Winter Cycling Vacations

Biking over Rickenbacker Bridge in Miami, Winter Cycling Vacations

Biking over Biscayne Bay, Miami

Winter Cycling Vacations

by Royston Taylor

The donning of a winter coat signals the end of the summer riding season. A rude reality is that its important to maintain a cycling regimen through the winter. So you schedule lots of quiet tempo rides to reduce fitness loss and control winter weight gain. As the wicked, icy cold rolls in, you move your regimen indoors, riding on rollers, weight training and running on treadmills. Forget this! You want to ride in jerseys and shorts. Winter Cycling Vacations await.

The days of boring spin start annoy you, then you hear the siren call to ride outside in the Winter. You carefully pick days to ride when the temperatures are above freezing. Engulfed in base layers, long sleeve jersey and a wind-proof neoprene cycling jacket, you head out the door. While riding, your eyes are scouting for instances of thin black ice or big water puddles. The bicycle is equipped with 45mm wide tires, making the shorter winter workouts harder and reducing the instances of winter flats. There is nothing like trying to fix a flat when it is freezing outside.

Think of your cycling friends in Florida, Southern California, Southern Texas and Arizona. A quick search of the Internet shows the 6-mile loop from Alice Wainwright Park in Miami, across the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne. By bridge, it’s a straight shot over Biscayne Bay, through the barrier islands of historic Virginia Key Park and Cranden Park turning around at Key Biscayne.

Biscayne Bay is a favorite training route for local criterium race teams, be prepared for having your doors blown off by the Cuban Cycling Clubs. Two loops across Biscayne Bay and you are ready for Cuban Cuisine at La Carreta, Key Biscayne, sitting on the patio sipping on your sugar cane juice and diving into a heaping plate of arroz con pollo. Maybe even a Cuban espresso made in an ancient metal contraption and the best Cuban yellow rice & chicken or fried plantains is on the menu.

Route A1A, Fort Lauderdale

Route A1A, Fort Lauderdale

Okay, that’s good for one day. The 30-mile-plus roll along Route 1A from Miami Beach through Dania Beach to Fort Lauderdale Beach looks interesting. First imagine yourself enjoying the art deco buildings of Miami Beach as you cruise north on Collins Avenue. After leaving the streets of the developed area, you cruise pass the sand dunes and small bungalows up to Fort Lauderdale Harbor. A few city blocks around the harbor and you will be on the wide boulevards of Fort Lauderdale. Stop for lunch at one of the many sidewalk cafes, then head back to Miami Beach for the completion of a metric century.

Then think about the Southern California sunshine in your next Internet search. The Pacific Coast Highway beckons, over a double century of beachfront views from Santa Barbara down to San Diego through Los Angeles. Narrowing it down, maybe racing from Venice Beach, Los Angeles up to Pepperdine University and then climbing the 20 mile, 1800-foot Malibu Canyon Road through tunnels to the top of Malibu Hills. You could stop, take a quick photo and then cycle over to the infamous Mulholland Drive, stage eight of the Tour of California. Another quick rest stop to enjoy the breath taking views of the Pacific Ocean and Malibu Beach and then 8% grade descent into Malibu Beach, home of Barbie and Ken.

The next day will be a rest and recovery day and you head down to Marina del Rey, park the car at Dock 52 and head down to Long Beach. Stopping along the way at the Catalina Cafe, continue further and watching the bikini wearing volleyball players at Hermosa Beach & Manhattan Beach, while marveling at Catalina Island in the distant southwest.

Southern California Dockriders

Southern California Dockriders breezing through LA

When planning your vacation, the alarming thought hits you. How do I get my bike here? Most airlines will allow you to ship your bike as luggage. All major delivery services will ship your bike — sometimes a lower cost than airlines. What about renting a bike? A “Rent a Bike” Internet search of reveals a network of bike stores that offer fitted performance bikes for rent. You can call up most local shops and find out if they will rent one of their bikes.

How do you decide between renting a bike, shipping or carrying your bike on the plane.

Rent, Ship Or Carry Your Bike

First ask yourself a couple of questions:

How many days do you plan to ride on your vacation?
Two days or less, rent a bike.

How aggressive are you planning to ride?
For long rides, fast group rides or training rides bring your bike.

How important is it for you to ride your own fitted bike?
If you require specific fitting characteristics, bring your bike.

Do you plan on doing laid back rides?
Rent a bike.

Are you unsure that you will be cycling on your vacation?
Rent a bike.

Southern California Dockriders picnic

Southern California Dockriders picnic in LA

Bicycle Rentals

Pros
• Not having to disassemble or pay to ship your bike.
• Reserve a fitted bike before you arrive at your destination.
• Option to select a high performance bike when you need one and a less expensive bike when you don’t.
• Flexibility to change your mind and not ride (in case of unexpected weather.

Cons
• Bike shops may not have your exact fitted configurations.
• Due to limited quantities, switching bikes at the rental shop maybe difficult.
• Varying quality of bikes in shops, always seek local advice if available.

Shipping by Airplane

If you have an expensive bike, check the amount of insurance coverage for your bike.
Verify the full cost of transportation.

Pros
• Bike arrives and departs with you.

Cons
• Purchase, borrow or rent a bike box.
• Dis-assembly and assembly of your pedals and handlebars.

Now you’re ready for Winter Cycling Vacations.

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