By Paul Rouse
Today’s ride presented several different environments that challenged our bike riding and navigation skills.
We left our host church in Hollywood and made our way east and then south. Soon we switched over from streets to a bike trail along the beach. Our first rest stop was on the other side of the paralleling road, but fortunately there was a pedestrian underpass to get over there and back.
Not long after leaving the rest stop, we were back on streets for a while. As we approached Miami, we switched back onto the beach trail. But by now it was much busier, with many pedestrians, runners, dogs and other bikers. It tested our riding skills to navigate between all of these without hitting anyone — but I’m happy to say we all passed the test.
We headed west across a series of islands just north of the Miami harbor. It was a beautiful ride, with little traffic and beautiful views of cruise ships and tall high-rises. We faced our next challenge as we threw ourselves into downtown traffic. Streets with 3-4 lanes both ways, cars, trucks and buses, and a number of turns to make. The streets were full, but the good news is traffic was moving slowly so it was a little easier to navigate than it could have been.
We all made it safely through and got onto a bike trail which follows underneath the elevated train line to the southwest. We had been warned that some of the trail was under construction and found that to be true. We had to do a lot of navigating onto and off of the trail to avoid the closed sections. Thank goodness for GPS! The second rest stop was along the trail — an ice cream shop opened early just for us.
The last section of the trail went for a number of miles along a buses-only roadway. It was wide, straight and almost no buses. Navigation at this point was simple and we could really make good time with a strong tailwind.
We finished up on 2.5 miles of semi-rural road to our host church — Silver Palm United Methodist Church. Forty eight miles total for the day. We are on our own for dinner. I think the team is making roast chicken, salad and a dessert.