FLORIDA KEYS — There’s no better way to experience the Florida Keys’ warm, subtropical breezes and panoramic open-water views than from the seat of a bicycle during the BubbaFest Bike Tour, set for Saturday through Saturday, Nov. 6-13.
Adventurers of all ages and experience levels can ride on the fully supported trek from Key Largo to Key West and back along the famed Overseas Highway, designated an All-American Road in 2009 under the National Scenic Byways program.
Guide Bubba Barron, a retired police sergeant, has been pedaling the island chain since 2002 as a way to combine the natural beauty of the Florida Keys with the thrill of cycling.
“BubbaFest is about enjoying the Keys the way they should be enjoyed,” said Barron.
Riders average a manageable 45 miles each cycling day along a mostly flat route, going at their own pace with a support van available for pooped pedalers. At night, they can either stay at waterfront campgrounds or local motels, and extra days are built into the itinerary to experience the Keys and their notable attractions.
When participants are not biking they can enjoy activities like swimming with dolphins, sailing, sunning, sampling fresh-caught Keys seafood and exploring colorful boutiques and galleries along the island chain.
“I always look forward to good scenery, good food and a good time,” Barron said. “The Keys are a perfect place to ride a bike, and BubbaFest is a perfect event for riders of any ability.”
BubbaFest begins in Key Largo Saturday, Nov. 6, with a 2-4 p.m. registration at the Hampton Inn at Manatee Bay, 102400 Overseas Highway, followed by a 5 p.m. welcome party on the beach.
Sunday, riders bike to Knight’s Key Campground in Marathon. After spending Monday exploring Marathon, they pedal onward to arrive in Key West Tuesday. After two layover days in Key West, participants embark on the return leg of the trip Friday, Nov. 12, and reach Key Largo the following day.
The fee is $595 per rider, which includes six nights of tent lodging at beachside campgrounds, seven breakfasts and four dinners, a private open-air trolley tour of Key West, social events and the services of a baggage truck and support vehicle.
Motel lodging is available for an additional fee, as are pampering options and top-quality rental bicycles for riders who don’t want to bring or ship their own bikes.
BubbaFest is limited to 125 participants. For more details including an event schedule and registration, visit www.bubbafestbiketours.com or contact Bubba Barron at 321-759-3433. For information about the Florida Keys & Key West, including lodging and attractions, visit www.fla-keys.com.