As thunder rumbled louder, the booms closer together, and the before-storm wind picked up, I surprised myself with how quickly my paddle was striking smoothly into the water of the Intracoastal. The earlier forecast for a 20-percent chance of afternoon thunder showers had turned into a 100-percent chance of thunderstorm soon.
Hopefully Virginia Key will soon join Oleta State Park as one of the bike trail systems in South Florida that ROCKS. A group of local bicyclists is working on plans to build a network of mountain bike trails on county park land on Virginia Key, Key Biscayne. From what I hear, these trails will be amazing. The terrain and elevation changes on Virginia Key are perfect for an extensive network of singletrack mountain bike trails.
With fast switchbacks, all-year biking weather, and some sweet state parks, the Sunshine State is a top contender when it comes to the best places for mountain biking. The misnomer is that Florida, which rarely gets higher than 15 feet above sea level, completely lacks any kind of mountain biking trails. My friends who live up north will say “You went what?” when I tell them I spent a Saturday morning mountain biking. But let me explain I tell them…we do have sweet trails and they sometimes go up and down small, umm, I guess you can call them hills. At Alfaia State Park and other old phosphorous mine locales, the old network of dug out mines makes for slightly larger and wicked fun hills. And other parks more than make up for the lack of vertical dips with beautiful vista views. So I stubbornly call it mountain biking, although “trail riding” might be a better term. Semantics aside, Florida can compete with Colorado or Vermont when it comes to fat-tire rides.