Riding the 7-MIle Bridge

Where we last left off on Thursday (4/12), I rode from Key Largo at the start of the Keys to Marathon (1/2 way or 50-miles). Half-way on any journey is a good feeling. This US highway 1 gets a little less crowded and you see more water. But you also see traffic moving very fast.

Now, on Friday the most intimidating section was ahead, the 7-mile Bridge. This is a long, long stretch that rises up a few hundred feet that was never designed with the cyclist or pedestrian in mind.  Probably the closest example is riding something like the Chessapeak Bay Bridge. On your right is a 3-4 ft high cement barrier edge and on the left is the traffic. The only relief for a cyclist is to hold the line with within a 4 foot shoulder with no relief for the next 7 miles.

For this challenge, I’ve been advised to use mirrors on the bike and helmet to stay safe. In my riding experience in traffic, the more important thing is to be super aware of sounds and the road ahead and concentrae on holding a line – not waivering. Its simply not possible to react to someone coming up on your left in traffic with all that’s happening around you. If you do, I would bet you would be less safe and be scared to death of reacting the wrong way.

The Seven Mile bridge was fairly easy for me, but not as nice a ride as it could have been if there were provisions to stop. Fortunately, there were many other places along the way where that was possible. For cyclist and cars, there are many turnouts, parks and even shoulders where you can stop and take in the beauty. In fact, one unique construction you find are pedestrian bridges with cutouts for fishermen(women) because fishing is such a popular activity.

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