Bicycles, Key West
There are many places where you can rent a bicycle for the hour, day, or week. We rented them for the day - until 5pm for $10 - and rode them around the island. Key West is easily biked due to its small size, but be very careful. It is legal to ride on the sidewalks everywhere but on Duval Street, and we were warned to be alert when going past parked cars, as often the car doors will swing out and take out a bicyclist - apparently it is a common occurrence. There is a lot of congestion, impatient or clueless drivers, drivers who have been drinking, and narrow streets. I say all of this to prepare you, but hopefully not deter you. We thoroughly enjoyed our bike trip - it is an easy way to get some exercise, explore the island, and just enjoy Key West!
Key West is such a compact city you can see almost everything just by walking. However, there are a few locations, such as Fort Zachary Taylor, where a bike would be faster and more convenient especially in the heat of summer. Key West is very bicycle friendly, with low speed limits, hundred of racks for locking up your bike, and even a handful of bike lanes and trails.
We rented bikes from our hotel for one day. The cost was $14 for a 24-hour period and it included a lock for each bike. Sure the bikes are goofy, with the baskets in front and loud bells, but everyone else in Key West has the same kind of bike, because so many are rented!
Our hotel rented the bikes on behalf of a company called Bike Man Bike Rentals. For some reason his logo says, "Biggest Ding-Dong!" Rent directly from the bike man for prices that are a bit lower: $10 per day if you rent for multiple days.
Key West is a small island and a bicycle is all you need to get around. Even the public busses and some of the taxis have bike carriers for when you get tired of pedaling or to impaired to ride. The City Busses only cost two dollars (multi trip passes available) and will carry your bike on a rack on the front, 305-292-8160 or 305-293-6426. The Five Sixes Cab Co. has bike racks on most of their cabs. 305-296-6666 and they now have a fleet of Hybrid SUV cabs.
This is actually a company that rents or sells scooters and bikes - not as a first thought a mobile repair facility for mopeds.
They say (correctly) that the Old Town Historical Area is congested with narrow, meandering streets, lanes and by-ways and parking space is expensive and in short supply. So the only convenient way is on your personal bicycle, scooter or moped. Fly into Key West and rent a scooter, moped, or bicycle. Key West is very flat and fairly small so getting around on a bike is a good option.
Bikes are $12.00 for the first day, $8.00 each additional day, or $40.00 per week.
Scooters are $35 for the day, $40 for overnight and $150 for the week
Bikes are much cheaper. When we were here on our boat, we had folding bikes so that we could ride up to the grocery store or down to the library.
Since parking space is an issue on Key West, the best way to explore the island is by bike. Busy roads have bike ways and there are bike sheds almost everywhere. Most hotels provide bikes for a small fee, but you can also rent one in town. Padlock included.
For the rest of your stay in Key West, forget about your car and rent a bike. There are several bike rental places all over Key West, they are very cheap and the bikes are cared for. You are given a lock for your bike and off you go. It is very easy to get from one side of the Island to the other by riding your bike. You get to see more, stop when you want, and burn off all the beer from the night before. There are plenty of places to lock up your bike and its eco-friendly.
We rented our bikes from two places:
Moped Hospital, 601 Truman Ave. 305-296-3344
Bicycle Center, 523 Truman Ave. 305-294-4556.
Key West is 4mi long and 2mi wide. You have no need for a car.
There are too many cars now and parking is difficult. If you drive to Key West, park your car and do not drive it again until your ready to leave.
Riding a bike is fun and safe if you follow the rules of the road. Stay off of busy streets, use the bike lanes and enjoy. Set out and try to get lost. You can't. Discover tree lined streets and small quiet lanes. Ride along the beaches. It's simple and fun.
Ask your hotel or guest house about bike rentals.
Make sure they provide you with front & rear lights.
Always lock the bike.
Follow the same rules of the road as back home.
Biking or scooters is a quick & enjoyable way to get around Key West! ASAP Bikes & Scooters,
offers free delivery service, at 305-797-0685. It's an inexpensive way to embrace the town & parking is easy. You can call & reerve them in advance; cruiser bikes or mountain bikes; or 1 or 2 seater scooters. You need a drivers license for scooters, & helmets are NOT required, but they will offer you one! Just don't drink & drive!
There are numerous spots to rent bicycles in the Key West area, and if you're so inclined, they're a great way to get around. I believe that most places charge something like $12 a day, maybe less.
One comment on bike riding, though... I'd limit my riding to daylight hours. After dark, the traffic picks up and the median community blood alcohol level increases dramatically, too. Unless you'd like to pay a permanent visit to the Key West cemetary, I'd trade my bike for walking shoes come nightfall.
One other comment...if you do rent a bike, be sure to secure it wherever you're staying or where you leave it. I understand that bikes have a real habit of riding off by themselves sometimes.
The best way to get around is by renting a bike. Although many visitors rent a scooter, it just does not respect the relaxed Key West state of mind, imho.
Many places rent bikes for quite cheap, but do stay from rental places on Duval st and they will scam you:
The moped hospital for example is a good option, located at 601 Truman Ave. I believe it is the cheapest option as a matter of fact: 6$ per day, 30$ per week.
After one full day of walking around Key West, we opted for renting bicycles. We had so many things we wanted to see and do, but found that walking in the heat and humidity really took its toll! Our accomodations, Courtney's Place, had bicycles available for rent at $10 a day. I believe many of the other inns and hotels offer this, as well. We enjoyed getting up early and covering lots of ground before there was much traffic. By about 11:00 a.m. the traffic really picks up, so be careful! We usually stayed on back streets after that time.
As long as its not raining bikes are great for key west. You can avoid much of the traffic and enjoy the warm sunshine. However, if you are going somplace fancy, its raining or you want to travel to another island then you should think about renting a car.
Biking is by far the best way to enjoy key west. Most of the things to do on the island are lumped together, so that you'll rarely ride more than half an hour to get anywhere. The entire island is flat, so (especially when it isn't windy) bike travel is much easier than in most areas. There are racks everywhere, and plenty of bike paths as well. You can rent a bike at a variety of locations, such as Raleigh Bike Rental on Simonton and Truman Ave. If what you're looking for is scenery and/or excersice, I have two favorite routes. One is down Smathers Beach, which is lined by a wide sidewalk the whole way. At one end is a fairly busy beach for tourists and spring breakers, but the other end is quite pretty and there are some unique house boats to look at out past the airport. Another reccomendation is to just bike through the neighborhoods off of White Street. There is a bike path up to just before Truman Ave, and then a wide sidewalk. At one end is the Key West AIDS Memorial and White Street Pier, and along the way are plenty of charming palm lined streets and houses with great gardens.
Key West is a small town with very limited parking. If you must have a car leave it at the hotel. This island is best observed from the open attitude of a bicycle. The motorized scooters which are rentable are fine if you are a motorcyle enthusiast and know what you are doing on one. However, they are VERY dangerous. Just keep in mind that the locals get high praise and recognition from their peers for (and there is no law against) running down "tourists" on a scooter. Just look around and you will see that the "locals" favorite mode of transportation is the bicycle. Just make sure you rent a decent one, and be sure you lock it when you park it. One of the main crimes in Key West is "bicycle borrowing", if you know what I mean.
Walk every inch of old town, meander up and down all the tiny little lanes. Take the KW Literary Walking tour if you like to learn about KW Writers. And go slow, sit down when you can, so you can soak in the atmosphere. If you rent a bike be sure it has a light on it. You can get a ticket if you don't. And don't be caught driving BUI (bicycling under the influence). It's a common offense & very dangerous on those narrow streets.