Thousands of people frequent the 27 miles of bike paths on Sanibel every year, and how can we blame them? We are so lucky to have such a beautiful, bike friendly island! Here are some local biking tips from our staff:
1. If you're visiting, rent a bicycle at Billy's Bike Rentals. They have a bike for everyone - single-speed, multi-speed, hybrids, and bikes for kids! Billy's also has a bike shop for all of your gear needs if you are an experienced cyclist, and they have a great map of our island bike paths on their website!
2. Bike through Wildlife Drive at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. For only $1.00, this trail will take you inside the refuge where you will see many types of wading birds, mullet jumping, and maybe even an otter or two. Wildlife Drive is a 4 mile pedal within the refuge, then brings you out on Sanibel-Captiva Road where it's just 3 miles back to the refuge entrance. A great 7-mile loop that will leave you deserving an ice cream!
3. Visit Bailey Homestead (off of Periwinkle Way just past Dairy Queen and the Lazy Flamingo) for off-road biking. One of the most serene off-the-beaten-path spots on Sanibel, this hard shell-packed trail is great for mountain bikes (or walking) and allows you to feel far removed from the hustle and bustle of the main bike path. It's also a great place to spot large alligators and dozens of cormorants and anhingas drying their wings.
4. Take a turn down the back roads. There are dozens of charming neighborhoods off of San-Cap and the Gulf Drives, just waiting to be explored. Fill up your reusable water bottle and venture out in search of your island dream home.
5. Bike the entire island at least once! Just under 15 miles, the main bike path takes you from the Sanibel Lighthouse all the way to Blind Pass in Captiva. This day trip is a must-do for all levels of bikers because there is just so much to see - Gopher Tortisoes munching on grass, Red-shouldered Hawks soaring overhead, and lush vegetation lining the roads. You can refill your water bottle at Ding Darling along the way and refuel with a delicious lunch in Santiva. Or if you're ambitious, carry on all the way to Captiva and say hello to the manatees at Jensen's Marina!
Do you have biking tips to add? Do share!