Bike to the Everglades! An Illustrated Beginner's Guide to Not Dying
Our brethren in Miami showed how you can kayak to Marlins Park or take the Metrorail to nowhere. But what if you just want a nice leisurely, relaxed, death-defying 17-mile bike ride from Fort Lauderdale to the Everglades and back? YOU'RE IN LUCK! We'll show you how! On the way, you'll see shitty infrastructure, blocked access, concrete walls, iguanas, and Swedish meatballs! READ ON!
Just some of the many sights you will see from your bike if you don't die!!!
Fiirrrssst, ya gotta get out of Fort Lauderdale. The "best" way to do this is Davie Boulevard going west... it's actually not that bad, as far as bike streets go. The first part of the way there's no bike lane and it's kind of scary, which is why we recommend doing this ride at 4 a.m. on a Sunday. But then there's a bike lane. Well, there's sort of a bike lane... if you squint...
Tiny "BIKE LANE" shown actual size.
Is that really a bike lane? Probably not. There are no bikes painted on it. And as you can see it's only four centimeters wide. But if you make it all the way down that, after a few miles you'll get pushed onto a wide sidewalk, and then land at the bazillion-lane intersection with University Boulevard. This is a good thing!
If you can manage to get to the other side, there's a real, bona-fide southbound bike lane. Get on that, and pedal like mad southward for a few hundred feet, until you get to the beginning of a wide, inviting pedestrian and cycle path. This will take you all the way west to Markham Park along 595...
...if you can get on it. Unfortunately, there are a few giant fences blocking access from the bike lane. HMM.
Also, the area at the start of this bike path is under a freeway on-ramp that's under construction, so this whole area is blocked. Once you figure out a way to hike around all that mess, you'll see a sweet, wide path stretching off to infinity.
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Just don't get too comfortable. What, you didn't think it was all going to be easy from here, did you?
Every time you get to one of the north-south roads that shoots off of 84, you won't be allowed to just cross (although we took our chances and made the dash). Instead, signs will tell you to go "USE PED SIGNAL."
Okay. Say you're a good, law-abiding citizen. And you've made it this far, so you want to stay alive a while longer. You make a sharp left and walk your bike awkwardly along the sidewalk to the PED SIGNAL. Annnnddd.... drumroll please... here it is:
Yup. Just about every single one of the crossings is under construction. The PED SIGNAL has no buttons, nothing but a sad solitary stick figure walking in what is clearly the wrong direction.
Your FDOT taxpayer dollars have now afforded you the opportunity to try and make a mad dash through the really, really shabby crosswalk, at the mercy of the constant flow of right-turn drivers who have the green (we may or may not have screamed "FUCK YOU OLD MAN" at one old man who nearly ran into us). If you need advice on how to not die during this segment, ask the Homeless Voice vendor for some pro tips.
There's good news, though. If you make it all this, you'll eventually get to IKEA. This is where you stop and get some coffee and $2 breakfast, or Swedish meatballs. You'll be feeling the burn and needing some fuel at this point. Then, take the path alongside 84 on the south side of the canal, where you can watch multiple green iguanas scurry into the water as you approach.
Congratulations, intrepid biker. You have almost reached your destination.
Markham Park will appear on your right. There's a gravel path continuing west, just off the driveway. Take that (it's a little bumpy so you may have to walk your bike). Take a deep breath, you're safe: The only thing that will kill you now is alligators.
Take the path as it slants up the levee. All along the top, there's a packed-gravel trail, maintained by the Water Management District, that runs in some form from Lake Okeechobee to Homestead. Stand here, and look across the expanse of sawgrass. You've made it.
It's a sight to make you glad you're alive. Now call your friend and have him pick you up.
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