The skies were dark with rain falling so hard that puddles grew into ponds and yet no one complained about cycling for hours in a downpour. With 5 days of riding inside a toaster oven, the cool rains were divine.
We stopped multiple times — to wipe off sunscreen that wasn’t actually needed but was dripping into burning eyes, to check that phones were staying dry, to check phone GPS’s to make sure we were on course (we were) resulting in getting our phones wet, and discover that Route 1 is the only road heading north or south in the Florida Keys and there was really no need to check the GPS in the rain.
An hour passed and it was time for a break from the rains, so we stopped at the Islamorada Key Visitor Center, where we met kindly people who were most concerned about us being wet We assured them that wet is just fine and after we learned the proper way to pronounce Is lam o rada we returned to our bicycles wondering what might inspire our next stop.
It didn’t take long before we came across Robbie’s — the home of the eclectic and more specifically the chance to feed the Tarpons. We opted not to hand feed the Tarpons thinking that we may need our hands for other uses such as biking, but we meandered the grounds of Robbie’s and became one with the Island vibe.
We returned to the shoulder of Route 1 and when the Heritage Trail appeared on our right we escaped the busy road for carefree riding. The Heritage Trail has some spots that were damaged during recent hurricanes — making sections un-bike-able. Most was bike-able and some of our favorite sections of trail riding were on the longer bridges that separated cars from cyclists.
With 11 miles to go to reach Marathon, we stopped at SS Wreck and Galley Grill — a locals favorite. The patrons from nearby tables informed us that the seafood wrap and key lime pie were the best anywhere and who could argue with local knowledge? If one could guess, the speed at which our table of 5 consumed one slice of key lime pie was as fast as a tarpon grabs a fish from your hand – and like that, the plate was perfectly cleaned.
By the time we arrived at mile marker 49 – Marathon, Florida — the rains had stopped to mark the end of day 6 of cycling. Now all that was left, was a dip in the infinity pool.
Peace, Love, Out,
Read more: Exploring by Bike
The Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31236492
Distance: 52 miles
Start to Finish: Key Largo to Marathon
Why Ride? To raise awareness and funding for the East Coast Greenway from Maine to Key West