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Thread: SoBe Biking: Drag Queens, Bodybuilders, and Fat Bikes

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    Jan 2011
    Vienna, VA
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    Default SoBe Biking: Drag Queens, Bodybuilders, and Fat Bikes

    Riding Through SoBe: Bodybuilders, Drag Queens, and Fat Bikes
    I was in Miami over Christmas and my strategy for saving my sanity when traveling with my snarling pack of blood relations is renting a bike and escaping out the hotel’s back entrance in the afternoons. This time I rented a hybrid Raleigh with a basket, gears, and flat pedals. Not only did I move around with ease, I saw more of the residential side of Miami beyond Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue.
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    The traffic along Ocean Drive is so tight drag queens use stopped cabs as props. They incorporate snarled traffic into their acts staged in front of The Palace, home to the best drag queen show in town. line of stopped cars is so predictable the ladies have enough time to toss back their big hair, teeter out to the street on 7-inch platform heels and throw themselves sunny side up across the hood of a yellow top cab all while writhing and lip-synching to a Whitney Houston medley without as much as chipping a dagger pointed nail. I saw this from the back of my rental bike where I could go up and down Ocean Drive along a wide multi-use trail without getting stuck in traffic.
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    While Ocean Drive was next to impassable, the wide multi-use trail running along Ocean Drive was easy to navigate. Two blocks south of the drag queens, I stopped in front of another bar and watched women dressed as referees pour shots from vodka bottles into the mouths of willing volunteers. It was just past three o’clock in the afternoon on a Monday. Welcome to South Beach, Miami.
    Also not to be missed was the herd of shirtless wonders doing pull-ups along Muscle Beach or an equally shirtless Santa Claus. And last but not least were the array of unusual bikes I saw parked along the streets. (I posted photos on the photo thread here.)
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    I rented from a local bike shop. The father and son who own and operate Miami Beach Bicycling Center rent bikes and give advice about the roads. I spent several afternoons figuring out quiet streets to ride on and avoided busier roads and unusual driving styles I’ve learned to associate with Miami where the rule of the day seems to be, lean on your horn first, accelerate second, swerve third. Consider slamming on the brakes if all else fails. I also watched the locals. If they rode up on the sidewalk, especially over bridges, who was I to disagree?

    The bike took me places I would have missed. I discovered Pine Tree Park where dogs use a kayak ramp to enter the canal. I rolled through neighborhoods where men hustle paddle board games and Flamingo Park where local kids swim for free in an enormous outdoor pool. I watched letter carriers get around by bicycle on their routes. The bike showed me more of Miami than I ever would have seen from a car or walking along the strip.
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    A memorable moment was wheeling the bike into the lush, all-white décor of the hotel lobby because they wouldn’t valet park my bike and there was no secure bike rack. But the elevator was big enough and the bike it fit very well on the balcony.

    Miami Beach is easy to navigate by bike. There is a program similar to Capital Bike Share called Deco Bikes and the kiosks are everywhere. The bikes are serviceable for short trips, they are one-speed and heavy, but if you want to cruise around for an afternoon, consider renting something easier to maneuver from an LBS.
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    Last edited by acc; 12-27-2013 at 09:09 PM.


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