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Gulf & Main Magazine

Bicycle-Friendly Travels - Hop On A Bike For A Safe, Fun and Cost-effective Way To See A City

Jun 25, 2018 08:00AM

The bicycle paths on Sanibel Island travel through both shady nature stretches and commercial areas

Biking through a city can be a scary experience. Though the idea of cars whizzing by may sound terrifying, it’s not as complicated or dangerous as it seems when you choose a well-planned route. The League of American Bicyclists is on a mission to lead the movement to create a bicycle-friendly America for everyone. Aptly named, the league’s Bicycle Friendly America program provides a road map, hands-on assistance and recognition for states that support cyclists. With 26 bike-friendly communities, 76 bike-friendly businesses and 6 bike-friendly universities, Florida is ranked number 15 in the United States as one of the most bike-friendly state. And lucky for us, Southwest Florida boasts three of the Sunshine State’s 26 communities that make the cut: Cape Coral, Naples and Sanibel.

Some wonderful bike paths are available for cycling your way through Southwest Florida’s sites. Pick a route and hit the road to discover wildlife, parks and local businesses. Here are two great routes in our award-winning communities to help you start exploring on your bicycle.

Cape Coral

Throughout Lee County, bicyclists find various pathways for pedaling and exploring.

In 2015, the City of Cape Coral received the designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community-Bronze from The League of American Bicyclists. (The league’s rating system has five tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.) There are more than 90 miles of interconnected bike routes in Cape Coral, and seven dedicated bike routes created by the city that highlight some of the best sites and activities. One is the Chamber of Commerce Route, a 17-mile trek traveling from Veterans Memorial Parkway and Surfside Boulevard around the southern perimeter and back north to Veterans Memorial Parkway at Country Club Boulevard. Along this route you will discover Cape Harbour, Camelot Park, Tarpon Point Marina, Rotary Park and Jason Verdow Memorial Park. This route also connects to the other dedicated routes. Download the maps of all bike routes at capecoral.net.


Sanibel Island

Many people view Sanibel Island as one of the most bike-friendly areas in Southwest Florida. Designated in 2014 as a Bicycle Friendly Community-Silver, the island has over 20 miles of various pathways from the Sanibel Lighthouse to Blind Pass. The two main routes—Periwinkle Way and Gulf Drive—connect at Rabbit Road, Tarpon Bay Road, Casa Ybel Road, Donax Road and Lundgren Boulevard, making it easy to create a loop that is as long as you want.

If you enjoy city biking here in Southwest Florida, take your love on the road for more adventure. You can use The League of American Bicyclists website to research other U.S. destinations where exploring on two wheels is not only fun but safe thanks to approved mapped-out routes. There are currently more than 400 recognized Bicycle Friendly Communities throughout the U.S. Check them out at: bikeleague.org/bfa

Like driving, every state has a different set of laws for cyclists, so it’s worth brushing up on the basics. Most importantly: Follow the rules of the road just as you would in a car. Don’t run traffic lights, yield to pedestrians, and make sure you’re in the correct lane when you’re turning.

Exploring a city by bicycle can be fun and cost-effective—and lead you to places you may just pass unnoticed from a car. Be safe and enjoy the paths of Lee County.


Bicycling Tips

  • Keep yourself safe while biking around the city this summer.

  • Treat the bicycle lane like a traffic lane, not a safe zone.

  • Choose or adjust the bike so it fits your body type.

  • Ride a city-appropriate bike.

  • Put lights on your bike.

  • Don’t wear headphones.


Mandy Carter is a local mom with a passion for family travel, a popular travel blogger including her own family blog at acupful.com, and the managing editor for TOTI Media.