Ready, Set… Bike Captiva & Sanibel Islands..!
Well….here I am writing my very 1st blogpost. My name is Anthony Barr and I am the Mobile Cyclist…..! Along with my short film business My Cycling Story, this blog post will discuss various aspects of bicycling culture. I will also be including a mix of guest bloggers focusing various topics aimed to both educate and entertain…! Well…now that we have the formal stuff out of the way….on to the, good…er, better stuff! I want to tell you about my fantastic experience cycling on Captiva & Sanibel Islands…!
My wife and I , along with 7 other folks from our extended family, took a Post-Christmas trip down to Captiva / Sanibel Islands this past January to delay the midwestern onset of old man winter …for at least another week!
Little did we know that we would come back to our hometown of Zionsville, Indiana to the 1st of several “snowmageddon” waves ..! , but that’s another story
You have to try hard not to enjoy a leisurely ride on a cruiser bike, right…? Well, then you have to try REALLY hard not to enjoy it when riding around Captiva & Sanibel Island Florida..! While the family hadn’t initially planned on cycling, being the ever enthusiastic cyclist that I am, I encouraged all 9 of us, including our niece and two nephews to rent bicycles from Yolos for some “family bonding” opportunities. I would also have also felt a little guilty if I was the only one cruising around on a bike with a big smile on my face…( just a little I said..).
Bicycle Friendly Islands…
Its no surprise thousands of tourists rent and ride their way around these islands all year long, encouraged by a combination of the beautiful coastal landscape, abundance of “cycling & pedestrian friendly” signage and tolerant (most of the time) automobile drivers. The main speed limit of Captiva is 25mph and is farily well adhered to. The typical speed limit of the larger Sanibel 35mph or less throughout an extensive network of more than 22 miles of greenway paths that enable bicyclists to easily navigate most of the island.
Captiva, and neighboring Sanibel are small barrier islands, (1.2 sq miles & 17 sq miles respectively ) off the coast of Fort Myers Beach, Florida and are table-top flat except for the small causeway “bump” of Blind Pass Bridge, that links the two islands. Cars really are more of an inconvenience, especially on the smaller Captiva, due to limited parking opportunities and very small number of main thoroughfares streets. Driving is just a more of a hastle than it is worth. While it is very easy to walk to some destinations, bicycling is really the most convenient and enjoyable way to get around.
Throughout our week on the islands, my wife and I witnessed several bicyclists, from solo riders to large family groups, to couples….mostly all tourists. However, we spied several “locals” evidenced form their much cleaner and more “customized” looking bikes. My trusty silver Electra Cruiser was in fairly decent shape, considering the potential abuse from random renters and the coastal saltwater air. Regardless of where everyone called “home” and what type of bike they were riding…we all had a slight, if downright “toothy” grin on our faces.
Local Hot Spots…
Typical haunts such as the “Mucky Duck” and the family favorite “Bubble Room” are some of the highlights of the quieter, Capitva Island, both of which are accessible off Captiva Drive, the main thoroughfare. As you bike over the short bridge into Sanibel, you will follow the main greenway artery of Sanibel Captiva Road / Periwinkle Way. About halfway along that route, you can stop for lunch at the famous “Doc Fords Rum Bar and Grille”, ( family friendly) put on the map by best-selling author Randy Wayne White. Another unique destination is the word famous J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States. You can cycle through a lazy 4.25 mile paved road, home to some 200 species of birds, mangroves and more. For some of the more hardy bicyclists, you can take the entire 12 mile path all the way to the far east end of the island to the Sanibel Lighthouse.
While the small size, coastal beauty and natural charm of the Captiva / Sanible Islands would be enough for most anyone to enjoy, we felt the experience was just that much better by bicycle..! As we returned our rentals to “Yolos” , we looked forward to our return trip..!