Best Urban Bike Ride 2013 | Doral Cycling Club's Saturday Ride | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

It's hard to believe, but there is quite a landscape to explore in the western part of Miami-Dade known as Little Venezuela, AKA Doral. Home to industrial complexes and modern housing developments, it's a trip inside the mind of an urban planner on blotter acid. The city is a great place for a day trip on two wheels. So do yourself a favor. Link up with the Doral Cycling Club, a group of hard-core cyclists who keep safety in mind. The club always provides a warm welcome to new cyclists, sponsoring weekly morning rides and a 55- to 65-mile adventure that takes you from Doral to Key Biscayne on Sundays. However, we suggest bike riders stick to the Saturday ride that covers a distance of 45 to 55 miles within the city limits. The journey begins at 7:30 a.m. from Eugenia B. Thomas Elementary School. From there, you'll trek across Doral's urban terrain, hitting the Dolphin Mall and the International Mall while twice crossing the bridge on NW 97th Avenue that goes over the Dolphin Expressway. The average speed is 20 to 22 miles per hour, although there are three "speed zones" in which speed is increased substantially to 26 to 32 miles per hour. Each speed zone has a sprint where riders can top 35 miles per hour. The average size of the peloton on Saturdays is 50 to 60 riders.

Pull into the gravelly parking lot at Crandon Park Marina. Park as close as you can to the road, in the free spaces. Turn off your engine, step into the humid morning air, and feel the breeze on your soon-to-be sweaty skin. Stretch your legs against the bumper of your car — really stretch them. Now run west on the paved path that parallels the road. Notice the fishermen prepping their boats for a day at sea. Stride onto the first bridge, an easy one with a barely noticeable incline, stretching from Crandon Park to Virginia Key almost at sea level. Feel that first energizing blast of bay wind right off the water. Look across the horizon to the few sailboats in the distance and the pinks and peaches of sunrise beyond. Keep running. Set foot back on land at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. How long has that building been under construction now? No matter. Take note of its beautiful beaches. Keep running. Pass Miami Seaquarium and Mast Academy, then the road that used to lead to Jimbo's. Reminisce. Keep running. Smile at the other runners, speedwalkers, and families. The path is wide enough for you all. Keep running past the kayak tours and snack vendors until you're past the Rusty Pelican and the Rickenbacker bridge looms. It's not as far or as steep as it looks, and the skyline view from its peak is worth the effort. Coast back down to land with the breeze cooling your skin and slowing your heart. Know that the hardest part is over. Or maybe not. Your car's at the marina, dummy.

Soccer enthusiasts in Miami-Dade don't have to wait for World Cup fever to enjoy a competitive game. The rooftop at 444 Brickell offers no vuvuzelas or waving banners, just straight foot-to-ball contact in a place that feels as if it were on top of the world. The view from the field offers skyscrapers and breathtaking cityscapes. A concession stand, a lounge, and an outdoor patio separate two turf fields on top of the converted parking garage. They are equipped with netted courts and padded walls for safety. It's a clean, relaxed environment, and the staff is on a first-name basis with most players. The Brickell location makes it an ideal stop for a quick game during a lunch break or after work. The Roof Top is also putting together a soccer academy, leagues, and tournaments. Rates are competitive with other Miami canchas (from $100 to $120 for a field per hour), but what makes rooftop soccer unique is the atmosphere. Round up ten close buddies and pay less than you would for dinner to get your blood circulating, oxygen flowing, and heart racing. It's open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., weekends 9 a.m. to midnight. There's both garage or street parking, giving you no excuse to be lazy.

Pop... hiss goes your racket as you return the ball to your opponent. Congrats. You brought the racket all the way back over your shoulder and finished the stroke — finally. Your tennis coach has been trying to get you to do that for months. You're no Sharapova, but you still play like hell. This isn't a court on Roland Garros French Open, but you'll be damned if Fairway Tennis Courts in Miami Beach won't be your point of starting to get there. These are clean, hard courts, newly paved and painted, and almost always available. Why? Because they're tucked away in Normandy Shores where no one seems to really know they exist. There's no cost to play either. Think of Fairway as a pristine, cost-free, hidden gem that may very well deliver you to a game at the ATP World Tour if you visit frequently enough.

The comfortable color ratio of white to blue here was awesome. Remember the day we were there in that banana-yellow kayak? We named her Leila? The temperature may have reached the high 80s, but who's counting? Our skin was sizzling. We splashed ourselves with saltwater. There was that part after the Kane Concourse bridge on 96th Street where the water's sheen blinded us through our sunglasses. We could've paddled Leila out into the sandbar in front of the kite park in Haulover. But it's so much more peaceful farther south. And it was easy to get there too. We followed Indian Creek all the way north and, when we reached 91st Street, hitched a left toward Indian Creek Lake. Ah, we were in love... So now that we've remembered all that, can you give me my damned kayak back? I know we've broken up, but that doesn't mean you have to hold onto my stuff, you bastard!

You'll really need your GPS for this one. There are no street numbers, and unless you've been introduced to this oasis of airboating, gator-watching, camping, and fishing somewhere in between the muddy outskirts of Miramar and Pembroke Pines by an avid nature lover or have driven down Krome Avenue, chances are you've never heard of this place. Once you've found the road, you'll still need to trek deeper through rocky roads and high grass to get to the actual camp. You'll know you've reached it when you find a wooden "Mack's Fish Camp" welcome sign and cabins, airboats, a stilt pavilion, fishing gear, and peeking gator heads. At this point, you'll start to wonder, "Where am I?" But when the sky starts turning shades of purple, orange, and blue and the sun fades onto the horizon, you'll realize there's no other place you'd rather be, even if you have no clue where the hell you are.

The paradise most tourists seek in Key West is actually on the way there. At the late Laura Quinn's Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, native and migratory birds that have lost their way or gotten snagged on fish hooks are repaired and released. On a boardwalk and trail, you can walk among more than 400 species of avians, including pelicans, herons, hawks, ibises, owls, laughing gulls, and turkey vultures. For nearly 40 years, this nonprofit animal rescue has operated on monies donated by the kindest of strangers. And if you want, you can even become a volunteer. Think about it over a frosty pint of Sunset Ale at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen while you wait for a fresh order of Bahamian-style conch salad ($7.95) and a blackened dolphin sandwich ($9.95). Follow it up with a slice of homemade key lime pie ($4.95).

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®