Riding the Keys
I am looking ahead to my vacation next winter. I want to head to Key West since I haven't been there since I was a teenager. One thought I had was to ride from Miami and would like to know if this is actually feasible. Are there bike lanes or trails on the highway? I was thinking of just doing it one way and take 3 days to do it so I can enjoy all the Keys. Also what are the rules as far as camping for free along the beaches? I see that I have many options as far as campgrounds but free would even be better. Thanks in advance for any advice and tips you all offer.
Many people ride to the keys every year, indeed there are a number of organized rides through the keys each year as well, Bubbafest is one. I cannot speak for Miami, and the ability to ride there, but I know that the normal route is to take the Card Sound Bridge and stay off US1 on the northern end of the keys. Further south, through Key Largo and south bike route can be found running parallel to US1 and on the bridges there is usually lots of shoulder to ride. Don't kid yourself, the traffic volume is high and at times fast, so keep your wits about you. As for camping on the beach, I wouldn't advise trying it. There are a couple county and state parks along the way, but during the winter season they tend to stay pretty full as do the private camping areas. But motels are plentiful (and expensive). You might consider looking at Warmshowers or Couchsurfing for hosts in that part of the state. I have not investigated it, but someone may be available.
Good luck with your trip. If you look at Crazyguyonabike.com you may find some journals of others who have biked the keys and garner some good information.
Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL