As Zickie and I learned on our recent trip, it's impossible not to fall for tiny North Bimini island in the Bimini archipelago. You'll find conch salad stands and shimmering seas and waterfront bars and "Bimini bread," to name just a few of its attractions and temptations. A friend who's spent a decent amount of time here had told us, "Rent a golf cart to see the island," which sounded like good advice. But the best laid plans....well, you know where I'm going with that. After we showed up at the Under the Sea rental office our first morning on-island, we learned that (gasp!), there were no golf carts left to rent! The horror. So we pulled ourselves together and rented bicycles. Just in case you think this is no big deal, let me add: I had not ridden a bicycle in over twenty years.
(Biking our way through an island getaway. Photo by Island Runaways/Z.A.)
I won't bore you with an account of me getting my balance and trying not to get distracted by the scenery so I wouldn't crash into a palm tree. Eventually, the skill started to come back ("just like riding a bicycle") and I relaxed and discovered, hey, this whole biking thing is pretty enjoyable. The roads are really only one lane or one-and-a-half lanes wide, but on the other hand, there are few cars. But you'll see a lot of golf carts. That weekend we discovered many tourists from our home base of Miami driving their golf carts as maniacally as they drive during rush hour on I-95. (Slow down, folks! You're vacationing on a Caribbean island. Isn't the whole point to stop rushing around?)
Tooling around Bimini by bicycle really grew on both of us. By the second day of biking we'd come to the conclusion that bikes and Bimini are the perfect combination. So, without further ado, here are 4 really compelling reasons to skip the golf cart (at least for one day) and try biking in Bimini:
REASON # 1. CONVENIENCE. You can coast over to the side of the road and snap pictures without pissing anybody off. Your golf cart won't be blocking traffic! It's easy! And hey, if there's a curb or uneven surface getting back on and off the road, one cool thing I'd forgotten about? You can walk your bike over any bumps or spots of trouble. Yep, bikes are pretty easy to maneuver.
(The Island Runaways duo pulls off for a quick photo op. Photo by Island Runaways/Z.A.)
REASON #2: BIKES ARE QUIET. As in really quiet. Unless you're riding an old clunker, your bike isn't going to make noise above a bare whisper. Most of the golf carts on Bimini create a decent amount of sound. Why should you care? You know the phrase "peace and quiet"? Sometimes that's a blissful state to achieve on an island paradise. And I realized how fabulous it was, to experience Bimini with its bird song and the sound of waves, as I just peddled along. Motors have a tendency to drown out some of the soundtrack of nature. Bikes let you listen.
(Biking allows you to hear the sounds of the sea. Photo by the island travel blog Island Runaways.)
REASON #3: MORE CONCH FRITTERS. Um, what? How can riding a bike somehow get you more of those crunchy, crispy, delicious Bahamian treats? Well, it's not that bicycling makes them magically appear, but if you sight-see by bike you can eat even MORE of them. Think of all the calories you're burning without even realizing it. Yes, I realize this makes me sound greedy, but conch fritters, Bimini bread, and other Bahamian specialties are very hard to resist. Throwing a little movement into your day helps you justify giving into temptation. In fact, I had two different tourists come up to me at different times and say, "I wish I'd rented a bike," for this very reason.
(Two bikes in Bimini Bahamas. Photo by Island Runaways/Z.A.)
REASON #4: DESIGNATED PARKING AT THE BIMINI BIG GAME CLUB. The Bimini Big Game Club is one of North Bimini's coolest spots, for its hotel, bar, marina, ocean-front restaurant, and of course, the Hemingway mystique. This translates to one heck of a lot of golf carts in the parking lot. Did that bother us? Nope, because we found we had plenty of space to park our bikes in the designated area:
(Parking at the Bimini Big Game Club. Photo by Island Runaways/Z.A.)
No other bikes appeared, so we had the space all to ourselves. Pretty neat.
Here's a little video Zickie shot while he was biking:
Sure, golf carts can be super fun, without a doubt. But I think next time I'm on Bimini I'll be sticking with two wheels. Til next time, cheers!