Trying to be seen by drivers while simultaneously trying to hide from the sun! Arrrr! MM15. At 5:30PM. Yeah, it was a late start to go from Key Weird MM0 up to Knight’s Key at MM47.
But hey, sometimes late starts are unavoidable in order to take care of responsibilities and yet still go on and do the dam thing like beavers! Woohaaa! My partner also had to bail last minute leaving me alone to wonder if I would still be pedaling by nightfall. Bring it on! Better than being stuck inside somewhere. I am enjoying my new long sleeve fishing shirt which I use as a cycling shirt down here and whenever I find myself traversing a desert. This one is a Columbia PFG Offshore in a very tropical, bright and appropriate color called Key West! I think this shirt will be going on more adventures.
And while dodging the sun with all sorts of special fishing gear, I am also trying to be noticed with (3) three very bright rear lights. Super Flashers and Turbo Flashers! Perhaps it was all the morning’s and afternoon’s events seeming to conspire to cancel this trip, but I was feeling more paranoid than usual about being hit and feeling vulnerable in the less safe sections of the ride.
MM16.5 Originally a hit and run, the driver, an elderly man, eventually returned to the scene. The person riding the bicycle, Christopher Dyko, was killed. I’ve had a bad feeling on this trip so far. Actually, ever since the 2013 Seven Mile Bridge Ride, where we came upon the aftermath of a van hitting a fellow tourer, I’ve really not fully enjoyed the road shoulder sections of this ride. The person riding a bicycle in that collision was rushed to the hospital and somehow survived with no broken bones, but had massive bruising and abrasions on his body. The van driver admitted to not paying enough attention when he hit the cyclist from behind.
Several miles later, across the street from Boondocks and the 2013 incident, I came across this crash scene. A two car collision on Route 1 that skidded across the shoulder, across the bike path, through a fence and into the mangroves.
The problems of distracted driving, drunk driving and driving too fast were very present in my mind for the rest of the ride. I do not usually worry so much, but I really have not been enjoying the small shoulder road riding sections where there is far less safety. At one crosswalk where the path crosses Rt. 1, I was stuck waiting in the middle of the road waiting for some traffic to actually stop. A Monroe Country Sheriff with a bike in his rack, with plenty of time to come to a safe and legal stop, also sped right past me. Nobody seems to care about following the law. Scary. Sad. Even the separated sections are potentially lethal as I saw here. The driving culture here, both drivers and the enforcement, are very unfriendly to people walking or on bicycles.
The Key Deer are very, very important. So important as a matter of fact, that there are special speed limits for the areas where they live. And lots of signs. And lots of enforcement too. What about us? What about people walking and riding bicycles? Where’s our protective speed limits that are vigorously enforced?
On a less lethal note, sunset alongside the Old Bahia Honda Bridge was very pretty! One of the bright sides of the very, very late start. The sun was fully set by the time I got to the southern end of the Seven Mile Bridge and it was fully dark by the time I got to the other end. I was also far more visible in the dark with my (3) three lights than in the daylight. Traffic wasn’t too heavy and I did enjoy the pretty amazing views.
After setting up camp and showering at Knight’s Key Campground I walked over to the massive tiki that is Sunset Grille and Raw Bar for dinner and a few beers.
Packing up before dawn went pretty well. I do wish I coulda had a coffee tho’. I rode up to Route 1 and stopped on the shoulder near the start of the bridge. It was still pretty dark out but there was a little light in the sky.
Three other people had hitched rides up and were riding back to Key West on their go-fast bikes. We chatted for a bit and all set off together when it was time to take off.
Their peleton of 3, a single and a group of two, quickly left me in the predawn dust as they raced straight to Key West. There are many ways to enjoy this bridge closure with a bicycle!
My trusty tree friend on the Old Seven Mile Bridge.
A perfect sunrise on an empty Seven Mile Bridge. Wow! It is always so dang quiet and peaceful when there’s no one else around. I could clearly hear the waves hitting the pilings and hear the wind that was pushing them. Even the birds were singling and squaking. And I could hear it all peacefully with no traffic to ruin the moment.
The crash scene from yesterday. I decided to also ride straight back and avoid as much traffic as possible, hoping to be in Key West by the time the backed-up traffic was let go after the run was over and packed up.
I had a stowaway the entire time! Wow these Arkel Dolphins have room for camping gear and a paquita!! Arkel, available at Chilly’s Bicycle Shop! I have no shame and I do have a full set of Doolphins and a full set of the new Orcas in stock now!
Another trip up the keys by bicycle, and the third year of the tradition of biking up the night before and camping at Knight’s Key. We don’t need cars for this bicycle ride! More blurry photos and shoddy writing from years past:
2014 Seven Mile Bridge Ride
2013 Seven Mile Bridge Ride
In 2012 the Seven Mile Bridge Run was cancelled due to severe thunderstorms throwing hail and lightening at anyone daring go outside. I chose to make coffee and enjoy the storm from my outdoor patio!
2011 Seven Mile Bridge Ride