Thursday, December 19, 2013

Miami at Sunrise

Venetian Causeway just before Sunrise
So for safety's sake I've been waking up early to ride my bike.  By early I mean between 5AM and 5:30.  The reason I ride so early is mostly to avoid car traffic, and be a considerate cyclist who feels that taking up a lane, alone, at 5AM should no big deal to the 4 other cars on the road at that time.  I try stick to main thoroughfares like Biscayne, Flagler, Collins because they're well lit and well paved. Also, if I should fall at 5:15 AM on a main thoroughfare, odds are that a good Samaritan might actually stop and help.  The few times I've fallen in the last 25 years of riding, someone has always stopped within seconds to inquire and help if needed. Yes, that is Miami too.
Miami is pretty cool between 5AM and 6:00 AM.  The streets are well lit, but empty, sometimes it's still too early for the kitchen and housekeeping staffs to arrive at the bus stops.  A few lone cyclists ride along these stretches sometimes well-lit with blinking lights front and back, sometimes they are pedaling away just using streetlights as their only illumination. Sometimes I ride along with those unlit guys sometimes because I feel I'm doing them a service with all my blinking lights on my helmet and bike.
The things you notice at 5AM:  Surprisingly, roads are in good shape.  Miami is not a city of pot-holes, however Miami Beach is.  Miami is very well lit, its buildings, neighborhoods, landscaping is all lit up to highlight it's fantastic architecture and greenery.  There are few cars on the road and in some cases the traffic lights blink yellow.

Legion Park, sunrise
Things start to change at 6AM though.  Traffic increases. The dog walkers emerge.  The bus stops start to fill up with the working class, maids, cooks and construction.  The construction sites start to come to life at this time. Food trucks, and the hard hat men start to stream into the new buildings going up on the beach and downtown.  The smell of marijuana wafts from the areas where the construction workers park.
7AM is when the joggers and walkers emerge. Crack of dawn. By this time I hope to be riding my bike in Hollywood or Miami Beach along the paths that line the ocean.  The age of the walkers/joggers/runners vary by location, but trend younger as you head south towards Miami Beach, older (and more Canadian) in Hollywood and Dania Beach.   Collectively everyone stops riding, walking, whatever to stop and watch the sunrise. For about five minutes everyone who is awake stops watches the sun poke up in glorious reds, pinks, and blues from the ocean.  Regardless of age, or predicament in life, I think  they smile and welcome the day. I mean, watching the sunrise, on a beach, in January.....what's not to smile about?
Then a sprint home to beat the traffic.
South Pointe Park