What are the riding conditions?

Are roads blocked for bikers?
In the State of Florida, we are recognized as a non-permitted event. SMART Ride is not  a permitted event we do not close roads or have police escorts with the exception of opening morning for the first mile and in Key West on our parade and escort to closing ceremonies.  We do notify and work with all police and municipalities that we travel through  so they are keenly aware of our presence. As a fully supported ride we provide our own medical, motorcycle crew, ambulance, etc to ensure your Safety. It is important when you train that you train both offroad and onroad in order to be comfortable with traffic. Along the route, there are  berms and bike paths to utilize, but the reality is you are riding with motor vehicles and they are BIGGER and always win in an altercation.

What is the elevation? (For those coming from out of state, promise not to laugh.)
The Mean Elevation for the State of Florida is 100 Feet, and in the Florida Keys the highest point is 18 feet. Florida remains a relatively flat state with only the most northern part of the state closer to the Georgia border being elevated. Those traveling from other states need not worry about altitude changes, or extreme challenges due to inclines. There are two bridges that rise during The SMART Ride:

  • the 15 mile stretch from Key Largo
  • the 7 mile bridge

Peak height of 18 feet above sea level.

What is the Average Speed (MPH) on The SMART Ride?
The slowest rider averages about 12 Miles/hour and the fastest about 21 miles/hour. The majority of our riders fall within the 12-15 mile/hour range. The ride is timed based on our slower riders so that everyone gets a chance to finish the ride based on their endurance. If someone should fall behind we can pick that individual up and move them forward through our SAG vehicles.

Remember SMART Ride is NOT a race, but rather a ride to raise awareness, and funds for HIV and AIDS.

What kind of support is there? (safety, medical, flat tires, ride etiquette)

This is so important, Safety is our #1 concern on SMART Ride. Once the ride begins, it’s not about the money we raise, it’s not about the agencies we benefit, it’s not about anything but YOUR personal safety. We all didn’t work this hard to get here to let Safety become an issue. To help with your safety we do the following:

  • We have a route marking team that goes out before the ride and marks the route with both signs for the participants but also for the motorists we share the road with, it is just as important that they know that we are on the road and adjust their driving habits and raise their level of awareness.
  • Everyone involved in SMART ride must go through Safety Orientation on Orientation day Thursday November XX, it is here that we reiterate the need to use caution, to use hand signals, to call out your intentions when “passing on the left”, when seeing debris on the road or warning riders ahead that there is a “car back”.
  • In the State of Florida, bicycles are considered vehicles and are subject to the same rules and regulations as motor vehicles. This applies to stop signs, stop lights, right of way and so many more. If you need more information on Law Enforcement and Bicycles on the Road click here to be taken to the brochure. For Group riding there is also a brochure that gives advice. SMART ride has even stricter rules. We do not allow riding two abreast or pace lines, it’s for your safety that we add these rules to the road. Click here to read this brochure.
  • Do not make decisions on your own, please make sure to contact dispatch when plans change, if you need a lift, if you have broken down, or you plan to leave the event. Your decisions small or large can impact the entire Ride. We don’t want to have people looking for you when in fact you decided not to follow the course.

Flat Tires
Every rider should learn to fix a flat and travel with extra tubes just in case you do get a flat tire. The Ride does have bike techs that travel with us and are available at most rest stops, on Orientation day, overnight at Hawks Cay and in Key West to assist you with everything from a bent rim, to a broken chain, to a seat that just needs a little adjusting. It’s a long day and a long ride and having this extra help is there for your safety and protection. You should carry some money with you to pay for parts and it doesn’t hurt to tip the tech who is keeping you safe and sound and in perfect condition.

Medical Support
You will need to complete a Medical Form on Orientation day. This form will be received and reviewed by the Medical Director and kept confidential. Once registered, this form will be available online to be filled out in advance, forms will also be available on Orientation day.

  • The Medical director is available with their team to provide the ride with everything from aspirins to condoms.
  • You are responsible for any medical costs that can not be handled by the medical director and their staff.
  • The ride also travels with an ambulance provided by our sponsor American Medical Response.
  • It happens, sometimes you can get hurt, you can fall off your bike or any other number of things can happen in life. The SMART Ride travels with a medical team and representatives are at every pit stop for those scrapes and bruises, for the sunburn, occasional dehydration and more.
  • If you get hurt or think you aren’t feeling well enough to continue on we have Sweep and SAG vehicles on the road that can pick you up and dispatch you forward to the next pit stop or to the overnight accommodations.
  • Medical is available 24hours a day from our medical director and their team, their Medical office is clearly marked at Hawks Cay and is open if you have any questions.

Ride Etiquette
Anytime you have a large group of people together, it is especially important to remember basic etiquette is a must. People have different moods, styles and ways of operating, but during the 2 1/2 days, we must all work together towards the common goal of making it to Key West. Here are a few things to remember while on SMART Ride:

  • Stay flexible and be patient. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned, but know that your safety always comes first.
  • Treat people as you wish to be treated.
  • Please listen to and respect the Crew Managers and Ride Staff. They are volunteers giving of their time and talents. Their concern is for your safety.
  • Do not make decisions on your own, please make sure to contact dispatch when plans change, if you need a lift, if you have broken down, or if you plan to leave the event. Your decisions small or large can impact the entire Ride. We don’t want to have people looking for you when in fact you decided not to follow the course.
  • Please be respectful of SMART Ride equipment. Many things have been donated, other supplies purchased, and some on loan to us. We guarantee 100% of what the participants raise goes to charity, we can do that by respecting our equipment and not causing unnecessary expenditures.
  • Motivate each other, it goes a long way to be nice, announce your intentions when passing, thank the volunteers they are working hard to make this a lifetime memory.
  • Please THANK our Sponsors they give generously so that we can give 100% of what we raise. Let them know you appreciate them.
  • You are part of the faces of SMART Ride Family and your actions or words could jeopardize the future of the event. It takes a lot to coordinate sponsors, municipalities, permits, volunteers, and facilities.
  • We are proud that we leave facilities we visit equal to or better than what we found them. Your Mom isn’t on the ride, (if she is, she has another crew function) so please clean up after yourself.
  • The Florida Keys offer a very unique environment and special ecosystem, and we want to respect that. We recycle and respect, with your help, this beautiful destination.

Can friends and family cheer us on?

We hope friends and family will support you and see you off on your incredible journey on Friday morning as the sun rises. Personal SAG (Support vehicles) are discouraged from following the route. Your safety is our number one concern and the less traffic in our pit stops and along the route, the safer the ride will be for everyone. Remember, your friends and family have not gone through the same safety orientation you have. The Keys are a heavily traveled and narrow road. If friends and family are found to be in areas that jeopardize the Safety of the riders they will be asked to leave those areas promptly. If friends and family insist on being on the event, the best places for them to cheer you on are at  major shopping plazas, gas stations and other areas where there is room to safely pull off the road and be out of the way of the bicycles.

Our objective is to keep everyone SAFE on the route, and keep the road as clear as possible of extra traffic. Your friends and family should meet you in Key West and be there waiting at closing ceremonies. Closing ceremony will take place at the White Street Pier at the AIDS Memorial. All visitors are requested to be at the White Street Pier no later than 2PM.