After pedaling the beach road in Key West, the Zombie Bike Ride invades the downtown area. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly

Zombies are typically pictured staggering through desolate landscapes, but that’s not what transpired Sunday evening during Key West’s Fantasy Fest Zombie Bike Ride.

Instead, several thousand of the “undead” hopped on bicycles and pedaled along the island’s Atlantic Ocean shoreline and streets, presenting an eerie yet oddly lighthearted spectacle.
A pre-Halloween tradition for families and groups, the Zombie Bike Ride capped the first weekend of Key West’s 10-day Fantasy Fest, a costuming and masking festival that continues through Sunday, Oct. 29.

The ride’s participating men, women and children sported everything from gory face paint and ragged garments to “zombified” tutus, nautical garb and pirate attire.

Zombies on wheels even propelled a towering insect with moving legs, a huge red-winged dragon and a sinister shark.

The “undead” horde biked alongside the Atlantic Ocean and into Key West’s historic downtown, where the unearthly antics culminated in the ZombieFest After Party.

Fantasy Fest’s upcoming events include a masquerade for pets, an exotic walking procession and an evening parade Saturday, Oct. 28, featuring lavish motorized floats and elaborately costumed marching groups.

Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.