Best Place to Ride a Bicycle - 2004
Everglades Holiday Park
Readers' Choice: Quiet Waters Park
As all bicyclists know, the safest place to ride is anyplace you won't get flattened by a car. Given our scarcity of urban bike paths, hard-core riders have taken to the lonely levees that line the Everglades: those long, straight, shadeless fire-access roads motor vehicles aren't permitted on. One favorite mountain-biking spot is handily located just on the edge of civilization at Everglades Holiday Park. Bypass the tourists, the deafening airboats, and the gator wrasslin' by parking just outside the main entrance, just south of the huge pump station. From here, you can ride up and down the north-south L-30 Canal, which runs slightly west of U.S. 27. You can also ride to Levee 67-A west of L-30 and explore the area known as "The Pocket." Head south along 67-A (which goes all the way to the Tamiami Trail) until you reach the gauging station at the Miami Canal, which takes drinking water straight to the Magic City from Lake Okeechobee. Follow the canal one mile southeast to Levee 67-C. This area between the two levees, which stays wet year 'round, is the Pocket. Wading birds, turtles, and alligators are innumerable, and except for a few fishermen, it's all yours. Proceed north on 67-C, which takes you right back to Holiday Park, where you can pound down a cold Bud and eat a chili dog or two. The above-outlined loop is only about 12 miles. If you skip the Miami Canal crossover and choose to circumnavigate the entire Pocket, bear in mind it's more than a 50-mile roundtrip. Without lots of water, bug repellent, and sunscreen, take the extended version at your own risk.