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By Jim Fullerton

Dust off your panniers and oil that bike chain – we’re going to Florida!

Well, just not anywhere in Florida. No way! The Trail Rats are being invited to bike the famous Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, with a twist. That’s 165-miles of pure sunshine, turquoise oceans, and warm temperatures.

And the BEST part – it’s happening this coming March! And the cost is $589.

Upon your arrival in Miami on Monday, March 5th your best trail friend will be waiting for you – your trail bike. Get plenty of rest because we are biking out of Miami bright and early on Tuesday morning, March 6th and arriving in Key West three-days later, Thursday, March 8th for an overnight stay until Friday.

From there on it’s really up to you how long to stay. Either turn your bike in Friday for transportation home, or, keep it until Sunday if you’re staying the weekend. We will make sure your bike gets back to Genesis Bicycles safe and secure.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN YOUR TOUR FOR $589

  • Bicycle and gear round trip transportation in an AirCaddy;
  • Support and Gear (SAG) van everyday;
  • Ready-at-hand League Cycling Instructor Ride Leader on the trail;
  • Pre-tour training clinic;
  • The BEST riding partners ever for 5-days.

(Lodging and meals not included)

ITINERARY

The entire adventure bike tour runs from Monday to Friday, March 5th to the 9th, 2018. If you are planning on staying in Key West for the weekend (who wouldn’t), you can turn your bike in to us for shipping on Saturday or Sunday, no problem.

Pre Trip starts right after you RSVP with lodging and transportation decisions. Are you going Trail Rat Hard-Core with camping, or are you interested in “Trail Ratting” at Max-Level with hotels, or, something in between like a Trail Rat MashUp where you mix and match camping with hotels. Whatever your decide, start early with overnight and flight reservations. It’s PEAK SEASON in Key West in March.

Day Zero — The adventure starts in Miami on Monday, March 5, when you arrive and check-into your hotel for the evening. Once settled in, join Paul and I that evening for a group dinner before the ride starts if you’d like. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, because the adventure starts with us snaking our way out of the urban landscape of Miami and into the wilds of the Everglades National Park.

We are staying at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Miami Airport South. Free shuttle service from Miami International Airport, Included is a FREE breakfast, 3-Stars, 4.5 on Trip Advisor, pp. dbl. occ.

Ride Day 1 — Miami to Key Largo, 62-miles: Tuesday, March 6, we depart early right from the Fairfield Inn & Suites Miami Airport South. Combining both urban street travel in the Miami area with dirt trails through the Everglades National Park, we should reach our Key Largo lodging well before the end of the day. The “twist” mentioned earlier is our routing through the Everglades.

Ride Day 2 — Key Largo to Marathon, 60-miles: Wednesday, March 7, after eating a hearty breakfast, we say goodbye to Key Largo and head off to Marathon. Traditionally, Key Largo is the starting point for the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.

Today though is your first day being totally surrounded by scenes of turquoise water as you ride – Gulf of Mexico to your right and the Caribbean to your left. The route is a mixture of hard-packed white sand, but mostly macadam with the Heritage Trail weaving on and then off the Overseas Highway. Passing through small fishing towns like Islamorada ” Village of Islands” and Long Key on our way to Marathon will surely fill your photo albums with breathtaking views.

Ride Day 3 — Marathon to Key West, 43-miles: Thursday, March 8, brings anxious Trail Rats out early – for we arrive in Key West by day’s end. The 45-flat miles that remain of the Overseas Heritage Trail is mostly paved and running parallel with the Overseas Highway. Passing through many “keys” and the the famous Seven Mile Bridge as we enter Key West and onwards to the Southernmost Point in the United States and a celebratory toasting to another adventure . And the completion of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.

Day 4 — in Key West: Friday, March 9, means either you are flying out that day or you are extending your vacation in paradise at least a couple more days, or longer. If you are departing by air in Miami there are shuttle buses and private vans from Key West available throughout the day. All bicycles need to be turned in to me by Sunday morning, or earlier.

YOUR BIKE, YOUR GEAR, AND YOU

Adventure bike touring is somewhere in between mountain biking (MTB) and road touring. It’s a fairly new bike trend that’s getting a lot of interest from people for many reasons.

My adventure bike tours are always focused on the individual rider experience, not a group. Because each rider needs to be able to ride their own ride as they imagined it.

What I do is create the conditions for you to act out your imagination.

Clinics will be offered during the winter on Survival Guide to Self-Contained Adventure Bike Touring – so no worries if you’re a first-time adventurer.

While adventure bike touring routes can vary between single dirt tracks and paved roads, this tour leans more towards rough road touring – although you will be on gravel trails in the Everglades. Yet, most of the riding is done on FLAT paved asphalt trail surfaces. No significant climbs on this tour, except the 37 bridges that need crossing.

The BEST type of bicycle to have for this tour would be an adventure bike, a cyclocross bike, a randonneur bike, a expedition touring bike, a bikes equipped with racks and/or frame packs. Road bikes equipped with typical road tires (700×18-23ish) are not recommended.

VEHICLE SUPPORTED

On this tour there is limited space in the support vehicle to assist riders on a short term basis if ill, injured or unable to ride due to mechanical failure. Our ride leaders are not certified bicycle mechanics, although they can assist you with minor repairs and maintenance. Riders must rely on bike shops or your own skills for bike repairs and maintenance. We will assist with locating shops.

CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS

This tour is designed for a minimum of 12 riders. Anything less and I have to cancel, with a full refund back to you. Once we reach that magic number “12” the tour is on!

A waiting list will be started once the 12 RSVP level is reached. If cancellations occur, or the waitlist increases to five entires, people on the waiting list will be contacted in the order of their entry date onto the waiting list (including a guest).

If you must cancel your RSVP, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the terms outlined below. Exceptions to our cancellation policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather, terrorism, civil unrest or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. Percentage charges are calculated on total trip cost.

Days prior to trips start:

  • 100+ – $40 FEE
  • 99-61 – 30% FEE
  • 60-31 – 60% FEE
  • 30-0 – 100% FEE

A deposit of $40 is due with the RSVP. That can be paid by check, debt/credit card, or PayPal. Then 50% of the remaining balance is due by December 15, 2017 with the remaining balance due paid in full by February 6, 2018, by check, debt/credit card, or PayPal.Related

Source: Adventure Bike Touring


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