I’m taking a two-day run to Miami for a dirt-bag bike exploration of the city and surrounding beaches.

It’s been a couple years now since I was last there, and I’ve never ridden a bike around the city coastal area, including of course Miami Beach. With my friends at American Airlines this short trip takes full advantage of available time. Leaving at 6am and returning just before midnight I’ll end up with more time on the ground there than I did with three days travelling to Barcelona a few weeks back.

It’s an easy flight from Montreal, nothing glamorous in terms of metal, but a decent, short flight. Negatives? Early morning rising – 3am; wheels up – 6am.

I’ve been rummaging around the dirt-bag options for this trip which include a whole long list of hostels in Miami Beach for about twenty bucks a night. Then there’s a shuttle from the airport to Miami Beach for a few dollars (see link here) meaning costs are virtually nothing for transport and accommodation. Ok, well granted it’s pretty low-end on both counts, but since I plan on being out there all day exploring and/or relaxing what do I care?

The only necessity is a lock for my bag, locker in room or whatever it turns to be so that prying hands don’t get to carrying away my stuff. I’m finally remembering to bring my GoPro, Garmin GPS, tail lights and some more goodies. Not sure I wanna be trusting the dirt-bag dogs so much – we’ll see.

The other thing I quickly learn is (as already mentioned) that there are no SS bikes in Miami. I have checked at least a dozen places on the Miami Beach strip to no avail. They all rent hybrids (whatever that is) or full-on road bikes or big-a$$ cruisers, none of which really appeal.

Finally I find a place in the city (Brickell to be exact) that rents SS – at least I make a tragic assumption because all their site is covered with pictures of happy customers with nice new SS. I don’t think about it when I send them a happy blogger’s email but it turns out they only sell SS and not rent them. Hah, well I am a funny fellow.

There’s some good hotel options in Brickell for me – older hotels costing little more than my dirt bag Beach options. If I consider the wasted time getting back and forth from South Beach then maybe it’s better just to base close to the unmistakably named Brickell Bikes.

It’ll also play well for me because I can take the train from MIA and be directly positioned to my hotel to drop my stuff and then walk over to the rental store. The other upside is that one day I can hit South Beach and explore that whole strip until late and then the next day I can hit Key Biscayne for a whole different perspective on the area.

The “other other” dirtbag option is to rent a car and park out somewhere overnight, thus saving on the hotel cost – or more correctly, replacing the hotel cost with a car cost but gaining a lot of flexibility and range in the process. Somehow seems unappealing in Florida to sleep in the car, maybe if I was back in Banff or Lake Louise. In the summer. Is that contrary?

So there it is – the plan is made, seat availability looks good and it’s time to get packing.

(Eventually I have to take the time to talk about overnight cycling trip packing.)

I’m hoping to find some urban bike shorts to throw on over my bibshorts – and I’m hoping for flats instead of clips. But now I’m wondering whether it’s better to bring my road shoes and pedals and avoid the question altogether. Still need to find some urban bike shorts.

What other spots are there in Miami worth checking out in a 30 hour layover? I’ve got wheels, sunblock and a shitload of credit cards. Will find out soon enough!