Randy Egues is a Miami-based competitive mountain-biker operating at the highest amateur level. He's sponsored by South Miami's Mack Cycle & Fitness. He is also a member of the ID Angel McCarty Racing, which is South Florida's professional mountain-bike team, and often leads rides throughout the city. It suffices to say that if anyone knows biking in this city, it's this dude. “Cycling takes 100 percent of your concentration,” Egues explains. “Whatever you've got going on, you need to forget about it when you throw your leg over that bicycle. Particularly with mountain biking... it allows you to go out and do something that's good for you and escape everything else — at least for a little bit.” In honor of National Bike Month, New Times
spoke with Egues about a variety of local bike paths. Where will you ride?
8. Florida State Road A1A
"A1A turns into a boardwalk at some point where they don't allow bikes, so it gets a little challenging south of 21st Street," Egues says. "I've made the mistake of trying to ride along the beach, and it was a complete failure. It's kind of an exercise in futility – unless of course you've got a fat bike. The people on the fat bikes can ride just about anywhere on the beach. A lot of people on cruisers and commuter bikes use the path all the time when they're out there on the beach. A1A is very mellow, very scenic, but be careful with the pedestrians."
7. Rickenbacker Causeway
"I ride the Rickenbacker Causeway just about every day," Egues says. "They just put in the new green bike lanes, which are amazing. It's a huge step in the right direction as far as promoting bike safety and having people in areas where they can ride. I think, in general, the people who drive out there are somewhat familiar with the etiquette of passing cyclists. The route is also scenic. You'll run into the occasional 150-person group rides, which are pretty competitive. You're going to see road cyclists, triathletes, and mountain bikers training out there. If there is a central place for cyclists in training, it's the Rickenbacker Causeway."
6. The Venetian Causeway
East of Biscayne Boulevard at NE 15th Street in downtown Miami
"After all the construction, it has great new pavement," Egues notes. "I think the only downside is all the red lights. There are plenty of traffic signals that you'll run into along the way, but otherwise, it's very scenic. It's a great and safe connector between the city and the Beach. The causeway also has a bike lane for riders, and the speed limits are low."
5. Amelia Earhart
401 E. 65th St., Hialeah
"This park has about eight miles of mountain-bike trails maintained and supported by volunteers and donations. There's a group of guys, the Larue brothers, who do a great job of maintaining that place. It's a lot of fun. Not a real technical trail, but really fast and flowy — very user-friendly," Egues says. "The park does something interesting that is kind of unique: every couple of months, they'll reverse the direction. It's a park that was designed to run in two directions and every couple of months, it feels like you're learning how to ride a brand new park. People also host a lot of races at Amelia Earhart."
4. Old Cutler Road
"Down south on Old Cutler Road after SW 57th Avenue, they're working on and have installed a bike path off the road. I want to say it's part bike path, part pedestrian walkway. I never use it because I'm always on the road, but I do see it used by a lot of people, pedestrians and cyclists alike."
3. Shark Valley
36000 SW Eighth St., Miami
"The 15-mile loop in Everglades National Park is very cool. But you have to be careful," Egues warns. "They rent bikes there, so you can rent a bike if you don't have one. You share the roadway with pedestrians, sightseers, and those types. There's also a trolley that takes people on that loop to the outlook on the south side. There are alligators everywhere, and as the day gets warmer, the alligators end up on the walkway or bike path. Literally, you could touch the alligators if you wanted to. There's no guard rail, nothing separating you from the wild life out there — so be prepared to stop and turn around if one is laying across the roadway."
2. Oleta State Park
3400 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach
"It's got one of the largest trail systems down here," Egues says. "Oleta State Park has close to 15 miles of very technical mountain-bike trails, and by technical I mean: up, down, rooty, rocky, difficult, left, right. It's probably the most technical mountain-bike trail in South Florida. Nothing easy about riding that place. The trails are fairly easy to identify, so beginners can stick to their trails, and advanced riders who want a challenge can find their trails. Oleta is one of many state parks so there are other things to do, like caverns for camping overnight, kayaking, and standup paddleboarding."
1. Virginia Key Mountain-Bike Trails
Arthur Lamb Jr. Rd., Miami
"There was a squatters' restaurant bar back there called Jimbo's for many, many years. The land just north of it, the City of Miami set aside for the development of mountain-bike trails. It is probably the best park down here with regards to variety. There's the really easy stuff, and then there's some good challenging areas to ride," Egues says. "It's my personal training ground. I want to say they're getting close to seven or eight miles of trails now. Park volunteers have had a lot of interaction with the City of Miami to be sure — not only in that it's being done, but in that it's being done correctly and sustainably. Because of the improvements, there's usually something new to see. There aren't any better views. I've ridden a lot of mountain-bike trails. The views from the Virginia Key mountain-bike trails looking northeast where you're seeing Fisher Island, South Beach, you're seeing it all from out there. It's amazing."