Lessons Learned: Cycling Ft. Lauderdale to Key West

Hey there, long time no see! Great, secret and exciting things are happening here in California. However, THAT update is for another post in the very near future. We are moving ever closer to the realization of our dream of becoming bicycle touring nomads, but we can’t say too much until things are solidified because of work commitments. THIS post is about a trip Patty and I took, our shake down tour if you will, in July of 2016 starting in Ft. Lauderdale and finishing in Key West. Our goal: trying out the cycle touring lifestyle.

Up to this point we had never spent more than one night bicycle camping. We needed to know if this was something that we could do long term (granted, it was only 4 days in length) and we needed to test our gear and junk. By the end of the trip we both knew we were HOOKED! Without further ado, here are the top five six things we learned on this trip:

6. You WILL want more space in your tent.
We went on this trip with the REI Dash 2, supposedly a tent for two people. No. Just don’t even try it. I mean, we ARE family and we like each other well enough and all but if I had to live in a tent that small for a whole year with Patty smooshed up against me, only one of us would come home alive. When we got back we bought Patty her “own room” a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1.

5. The map knows better than you.
Have you ever ridden HALF A DAMN DAY in the wrong direction? We have. Have you ever asked a cop if you were where you thought you were and had him good naturedly laugh at you? We have.

4. Cycle touring on a timeline SUCKS.
This was no one’s fault but ours. While we had no problem with 40-45 miles/day physically, we DID feel like we wanted to be off the bike exploring more as we went. As it was, we were scheduled to be in Key West within the 4 day time frame to catch our ferry and tour of the Dry Tortugas (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) then meet up with family after that.

3. There are an inordinate and obscene number of mosquitoes in South Florida.
Fortunately, they like Patty better than me.

2. Sixty-five miles in one day won’t kill you.
You’ll just WISH for death, that sweet sweet release from the pain in your legs. We originally planned to cycle 40-45 miles/day. Turns out that mile target was hit right in the middle of the damn seven mile bridge. (can you guess how it earned that moniker?) Yeah, so there we are exhausted and feeling OH SO betrayed by my planning on the side of the bridge. Did you know that the Key Deer is an endangered species of deer only found in the Florida Keys? Did you further know that on the OTHER side of the seven-mile bridge is a Key Deer sanctuary? Yup, fifteen MILES of fenced, segregated, protected sanctuary. No pulling over, no camping, no motels NOTHING but more bike riding…


1. Label your medications.
The cream that you brought for bike-riding-butt-rash will look just like your hair product when you put them in the same type of container. The two products are NOT interchangeable and that’s all we will ever say on THAT subject.

Duration: 4 days
Length: 190mi/305km
Most Distance Covered in One Day: 65mi/105km (OMG! I know, right?!?)
Weight of 1 bike,1 rider & too much gear: 220lbs/100kg (OMG again!)
Average Temp High: 91F/33C
Average Temp Low:  81F/27C
Humidity: 86%
Rain: Mostly dry with a torrential downpour on the morning of day 4
Accommodation: 1 night tent camping
               3 nights hotel (hey don't judge us, it was FREAKIN' HOT!)

(click on an image to open the gallery)

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Hey there! February 2014 after a bit of soul searching but more of a desire to live my life differently, I made the decision to sell my house, sell all the crap that is filling up my life and hit the road for the life of a vagabond. These are my pictures, my stories and my journey...

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