. Riding over the Rickenbacker Causeway on State Road 913 to Key Biscayne is a popular road route as well. U.S. Route 1, or U.S. Highway 1, from A1A heading south (all the way) to Key West is another popular route. There are plenty of areas to refill your water, eat and relax. Or, if you prefer to hammer away on the pedals to your heart’s delight until you’ve reached your north or southbound destination, this roadway is surely one of the best places to ride your road bike in South Florida! It’s a long, windy, warm ride and the encounters you’ll experience along the way will be memorable and exciting.
For more detailed local and group ride information visit The Miami Bike Scene.
Michael’s favorite South Florida road ride: BocaTour
Begins in Boca Raton at Spanish River Blvd and heads north on A1A to South Palm Beach/East Ocean Ave then turns around in the Ice Cream Club parking lot and returns southbound to Spanish River Blvd.
Distance: 27.48 miles