Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Biking the Markham Park Levee
In the realm of "not for everyone" bike rides, this one is right up on the top. It was also on the top of the levee that keeps the Everglades where they belong and the town of Sunrise above water. Where was this ride?
Just north of Markham Park. As you can see from the inviting entrance, it's not all that obvious you are welcome to ride a bike this way. Just past the Danger sign and across the spillway is the ramp to the top of the levee.
Here's the not for everyone part. The ride west is five very straight miles to US 27. The path is crushed rock. No problem for my heavy mountain bike but certainly too much for a street bike. Across the canal is I-595 so this tranquil bike ride is accompanied by the white noise drone of never ending traffic ricocheting across the North New River Canal. I did the full 5 miles out and back and was not quite ready to call it a day. No problem. There is an even longer ride north. Once you get past the pop, pop, Boom of the Markham Park gun range, it's a little quieter. I decided another seven miles out was a good idea. It wasn't until the sixth mile back I decided it was a little too much. Even in February, the Florida sun is brutal.
So why do this? For the entire 4 hours I was out, I saw 6 people and three were walking. Across the canal I saw a good 50 cyclists all dressed alike and in formation. I always prefer the road less traveled and this is certainly that.
There is not much to see. No gators, a few birds, and one turtle in 24 miles. And the vastness of the Everglades of course. For me it was more of an endurance test, a way to empty my mind, and a certainty I would not get run over on a busy Broward County road.
There are other levee trails in the area that will take you a lot farther from civilization and a lot closer to the nature. I suggest you test yourself on this one first. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a snack. There is no shade at all so be aware of your heat tolerance.