Fitness in the Keys…Bike Riding

In this month’s edition of “Fitness in the Keys” we explore the benefits of bike riding and highlight some great places to petal in the Upper Keys.

Riding a bicycle is an excellent form of exercise. Did you know a leisurely bike ride burns more calories than an easy walk? It is easier on your legs, knees, joints, and feet than running, and it is an exercise you will likely be able to do the rest of your life. Riding is also a unique and beautiful way to experience the Florida Keys.

Justin Preston

Cycling improves cardiovascular fitness and decreases the risk of heart disease. Not only will it decrease the impact on your legs and joints, it will build muscle, especially the lower half of your body to include calves, thighs and your rear end. With a daily routine the additional calories burned will ward off weight gain and control your waistline. Studies have also shown that bike riding helps reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your overall mood.

It is also very important to fit your bike to your body. A poor fit can cause many problems, so just don’t buy a bike for its color or look, go to a reputable dealer and get a bike that fits your body and routine.

The 106-mile Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail is a bike path that stretches the length of the Keys from mm 106 in Key Largo to mm 0 in Key West. It was voted the best place to ride in the State of Florida. The trail is currently still in completion (about 75%) but once finished, all sections will be paved and free of motorized traffic.


Here are my top choices for places to ride along the Overseas Trail in the Upper Keys:

The Old Road: From mm 90 to mm 80 in Islamorada, State Highway 4A parallels US 1. This section offers bike riders an opportunity to get off of the main highway. It is also largely shaded, especially in the morning and evening. There are two short sections where cyclist are required to cross a bridge on the shoulder of the highway, but bikes can easily be walked across if riding is a concern. There are plenty of places to park, shop, and eat along the way.

Biking 2

Long Key Bridge: From mm 71 to mm 62 in Long Key. This section of the Overseas Heritage Trail offers perhaps the most spectacular views of the turquoise waters and blue sky that the Florida Keys has to offer. It includes the 2.2 mile Long Key Bridge, which is the second longest bridge of Henry Flagler Railroad and has been preserved as a bike and foot path paralleling the Highway US1 Bridge. This section of the bike path also runs along Long Key State Park beach for those interested in a bike and a swim.

If you are considering a bike ride in the Keys, remember to be safe. Wear protective sunscreen and sunglasses and drink plenty of water. Also I highly recommend a helmet and brightly colored clothing. In Florida a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle meaning it has the same rights to the road as any other vehicles. This also means the “driver” must obey the same traffic laws including stop signs, lights, and right-of-way.

Places to rent a bicycle in the Upper Keys:

All Keys Cycles mm 103 Key Largo

Key Largo Bicycle and Adventure Tours mm 90 Islamorada

Backcountry Cowboy mm 82 Islamorada

Bicycle Tours and Events:

Key Largo Bicycle and Adventure Tours mm 90 Islamorada

Upper Keys Cycle Paths – Facebook group

Feature written by Seychelle-Ocean Child, Professional Standup Paddleboarder, SUP Yogi, Adventurer

I was born and raised in the Florida Keys and have always had a deep connection to the water. I am an internationally competitive SUP racer and current long distance World Record holder in SUP. I began teaching Yoga on standup paddleboards in 2013. With my extensive knowledge of the sport of SUP and 13 years studying Yoga, I have developed a unique curriculum for teaching safe and FUN yoga classes on the water. I also lead SUP Fitness and Private SUP coaching lessons for beginner to advanced paddlers, as well as lead SUP Yoga teacher trainings. My classes on and off the board are a blend of the diverse styles I have practiced and a journey to cultivate strength, energy, balance, and bliss within our bodies.

I am passionate about life, fitness, nutrition, love, and being happy. I believe that anything is possible. My mantra is “Breathe and Smile”

It is my life’s dream to share this adventure with you.

Blessings and Gratitude,


Seychelle 7

Feature images provided by Marathon Chamber of Commerce and