Posted November 28, 2016
By BRITTANY CHANDANI
MIAMI BEACH, Fla.—South Floridians do not agree on many things, but they will agree that driving in Miami Beach is one of the worst things you can do. From pedestrians crossing without looking—making sure to do so during your curt green light to trucks that don’t seem like they belong on such a tiny island much less a narrow street, blocking off a whole lane on the Collins Avenue like no one has anywhere to go.
And parking in Miami Beach? That’s a whole other horror story.
As a resident of Miami Beach, I was very excited to discover Citi Bike. Citi Bike is a bike rental service that has 100 stations all over the beach, making it easy for you to pick up and rent a bike for a small amount of money, travel to a destination and then drop it off at one of its numerous bike stations. There are probably three in the vicinity no matter where you are on the beach. And then you can go and pick another one up at a station to head back— it’s a never ending cycle of convenience.
So, on a gray fall morning, my boyfriend and I took two Citi Bikes on an adventure. We planned on pedaling down the beach path to South Pointe, rounding back up and crossing over to Lincoln Road, then heading back home— a round trip of about six miles, all while making stops at destinations like we would if we were driving.
We headed to the bike station (there is one literally downstairs from my apartment) and swiped for two bikes. As Miami Beach residents, we can rent bikes for 30 minute sessions for free, while the usual 30 minute rate is $4 for non-residents.
Like most of my skills, my bike riding is self taught. However, unlike most of my skills, my bike riding is terrible.
I got off to a wobbly start, very occasionally having to stop and foot-pedal on the ground. But as I paid less attention to every little bump in the road, the ride got much smoother. Or maybe it was because there were few people out and, therefore, statistically fewer chances of me crashing into things.
The beach path is the safest place to ride since there are no cars and there is a wide space. As we traveled down the path, we saw adorable wild cats sitting under the bushes, calling at us for food with hungry eyes. I think they bring the most life to the path.
Big Pink is notorious for its huge portions—even its menus are massive. It has a wide variety of food that is sure to fit anyone’s taste. We ordered the chicken and waffles and coffee—fuel for the rest of the bike ride!
Then, we made our way to the Lincoln Road shopping district. Getting there required pedaling on a real road, which meant cars and danger. My boyfriend suggested taking Pennsylvania Avenue because it’s roomier than most roads, giving us more space from the cars. I was nervous, but I followed his path and made sure to watch for cars when turning and passing.
We dropped our bikes off at one of the many stations on Lincoln Road and walked around. I made my usual stop at Lululemon, remembering not to buy too much since the bike only has one small basket in front to carry things. As the day passed, it got cooler, making us want to return to our bikes and enjoy the breeze.
We pedaled back to the beach path and took that route home, enjoying the sea breeze and calm day. Our 20 minute ride back, plus our day’s adventure, added up to more than two hours. It was a nice way to spend some time together and get a little work out into the day, but most of all it was nice to do something we don’t do as often as we should.
If You Go
- There are numerous bike stations across the beach and most of South Florida. A map is available here: http://citibikemiami.com/station-map
- To get a bike, pay with a credit card at the station following the directions, then push the bike in and after you hear a click, it is unlocked and pull it out.
- To dock a bike, just push it into the station until you hear a click. Then, your session has ended and you can start over again with another bike at a station convenient to your next destination.
- The bikes do not come with locks, so the best thing to do is buy the shortest rate if your destination is short, then dock it and just get another bike for the next part of your trip.
- Residents of Miami Beach can buy a membership for $16 per month with unlimited 30 minute rentals. This membership comes with a Citi Bike key, which you can touch to the sensor and rent your bike.