Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Biking on the SW Florida Gulf Coast

An Everglades Bicycle Club friend had told us about riding on Florida's Gulf coast. She asked if we wanted to join her for a couple days of riding there. We did. The weather was changing from the warmth of spring to the soft, humid heat of summer. Winter residents had returned to their homes in the North. Roads had less traffic. Restaurants were manageable again.

Our friend was familiar with the area. She had created two routes for us to ride. This was the real treat for us. The area is rich with bike lanes and paths. But it has numerous large gated communities which can make route planning difficult. She knew which roads to follow. Excellent.

Our first ride (about 77 miles) took us to Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Beaches were busy with people, many stooped searching for the seashells for which the islands are famous. Birders prowled the area with binoculars and cameras. We visited an access point for the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, a must do on another trip to this area. The islands are a treasure.

On our second ride (about 46 miles) we meandered to Fifth Avenue in downtown Naples for a bite at a sidewalk cafe. It was an exceptional ride with lovely intown and beach parks, lushly landscaped residential neighborhoods, wonderful quiet parkways, and glimpses of canals lined with large power boats and sailboats. Beautiful homes were everywhere.

We must not fail to mention that we spotted a rider in a bright orange Everglades Bicycle Club retro jersey in Naples.