Biking through the Village, the Gables and South Miami

Entrance to Pinecrest Gardens

There is no parking lot more beautiful than the one at Pinecrest Gardens. Whether some old parrots designed it that way or not, we have inherited it. Obviously, I am not the only one who thinks so. A few seasons ago, somebody came up with the brilliant idea that a Farmer’s Market might work here, and they were correct. Then when someone decided to slide it over to its current location, they were even more on point. As a result, we are now graced by an ever-improving, year round Farmer’s Market presence under the splendid banyans of one of the world’s most beautiful parking lots.

For me, it’s still a parking lot, often the starting place for many a ride. In order to escape prosecution – thank goodness Pinecrest’s tow trucks aren’t on reality television like Miami Beach’s – I make a point of dropping by for some tomatoes, kettle corn or my favorite 15-year-old Balsamic. I also make ample use of the Recreation Center’s spic and span water fountains and restrooms, but this is beside the point. This parking lot is the gateway to several gorgeous bicycle rides. From my space, a number of splendid reasons to admire Miami exist. If you follow your nose to the smell of the sea, you might find your way across the little pedestrian bridge running over the canal leading into Snapper Creek Lake Parkway – at least that’s what Google Maps calls it.

From there you can cruise over Sabal Palm Avenue to Oak Lane – the names we privileged folks live among! Oak Lane leads to Old Cutler through a gap in the fence and voilà, you are near the entrances to Fairchild Garden and Matheson Hammock. In a few minutes, you can ride the ring around the lagoon, the first place you take all your visitors from out of town as you gloat over the good fortune you have living here. Be careful though, if you forget that you have not taken frequent visitors to the number one money shot of the city, the Beach, and Key Biscayne, you are liable to get an earful.

On the return, you used to be able to bike through Hammock Lakes Drive, but the current construction makes N. Kendall the best bet. From there, a number of options exist, but School House Road will take you directly to Sunset, where you can seek short-term respite at one of three great choices — Whip ‘n Dip for ice cream, Sun Juice for smoothies like the Female Fuel and Cold Curer, or to Buttercream to get your Cupcakes on. Regrettably, Sunday is not a Red Velvet day.

After this sustenance, the ride back seems to go more quickly. Cutting down 54th Avenue is the prettiest way to return; both 54th Avenue and 76th Streets are quite lovely. After shooting behind Lourdes, you must ride for 60 seconds on Kendall Drive past St. Thomas Episcopal before catching the bike path south on the east side of Red Road. If you feel compelled, you can stop again at the Wayside Market or just continue back to the prettiest parking lot in the Hemisphere and the Farmer’s Market if it’s before 2 p.m.

Carl Rachelson has a Masters Degree in the Humanities and is an English Teacher at Palmer Trinity School. He may be contacted by email at <crachelson@palmertrinity.org>.


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