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.
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.
Just kidding. Miami is not the same thing as Little Havana, despite the record-breaking Cuban population living here! There is, however, a mini Cuba away from Cuba in Miami, a district called Little Havana, or La Pequeña Habana in Miami, which is swiftly growing in popularity for tourists and locals alike.
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Here’s a list of 10 things you can try in Miami and Miami Beach that are extremely accessible via bicycle!:
- Wynwood Artwalk – Wynwood used to be a dingy warehouse area but since 2008, it’s been converted into a massive outdoor street art gallery. The first Saturday of every month, the plethora of galleries in the area stay open later, offer wine and invite special musical performers to join the masses. (We love Wynwood – we even offer a bike tour of the area!)
- SoundScape Cinema Series – Our bike rental shop is a block away from the famed Frank Ghery building, The New World Symphony, on South Beach which offers a movie night every Wednesday at 8PM. Sit on the grass, watch a classic (they love to air Hitchcocks) or a more modern film (this week they showed Maleficent) with some friends and some wine (some people would say they’re one and the same).
- Group bike ride – The largest and most well-known is Critical Mass the last Friday of each month, but there’s also Magic Mondays at 9PM from University Metrorail station, there’s Wednesday Night Ride that leaves at 8PM from the Omni Station in downtown and ever Sunday like clockwork you can creepily join any one of the dozens of local pelotons as they ride down to the very scenic Key Biscayne.
- Check out a farmer’s market – Miami Beach has two – one on Lincoln Road and one on Normandy Drive every Sunday and Saturday respectively. Brickell’s market at Mary Brickell Village offers ceviche and fresh stone crab on Friday mornings!
- Jazz Night at Churchill’s – Every Monday night the infamous Churchill’s, a grimey-but-great live music pub offers a selection of jazz musicians in the front and open-mic in the back.
- Word & Wine – Another add to the open-mic list, located at Wynwood’s TSL Lounge, the name says it all.
- Watch an independent movie – Try O’Cinema Theater (Wynwood, Miami Shores and now Miami Beach) or South Beach’s Cinematheque on 13th street and Washington ave for a movie you have hopefully never heard of!
- Free Friday Nights at the Wolfsonian Museum – Could “free” get any better? Our bike rental shop is conveniently located around the corner from this student staffed museum. Borrow a bike for the day and then check it out!
- Watch people on the Promenade – The character of Miami is well-seen in its residents and visitors alike. Watch the weirdos and the beautiful people stroll up and down South Beach’s promenade be it on rollerblades, bicycles, skateboards and the occasional Segway.
- Miami River Segway Tour – Don’t pretend you didn’t expect us to self-promote! Our Segway tours are most prominent on South Beach (Art Deco Segway tour and Segways at Sunrise/Sunset) but the wonderful thing about the Miami River Segway tour is that it explores an area of Miami which explains our city’s nickname, The Magic City, best. Downtown Miami and Brickell as archaeological risk zones offer a magnitude of sights from towering sky-scrapers to thousands years old digging sites to the house of the first Miami doctor circa 1903.