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Old 10-24-06, 01:37 PM   #1
Tappets
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US 1 / Florida Keys safe to cycle?

Hi all, checking in from Upstate S.C.
I will be in the keys around February. Not sure which one yet, but maybe Sugarloaf. Was there for some time last year and REALLY wanted to bring my road bike. Anyone ride US 1 before? Looked relatively roomy as far as a shoulder goes in most sections that I saw, although traffic looked rather steady at all times - no bother there. i would probably stay away from Key West area due to massive traffic/partyers.

Any thoughts? Good idea? Bad idea?
Thanks for any input!
-Gary
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Old 10-26-06, 04:08 AM   #2
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You pretty much nailed it with your description.Wide shoulders most of the way(with a parallel bike lane in areas)but steady traffic.Key West is actually fairly bike friendly due to a network of low speed back streets and a large amount of people getting around on bikes thus drivers are use to cyclists(though I would watch out in the late evenings throughout the keys not just Key West due to drinking/partying).I have toured down to there and back and will again in the future.It is a very popular area for touring or long rides or even rec riding on the bike paths etc.
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Old 10-26-06, 07:43 AM   #3
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I personally would not ride on US 1 in the Keys. I don't care how wide the shoulder is, interstate speeds on a two lane (plus turning lane) road with cars constantly turning on and off without stoplights is dangerous.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:23 AM   #4
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acape, i know where you're coming from, but there's always a road bike/traffic risk. appreciate your concerns. i certainly would do most of my riding in the mornings and early afternoon, as i wouldn't dare ride in the evenings, especially around unfamiliar areas. i don't ride around my usual roads once the shadows get long and i'm too chicken to get talked into our local clubs night rides.

if anyone else has some experience in that area, please let me know how it went, or what i should avoid.

thanks!
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Old 10-26-06, 01:39 PM   #5
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Do you ride with the freewheelers or foothills groups?
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Old 10-26-06, 02:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tappets
acape, i know where you're coming from, but there's always a road bike/traffic risk. appreciate your concerns. i certainly would do most of my riding in the mornings and early afternoon, as i wouldn't dare ride in the evenings, especially around unfamiliar areas. i don't ride around my usual roads once the shadows get long and i'm too chicken to get talked into our local clubs night rides.

if anyone else has some experience in that area, please let me know how it went, or what i should avoid.

thanks!
Also, I'll admit that I've only been as far down as Lower Matecumbe, so I don't know what it's like as you go farther down 1.
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Old 10-26-06, 02:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tappets
Hi all, checking in from Upstate S.C.
I will be in the keys around February. Not sure which one yet, but maybe Sugarloaf. Was there for some time last year and REALLY wanted to bring my road bike. Anyone ride US 1 before? Looked relatively roomy as far as a shoulder goes in most sections that I saw, although traffic looked rather steady at all times - no bother there. i would probably stay away from Key West area due to massive traffic/partyers.

Any thoughts? Good idea? Bad idea?
Thanks for any input!
-Gary
KOA on Sugarloaf was a nice campground if you are planning on camping!
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Old 10-26-06, 08:06 PM   #8
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there is a lot of traffic on us1 be careful
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Old 10-30-06, 07:10 PM   #9
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I am watching this thread with interest. I plan on riding from Florida City down to KW sometime between Christmas and New Years this year. Any tips or local knowledge would be appreciated.
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Old 10-30-06, 08:10 PM   #10
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I would be careful. I would imagine there would be a good number of drunks/hungover drivers floating about.
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Old 11-07-06, 05:40 PM   #11
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hey garysol1,
here's another thread with some possible insight for ya. found it in long distance cycling. i figure i only live once, if i rememebr correctly it looks like a great ride and i'm goin for it anyway, wtf - but like i mentioned in the other thread, i'll avoid dusk/night hours and try to get my miles in before the partygoers get their fill. stay safe everybody!

Cycle in the Florida Keys
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Old 11-07-06, 07:26 PM   #12
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hey garysol1,
here's another thread with some possible insight for ya
Awesome....Thanks tappets
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Old 11-10-06, 11:30 AM   #13
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Thanks to everyone for the above useful info. I'm new to the forum.

I am going to be staying in Key West (first time visitor) for the Thanksgiving weekend, so I've got a few other questions if someone would be inclined to answer. We are flying from Austin to Fort Lauderdale, and then will be driving down to stay in Key West for three days.

1 - I am not going to be able to bring my bike (we have a baby, and you know how much stuff you have to take if you have a baby), so I am going to need a rental. Does anyone have a recommendation on a shop in Key West for a road bike rental? (I currently ride a 1998 Trek 5500). Since we're arriving on Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, I presume that all the Fort Lauderdale shops will be closed, so a rental in Key West looks to be the only option.

2 - Most of the info I've read involves starting in Key Largo and biking south to Key West. Since I am going to be in Key West, is there anything in particular I need to know about starting at the other end of US 1? What direction do the prevailing winds come from? Am I going to be fighting a headwind the whole way? Is starting in Key West on the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving a bad idea?

3 - Can anyone tell me more about the current status of the Rails to Trails project for the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT)? Has anyone here tried it? Is it still only partially complete?

http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/state...il/default.htm

4 - Can anyone recommend a good sports bar in Key West to watch the Aggies vs. the Longhorns football game?

Much obliged!
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Old 11-10-06, 01:05 PM   #14
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i was down there for a week last february and lasted about 2 days before i needed my pedaling fix, so i drove to key west to pick up a rental. there's what seems like half a million bike rental places down there, but from what i found - and i DIDN'T do a lot of research - they cater to the tourists, for obvious reasons. i ended up getting a cheapo single speed cruiser - basket and all LOL!, which was quite a change from the trek5200 that i ride all the time. it worked though. i didn't venture out onto us1, but kept an eye on the shoulders and surrounding areas with hopes of returning again this coming february.

if you're interested, i do have some insight as to what i thought was a very strange undeveloped road that is blocked from road traffic. it is roughly a 3 mile circle (no computer on the rental, so i'm guessing) in the middle of nothing just off of sugarloaf key/sugarloaf boulevard. i would just do laps around this thing on that goofy bike. it's worth checking out if ya venture that far. there's a bit of debris and a few short sections of hardpack dirt leading to it but it's paved after that. weird...

with a little time, you may have better luck with finding a more suitable ride. as far as prevailing winds, it always seemed to be a headwind, funny how that works sometimes. sorry i'm not much more help. best of luck to ya and safe, happy riding!
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Old 11-10-06, 01:22 PM   #15
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I live in Miami and I would hesitate to bike to the keys. US 1 below Homestead is one of the most dangerous roads around, scene of horrific head on crashes. Its never empty since during the week its heavily traveled by commuters and on the weekend by drunken revelers.

I try to avoiding driving a car on US 1, much less a bike.
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Old 11-10-06, 01:59 PM   #16
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If after you get to Key West you still care about the game.......well then your doing Key West all wrong


Quote:
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4 - Can anyone recommend a good sports bar in Key West to watch the Aggies vs. the Longhorns football game?

Much obliged!
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Old 11-16-06, 10:39 AM   #17
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I spend Christmas to New Years in Key West and my wife, sister-in-law and I like to ride from where we stay (which is right off Duval St. down in the action) to Geiger Key Marina which has a nice outdoor bar setup. A lot of the ride is on the shoulder of US1, the rest being bike-lanes and the bike trail/sidewalk that goes along the north side of Key West. We do this on cruiser bikes (this year I think I'll get a hybrid) and it isn't too bad. We do it at around lunch time/early afternooon.

Obviously there's always a danger riding on the road, but we haven't had any problems. Drunks/bad drivers are a concern. I find the sidewalk part of the ride more distasteful than the shoulder on US1 because of all the curb cuts. The "trail" on the south side of the Key West goes along the beach where there are no curb cuts.

I'm not sure how things get north of Geiger Key which is Saddlebunch Keys and then Suagrloaf Key. I am interested in that because the next bar/grill destination is in Sugarloaf Key. If anyone has done this, please let me know if I should expect anything worse than to the south.

If you want a truly questionable bike route, try the bridge from Nags Head to Manteo in the Outer Banks. My wife and I did this one and couldn't believe that they're got the nerve to call it a bike route (3' max. between the bridge's jersey barrier and traffic doing 50+mph)
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