Edge

Seize the bike

Bicycling around Miami-Dade County may seem tantamount to suicide, but it shouldn’t stop anyone from braving the streets and exploring the county’s scenic neighborhoods and waterfront parks.
Break the routine. Get off the Stairmaster and monotonous conveyor belt. If you don’t have a bike, buy one, rent one, borrow one or steal one. Do whatever you have to do to get out there. Seize the beautiful weather.
Matheson Hammock Park is one of the closest waterside parks to the University of Miami. The tropical enclave on Old Cutler Road offers one of the county’s best views of Biscayne Bay and downtown Miami. At the northeastern end of the park, slim and chunky pineapple-like palm trees encircle a man-made beach and salt-water wading pool deep enough to for adults to swim.
Wooden benches along the cement path look out toward Key Biscayne and the gleaming skyscrapers of Brickell Avenue. A patch of green grass just off the side of the pool is ideal for picnicking and enjoying soft orange sunsets on weekend afternoons. Matheson lacks shady areas, but the afternoon heat is not bothersome.
The ride to Matheson is relatively quiet and very pleasant. The safest routes to get there are through Maynada Street (a.k.a. Stanford Drive on this side of U.S. 1) or Alhambra Circle. Traffic is light on the roads to the park, a measly 3.5 miles away from campus, at 9601 Old Cutler Road.
Coconut Grove’s David T. Kennedy Park is another ideal riding destination. It has several large, grassy plots and volleyball courts. Although it doesn’t have much of a shoreline, it too boasts soothing sunsets and stunning sunrises. The park, on 2400 Bayshore Dr., is about four miles away from UM. To get there, take Ponce de Leon North to Le Jeune, crossing U.S. 1 and going through the Grove’s side streets until one reaches South Bayshore Drive.
Those who thrive on adventure should brave the trek to South Beach or Key Biscayne. The flux of traffic is much heavier, and while the human road hazards can be as deadly as you think, the adrenaline rush and ocean-side vistas are worth the risk.
Key Biscayne has two major beachside parks, Crandon Park and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. The former is just past the bridge one crosses after the Miami Seaquarium and the latter is at the southern end of the key. Crandon Park and Bill Baggs have plenty of palm trees and picnic areas.
Crandon also has a soccer field, a baseball diamond and a carousel. Both have many shady areas. Key Biscayne is about 11 miles away from UM. To get there, take South Bayshore Drive and make a right at the intersection of Brickell Avenue and Southwest Twenty-sixth Road.
SoBe is not much farther than Key Biscayne and the ride can be much more interesting. Take South Bayshore Drive and head north on Brickell Avenue, which will eventually become Biscayne Boulevard. Before you go to the beach, however, take a detour to downtown Miami. It has a handful of small restaurants, trinket shops and art galleries waiting to be explored. Once you’re back on Biscayne going toward the Beach, continue north and make a right on Northeast Fourteenth Street. Don’t take McArthur Causeway. The shoulders along the bridges are cluttered with fishermen and littered with glass. Instead, take the Venetian Causeway. It’s much lovelier, much cleaner and the views of the bay are just as breathtaking.
For information on the parks, call 305-755-7800 or visit www.miamidade.gov.

January 29, 2002

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.