Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Key Biscayne

Don’t remember which of the recently discovered bicycling songs had the whimsical lyrics, “Hail to the metatarsal, doesn’t need fuel from a fossil... We could all beat obesity by throwing away that car key,” but therein lies a lot of truth. According to World Health Organization, air pollution from burning fossil fuels annually/globally kills >7 million people, more than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. That doesn’t even account for cardiovascular diseases and harder to detect carcinogens directly related to petroleum use. It’s many times worse than tobacco. Oil’s scourge may be dinosaurs’ revenge, but like them will motorists also go extinct? Can’t sustain $1 trillion every decade for roadwork anyway. Don’t need more motorists on crowded roads, but at least some trips could be by bike, while planes and trains would welcome more passengers.

From car/home cabin fever [25 cubic yard snowbank in yard shown] to first thaw and furtive spins, notions arise of best rides ever. Bike blogger Aaron Teasdale enjoyed his hilly ride in Switzerland, though cycling North Vietnam must have been some rarified pleasure for him. Susan Greenwood suggested World’s Top 10 in the Guardian. More recently, Andrew Bain touted his own 12. Do your requisite training and get your passport in order. Bicycling magazine lists 50 light on details, but personally experienced bone rattling similar to #1 Flanders pavé on local New England cobble, though these granite setts are slowly disappearing. One buddy cited among his favorites tackling Tour de France stages: brutal D’alp Huez and windy Mount Ventoux. Could only counter with B&C's story of Heritage Trail Century in Northwest Massachusetts and Southeast Vermont with its 10,000 feet of climbing by countless flowery meadows and rowdy waterfalls with its 11 mile stretch of coasting before the leg back to Deerfield.

Seems self indulgent to waste fuel just to vary venues, but cyclists do grow weary of same old scenery. It’s possible to ride across entire continents, but it costs too much and takes lots of time. Managed 10,000 hours in the saddle without leaving New England. In these shaky economic times, majority has become reluctant to wage lives on sketchy trips, though simply spending cash might end recession.

What appeals right now to flabby, winter weary cyclists are reports of 90° fun and sun in Southern Florida. Chicagoan Chuck explored Rickenbacker Trail from Miami to Key Biscayne, a 5 mile palm studded sand island in the Atlantic favored by Cher and Nixon, reached by a causeway. It’s not much of a challenge with highest elevation only 5 feet above sea level and less than 20 miles of loop road, but Mangrove Cycles stands ready to rent beach bikes to visitors if they want to cruise this tropical paradise.

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