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cycling trip Florida Keys Cycling Tour

Dates: 1/27 - 2/2, 2018

(6 days, 6 nights; Sat - Fri)

 

Assembly Point: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl

Tour Concludes: Ft. Meyers, Fl

Meeting time: 1/27 airport 1 pm, hotel 1:30 pm

Drop - off time: 2/2: 4pm

Tour Cost:$3,100

(includes lodging, breakfasts, dinners, leaders, snacks, support van, park entrance fees, airport transfers, tour maps & narratives)

Additional Single Occupancy Lodging Cost $700

Inn Highlights

  • Sea Dell Motel
  • Tween Waters Islands Resort

After years of not so gentle nudging by our good friends Earl Stine and Susie Cooke from Florida we are adding a cycling tour of the Florida Keys. Not that we weren't intrigued by a ride in 70 degree weather in February but we were probably just a little concerned that it might not be enough of a ride for, you know, the serious riders we seem to think we are. Time to put that arrogance aside and embrace this ride for what it is and what Earl has assured it will be--a spectacular early season ride with enough substance to get our attention and enough quirky sideshows to keep us amused. Ideal as an early season ride or as a winter getaway; the tour is also ideal for couples or those who might want a beach vacation without actually lying around on a beach. We'll not only ride the entire 113 mile length of the famed Overseas Highway from Key Largo to Key West but also cruise to Fort Meyers from Key West on a modern, luxury catamaran and from there ride Sanibel and Captiva Islands. These islands are a special place whether it is your first time to the famous islands or you are a regular. Sanibel Island holds a special place in Kisa's heart as it is where she would go and visit her parents and stroll along the beach by the lighthouse or enjoy a trip through Ding Darling wildlife preserve looking for amazing animals and birds. 

Accustomed to writing about the challenges of climbing high mountain passes on some of our loneliest roads we had to reach to describe the appeal of riding the Florida Keys. After having kidded our Florida friends {we have a few!} for so long that their highest peak was a highway overpass its long past time to ride the Keys ourselves. It's time to acknowledge some truths: the ocean and Gulf are as wide and at least as blue as Montana's Big Sky; as deep as the Rockies are high; the coral reefs of the Keys rival the color country of Utah's canyons and its wildlife is as fascinating as that of Yellowstone. Palm trees and mangrove swamps and tropical orchids are the wildflowers of the Keys; crocodiles and manatees and the occasional panther are the protected wildlife. In the West we have Bear Valley and Death Valley; in the Keys there is Shark Valley. Road signs in the West warn of elk or deer crossings; in the Keys are alligator warnings; river valleys in the Keys are rivers of grass and snorkeling or kayaking replace hiking as offered activities on layover days.  In short it reinforces what we all know-there is no part of America that is not special and glorious.  This will be a unique and beautiful tour and we are excited to be offering, finally-our first Florida Keys trip.

 

Itinerary

Pre Tour

Guest pick up in Fort Lauderdale, Bike fitting, Orientation Dinner, Ft Lauderdale, FL

 

Day 1 Van shuttle to Everglades National Park and ride the 15-mile Shark Valley Scenic Loop. Continue on to Key Largo by van--depending on time of arrival opportunity for visit to John Pennenkamp State Park with kayaking or snorkeling options. Overnight Key Largo.  15 miles

Day 2

Key Largo to Marathon. Today we begin our 113 mile ride on the famed Overseas Highway  that carries US 1 to the southernmost end of the continental US and Mile Marker 0. This thin strand of Highway connects the Keys {accounts say there are actually more than 1700 islands in all} and a paved bike path parallels the Highway for much of the distance.  About 20 miles out of Key Largo beautiful views of both the Atlantic and Gulf open up--at times only a few hundred yards separate these two bodies of water. There are multiple bridge crossings {there are over 46 bridges connecting all the Keys} and multiple attractions along the way.  Make no mistake --this is an exotic journey through a spectacular land that includes the largest area of coral reef in the mainland US and is home to crocodile, deer, manatee, and the occasional panther. There is even a turtle hospital in Marathon that is open to visitors. The bike route is a mix of paved bike paths, shoulders and back roads. Overnight Marathon.

50 miles

Day 3

Marathon to Key West--again multiple attractions to visit along the way.  This day includes riding the famous 7 Mile Bridge and apparently your day is not complete until you have waved to Fred the Tree at the far end of the bridge. Bahia Honda State Park with a beautiful natural beach and a stop on Big Pine Key which is home to the Key Deer Refuge are some of the features on today's ride as we make our way to the 0 Mile Marker.  Overnight Key West. 

50 miles

Day 4

Free day in Key West. Some of the world famous attractions include: all things Hemingway; Truman White House; Mallory Square for the sunset tradition; all the zany happenings on Duval Street and of course untold eating opportunities. Is it touristy  ---you bet but there is elegance and history to be found in its Old Town and the diverse cultures and lifestyles so celebrated on the Island make it a wonderful, joyous place. The natural beauty, beaches, gardens, stunning ocean views all combine to make this a magical experience.   6 PM ferry ride to Fort Myers; arrive around 9-9:30 PM. Overnight Fort Myers.

 

Day 5

Startling, dramatic and unbelievable change of pace as we ride early in the morning to the untouched barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva. Accessible by a 3 mile causeway from Fort Myers, Sanibel Island has been determined to maintain a pristine natural environment. Over half the Island is protected against development; no building can be higher than a palm tree; over 35 miles of bike paths and walking paths connect the world famous beaches renowned for their seashells and it is home to the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge which is a major shelter for migratory birds. Kisa's mother, Maryan Hurtt was long affiliated with the Refuge and volunteered much of her time to its conservation efforts.  Connected to Sanibel by a small bridge is Captiva Island. Home to the Calusa Tribe and possible playground to pirates in another time the Island is steeped in history and intrigue. It is possible to ride to the end of the Island and explore miles of scenic drives before ending in "downtown " Captiva. These islands are tropical wonders that evoke feelings of isolation and remoteness found in very few places in the US. Overnight Captiva. 

40 miles

Day 6 Ride back to Fort Myers. Opportunity to see places missed on ride in.  40 miles 

Total cycling mileage: 195

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Routes, mileage and accommodations are subject to change due to safety, road/trail conditions, weather and availability.