I have been encouraged to see work taking place on various old bridges in the Lower Keys so it seems like the bike path alongside the Overseas Highway is closer to becoming a reality the length of the Keys...one day. That thought put me in mind of an essay I photographed last year on the bike path.
Florida Heritage Bike Path
You'd be astonished to see how many people ride this trail in the early morning darkness when I'm motorcycling home at 6 in the morning. Modern bicycle headlights on some bicycles are as bright as motorcycle headlights and as they make their way through the bushes they give the impression of a well off course motorized machine coming at you from the wrong angle.
The state is bury making a true Heritage Trail all the way down the Keys and soon I hope to post some pictures of a new bridge the state has built connecting Summerland Key to Cudjoe. I am quite surprised to see so much bicycle-related road work going on but it is welcome. Frankly I wouldn't mind a whole bunch of shade trees even ones as slender as hurricane resistant sabal palms to make the path more bearable in summer.
I love seeing the winter riders out for a jaunt properly done up in safety gear and workmen's high visibility safety gear. This bright reflective stuff is everywhere part of the trend of passive "safety devices" designed to shift the responsibility for one's well being on others. When out riding I figure it's up to me to pay attention to look after myself and not to expect others to notice me, but I'm bucking all expectations there.
The bicycle bridge is built on the foundations laid by Henry Flagler's railroad crew around 1911 which railroad was turned into a highway by the government in 1938 after Florida bought the right of way from the bankrupt railroad. And then World War Two require further upgrades as marked in the cement alongside the white water pipe on the "new" (1982) road bridge. The first piped water from Miami was brought to Key West by the military in 1942. Prior to that residents of the Keys lived off cisterns and rain water which modern standards suggest is unhealthy. Who knew? About the only thing I miss from my house on Ramrod Key was the water cistern. I found it healthy and delicious.
A close up of some mangroves. Fascinating bushes are mangroves, sucking up salt water and expelling the salt to use the water.
It was a strangely alluring view across the waters. You can see why people would bust a gut riding a bicycle around here.
And when it all gets too exhausting they have the occasional bench facing the highway for a better view of cars passing in your face.