Tag Archives: tours

George Merrick and his Castles of Spain

Florida is relatively a young place! It took foreign powers much longer to settle this land due to its vast wilderness and tribal peoples. When it was such that much of the wilderness was cleared away and the railroads were established all the way down to Key West, it was much easier for people to settle the land.

In October 1915, a man by the name of George Merrick was appointed to aid in the building of roads in South Florida, including major roads that later would connect to his most famous endeavor – a well-planned community named Coral Gables in Miami Dade county (one of the first planned communities in the country, in fact). Famous roads like South Dixie Highway (which is also known as US-1 and is the longest North to South road in the country), Tamiami Trail (which connects across the Everglades) among others.

Merrick’s fame comes from the planning and building of Coral Gables, however. He had a passion for aesthetics so he hired many well known architects of the day as well as landscape architects to help him carry out his vision of broad, tree-lined streets with major Spanish influences. “In a 1925 interview with the New York Times, Merrick commented: ‘Just how I came to utilize the Spanish type of architecture in Coral Gables, I can hardly say, except that it always seemed to me to be the only way houses should be built down there in those tropical surroundings.”‘

At only 6 miles away from our location at Bayside Marketplace, Coral Gables is definitely worth a ride over if you’re visiting Miami.

Charles Deering Estate

VIsit the Charles Deering Estate on bike!

VIsit the Charles Deering Estate on bike! (Photo from SouthFloridaFinds.com)

Located in Palmetto Bay, Fl (in the southern edges of Miami Dade County), one will find a surprising addition to the National Register of Historic Places. That’s right! In a city that is only about 121 years old, stands the Charles Deering Estate which was built by the Richmond family which opened it as an Inn. In 1901, it was known as the southern-most hostelry in the country. One of the earliest registers of the inn included names such as Henry Flagler and James Ingrahm, both of whom went on to pave the way for future settlers in South Florida – Henry Flager especially, known as he is for having built the Gold Coast Railroad down the length of the state at the end of the 19th century.

Charles Deering bought the cottage and moved into it in 1922. As per the attraction’s website, it is a 444-acre “environment, archaeological, and historic preserve” which makes up the largest virgin coastal hardwood hammock in the continental US.

The estate also includes what is perhaps the oldest burial mound in the country as well, with about 12-18 Native American burials; it’s been disturbed repeatedly in the last century or so but luckily the State of Florida acquired it and added it to the Charles Deering Estate Park.

All-in-all, a totally surprising – and refreshing – taste of history in southern Florida that most tourists would be delighted and encouraged to check out!

Self-Guided South Beach Bar Crawl!

Certainly there’s been more than a few articles written on South Beach bar crawls, but how many have actually been written by a former tour guide and local!

Tourists know Ocean Drive and the Versace Mansion, sure. They will definitely stumble onto the many restaurants that Lincoln Road has to offer, but for this article I’d like to focus on a part of town most visitors don’t venture into! And with good reason, it seems the posh community of South Beach decided to make it more isolated from the parties and the bus tours. I’m referring, of course, to the north west corner of Miami Beach near Maurice Gibb park, just north of the Venetian Causeway where you’ll find the following, hip bars for your own self-guided tour of Miami Beach’s locals-only bars:

Pubbelly
Self-proclaimed gastropub with a menu that is the epitome of Asian-fusion, the locale features an exposed brick wall as the backdrop of its tapas-like menu paired with craft, local beers. (Not veggie-friendly, by any means but if you like seafood that isn’t so kitschy, you may be in luck.)

Located: 1418 20th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139. If you walk just one block south, you’ll find….

Beer and Burger Joint
B&B, as it is lovingly called in the state of Florida (and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico where it can also be found), is known for its expansive burger menu — even catering to the vegetable-friendly pals in our groups! They also offer a make-your-own-burger option (they also feature a $125 burger “the size of a manhole” — free if you can finish it!) as well as their notorious adult milkshakes (liquor and all). Of course they recommend specific craft beers to go along with each! This writer’s personal favorite beer-related item on the menu is their craft beer sampler which comes in a small wire-frame pyramid of small beer steins!

Located: 1766 Bay Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139. Right around the corner, you’ll also stumble onto…

The Purdy Lounge

With floral patterned couches that are reminiscent of granny’s house and an array of lava lamps behind the stage, the Purdy Lounge is probably’s South Beach’s best kept secret when it comes to chill venues, actually worthy of the title “lounge”. They have live music on certain nights (Reggae night is Mondays!) And though the prices reflect the city, it’s a low-key place to grab a beer, thus concluding a short though thorough beer tour of an area tourists do not regularly experience in South Beach!

Located: 1811 Purdy Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

The Venetian Causeway: Cyclist’s Gateway to Miami

venetian-causewayMiami Beach — known for its soft sands and sunny views, a barrier island at origin is one of the most desirable destinations of South Florida. As such, one can see the need for all the bridges from the mainland ! In total there are about 5 bridges which connect mainland Miami Dade County to Miami Beach and its neighboring towns (like North Miami Beach, Bal Harbor, Surfside…).

As a cyclist there are many wants to bike by the views and our favorite causeway for this is the Venetian Causeway! A little history on the Venetian Causeway which was originally built in 1913. Back then though, it was originally called Collins Bridge — for one of the founders John Collins. Creating this bridge raised the population of Miami Beach about 400% after it’s construction. The development was unprecedented and uniquely fast considering the times.

The islands which maintain the causeway – the Venetian Islands – are composed of six islands, all but one of which were man-made just to hold the causeway!

The causeway’s bicycle path is one of the best maintained in the area and although a cyclist these days cannot travel all the way across (due to construction) it still makes for a great ride – especially at dusk and dawn!

After biking it many a time, locals will agree that the beauty in the post-card above still stands true today.

Source for postcard: https://belleisleblog.wordpress.com/

Virginia Key Mountain Bike Trail

Virginia Key Mountain Bike

In Miami, even if you’re a regular cyclist you may not be aware of all the different bike paths and trails available. This week we’d like to focus on the mountain bike trail one will find on Virginia Key!

Virginia Key was, for a very long time, uninhabited but in the early 20th century started to be cultivated as an idyllic beach and park landscape (in fact, it still is today!) Most of the city of Miami really gained momentum in the roaring ’20s, only 25 or so years after the establishment of the city of Miami.

The park is open 7 days a week and offers three different paths based on skill level. The best part is that there’s so much relaxing to do in this area, all within biking distance. If you take the recently renovated bike path on the Rickenbacker Causeway, just a few meters away is Hobie Beach – the only dog beach in the area! As well as Bill Baggs State Park which is located at the very southernmost point of Key Biscayne – the island adjacent to Virginia Key and which is home to the oldest structure in Florida – the Cape Florida Lighthouse. With the temperature’s rising, it’s only a matter of time till we’re all scrambling for outdoor activities.

Multitasking Wednesday: Try out your Spanish while you read up on our bike tours

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Hooray! Congratulations Bike and Roll! We’ve gone international! Our friends in Argentina over at Miami Chic – Solo Para Nosotras have written about our coveted Miami Beach Bike Tour!

Ale Velardo at Miami Chic has written various articles on Miami Beach and the different activities you can find, like visiting the farmer’s market and antique market on Lincoln Road each Sunday, going to the more historic Coconut Grove, spending some time at any one of the various chic outdoor malls in the area as well, and of course, best for last: taking a tour of Miami Beach on our wonderful bicycles.

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Art Deco Tours: See the Architectural Marvel of Miami Beach

The Berkeley Shore Hotel, Miami Beach, Florida

The Berkeley Shore

The Sanctuary, Miami Beach, Florida

The Sanctuary

Miami Beach is known for its sunshine, crystal blue beaches, palm trees and the Miami Heat!

But to the architecturally savvy (and perhaps to that crowd who watched Miami Vice once upon a time), Miami Beach is extremely well known for its vast array of cozy, pastel-colored buildings which compose its historic Art Deco district.

Miami Beach is a young city, turning 100 years young in 2015 –so the Art Deco which dates back to the 1920-30s is just about the most ancient thing on the island! It’s extremely treasured since it is a major component of that laid-back, cozy vibe for which Miami Beach is notorious.

Art Deco, originally a French style originating in 1925, is inspired by the wanderlust of the Roaring 1920’s; as it was the golden age of industrial travel then, Art Deco is influenced by trains and as is most especially seen in Miami Beach, by ships. Thus, as you are biking or Segwaying around Miami Beach you will notice the patterns: the rounded edges of many buildings, the circular, port-hole windows, and the variation in façade heights to simulate the toppling presence of ocean-liners. The many pastel colors are inspired by the color schemes the travelers of this time noted throughout the world’s vast arts and cultures.

What makes Bike and Roll significant is that not only do we give tours of the area; we are also extremely conveniently located in the district itself – with not one but two different locations! Whether you grab a tried-and-true bicycle or book a tour on the not-so-common and incredibly fun Segway, you can take a ride around the Art Deco district till you count down to our golden sunset and watch the buildings come alive at night when they proudly light up in dazzling neon schemes that give Miami Beach a wholly different identity.

Discovering Key Biscayne

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Most people visit us to tour Miami Beach, but what so many people don’t know is that there are
great rides outside of the city too!

Miami is the epicenter, but surrounding us are all these other sweet little hidden gems most Miami visitors seldom see; a key example of this is that of Key Biscayne. Bike and Roll has you covered! That’s why we are one of the few bike rental companies in Miami that actually offers guided and self guided bike tours of Key Biscayne.

Oh? You’ve never heard of Key Biscayne?/

Maybe you’ve never heard of the Sony Open either (it’s one of the largest high-profile sports event and sells out each March).

Maybe you’ve heard of Richard Nixon? Our former president used to vacation on Key
Biscayne on what used to be a coconut plantation which used to have over 76,000 palms on its
estate.

Maybe the best reason to decide to bike to Key Biscayne, whether it be with one of our fantastic
Miami know-it-all guides or with some of our rental bikes on a self-guided tour is for the
stunning views and the beautiful lighthouse (the Cape Florida Lighthouse).

Key Biscayne also boasts one of the top 10 beaches in the country! Pack up your towel, come by,
Bike and Roll Miami will take are of you. Call us now to book or inquire about our other bike and Segway tours: (305)-604-0001!