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Miami's DecoBikes: The Best Way to Pedal Around South Beach (with a Case of Corona)

August 11, 2011 at 9:31 AM | by | ()

The preferred mode of transportation in Miami Beach is a Bentley. But if you don't want to risk getting yours rained on—and don't mind getting caught in a rain shower yourself—DecoBike is the best way to zoom up and down the beach.

Sure, there's walking (narrow sidewalks, crazy people on Washington Ave., tourists on Collins and Ocean) or catching the South Beach Local bus, which costs a mere quarter. But if you want that magical combo of control, convenience and the feel of the sea breeze in your hair, you've gotta go Deco.

We first told you about this bike rental program a year ago but then, like a new hotel with the best intentions, it got delayed and only made its debut this March. We've been getting our Deco on here and there ever since, and can tell you that it totally lives up to its promise.

One of the best parts about the program is that you don't have to worry about locking your bike up when you go into a store. Anyone who has a nice new beach cruiser in South Beach, let alone a tricked-out, multiple-gears number, soon learns that they won't have it for long if they leave it anywhere outside (locks, be damned!)

The idea of DecoBike is that you use it for errands or to get from point A to point B--you check it back into a station when you pop into Publix or CVS, and just rent another one when you come back out. All the fun, and half as much responsibility!

This only works, however, if you sign up as a local member ($15 to $25 a month), opt for a 1-hour or more access pass ($5 and up), or if you do your errands at lightning speed. The basic a la carte fee is 30 minutes for $4, but the real value is in those monthly rates or even the 8-hour access pass for $24.

We've rented bikes in Miami the old-fashioned way and it costs at least $15 a day--and there's always the worry that someone will swipe it when you turn your back.

Going Deco means less worry about where to lock your bike up, too: there are stations all over the beach—with more still being added—and you can use the DecoBike iPhone App to find your nearest station and check on bike availability.

One caveat: DecoBikes have handlebar brakes--which, for longtime coaster-brakers like ourselves, can take some time getting used to. On the upside, the traffic on the more residential streets of South Beach (west of Washington Avenue) is slow and easy to navigate, and there's truly no better way to start your day than riding a bike down the nice, wide path through Lummus Park, along the beach. No traffic, just plenty of underdressed tourists to keep your eye on.

Pro-tip: You can totally fit a case of Corona in the basket of a DecoBike.

[Photo: Jaunted]

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