I bike my kids to school throughout the year for the exercise and because the terrain is flat and the weather balmy. I recommend sticking to sidewalks, bike paths or bike lanes where available. Native Miami drivers tend to be distracted and aggressive and the tourists tend to be bewildered—neither is good news for cyclists in the street.
Despite that, biking is a great way to experience Miami’s neighborhoods and maritime vistas. Rental companies accommodate riders of all ages. Their mapped out routes cruise past unique architecture and nature. It’s best to cycle early or late in the day and in the shade to avoid those strong Florida rays. Always remember to wear a helmet when cycling and wear sunscreen. Ask the bike rental store where to find yummy tropical batidos (milk shakes) to rehydrate.
Miami Beach’s landscaped and carless South Point Park and the paved beach-side path along South Beach ’s Ocean Drive are two of the most scenic and fun places to bike. Among the bike rental companies are The Miami Beach Bicycle Center and Bike and Roll, which offers four guided and three self-guided tours including a South Beach art deco architecture tour.
My husband and I took the Bike and Roll tour without the kids. Had it not been summer, I think I might have considered bringing my kids along. But the company is new in Miami and while the other (childless) couple on the tour seemed to like the tour, I wasn’t too impressed with the information or delivery. I like to think they are working out the kinks.
Biking Through Nature
The island of Key Biscayne is one of the most bicycle friendly places to toodle around on two wheels. The village is full of calm streets. Its charming village green park with playground and dedicated bike lanes explains why that’s the place we see the most kids on bikes in Miami . Mangrove Cycles offers tours of the island and Cape Florida State Park or you can rent a bike from them, grab a map and go on your own. It’s a fun way to get to know the island and nature up-close. You can check out the county’s trails at Crandon Beach Park on your own.
My boys are 5 and 7 and can only take about a half-an-hour on a bike. Families with kids who have longer attention spans and are very confident on a bike should look into tours that explore Miami’s wild natural side. The Miami Dade Parks and Recreation Department offers several bike tours, including an Eco-Adventure program that lets school-age kids ride dirt trails amid mangroves, a lighthouse, ocean and bay views along the barrier island that is Key Biscayne and its Bear Cut Preserve as well as another tour that heads to the Everglades in search of alligators, wading birds and otters. At the Oleta River State Park in North Miami, bicycle tours led by staffers at the Blue Moon Outdoor Center cover miles of off-road bicycle trails, mangrove forests and native plants and animals. Both organizations also rent kayaks and canoes for water sports enthusiasts. These all look really fun for outdoorsy types who like to connect with nature and get muddy.
Dina Weinstein is a Miami transplant who was born in Boston and most recently lived in Chicago . She’s made Coral Gables home with her husband and two boys. They love exploring their adopted city.