The Venetian Causeway is well marked and wide enough for a sidecar on my bike too. It’s a perfect city ride, but I’m feeling the effects of a 2:30am start as well as the cocktails on the plane. It’s also hot as hell, maximum humidity and I’m sweating pale English bullets already. Burning too probably. So all told this is not a stellar bike performance but I don’t care – the grin is genuine and wide and I’m enjoying the ride.
It’s approaching lunchtime part two when I present myself on the Miami Beach strip ready to usher in a new era of cultural biking emersion. I need Slenderman-esque truth telling to slip into the masses on the streets and submerge (submerce?) in the entertaining mass of humanity.
In truth it’s really not that busy, and I have fun doing whatever the cycling version is of wandering back and for the between the street and the sidewalk and back to the other. The bike’s a clunker, but my secret weapon is my clipless pedals which helps me to get up and over everything. Not a fan of flats, except on a single speed. I enjoy the strip clubs incongruously placed next to Muslim food stores and endless mannequins promising plastic pleasure under the gold sequin clothes.
I stop and get food at a grocery store somewhere close to another strip club and the Salvation Army store. I noticed with my street-food eye that they were serving good (well, it smelled good) Mexican bean and rice, and plantains and chicken (ok the chicken turns out to be inedible) but still. I love food finds like this – it’s like scuba diving and discovering that prefect tropical fish hiding out under the belly of a rusting old boat.
The only thing better that good cheap eats is good cheap eats at the beach. So, I take my feast to the park near the beach and hunker down, hiding under the palm tree from the sun – and soon enough from the rain. Some wily homeless dude a few trees down is sporting a full pack cover and an umbrella, earning dirtbag respect from me when the heavens open. I like prepared.
I drift off for a peaceful nap after the rain, and greeted by princesses in my dreams I awake flying and refreshed by the colorful characters I met in my sleep – or was that an ad for Disney Cruises? Don’t know, plenty of that in Miami.
Leaving my unfinished food I cycle off in search of fluids, suntan cream and maybe some ice cream. The bike path is open and easy to access on bike, foot, skateboard or any other derivative thereof. It’s easy to put down the culture there but people are chilled and relaxed and it’s not Spring Break crazy or anything, so I get space to weave back and forth around the other folks and occasional dog.
My favorite part of the Miami Beach strip is definitely down towards South Point Park and Pier, where the cruise and container ship channel meets the beach. It’s more chilled, great views south and to the city, so I wheel the bike down to the beach, strip off to my bib-shorts (yes I forgot my beach shorts and yes I know it’s a bad, bad look in the water) and get wet. It’s pretty sweet lying back into the water and just relaxing for a moment. I could stay here all evening but the lure of exploring still hooked in my cheek, I decide to dry off and head off.
I cycle back to the north of the strip and find a road side store and deli, where I order probably the biggest sandwich of my life and sitting on the chairs outside which look more suited to a club or a lounge than this place enjoy the cheeky birds trying to get a bite and doze off under the late afternoon sun.