WANT TO BIKE ON SANIBEL?
Well, you can’t find a better, easier or safer place to bike than on Sanibel Island. It is a very bike-friendly island – and acknowledged as such by an independent group. The League of American Bicyclists has presented Sanibel with their Silver Award – the bicycle-friendly community award. Sanibel is one of only four communities in the entire state of Florida to receive this honor. So bike away on Sanibel. It’s a biker’s island paradise.
WHERE CAN YOU BIKE?
Almost anywhere. There are 24 miles of bike paths on Sanibel. (bike paths are formally called “shared use paths” since they are used by walkers and joggers as well as bikers). Every north/south road on the island – from the Lighthouse Point to Blind Pass – has a bike path as do most of the major east/west roads. They’re almost all paved, separated from the road by a grass median and with water fountains every 2 miles or so. These paths are safe and great for whatever your need – exercise, transport to beaches, shops and restaurants or just quiet pleasure.
If you choose to bike on the road rather than the bike paths that will be OK – not as safe as the bike path but perfectly legal in the state of Florida. But, be aware, if you do that, the state will consider the bike a vehicle, the same as a car, and require the same behavior – such as signaling for a turn, obeying sign instructions and giving pedestrians the right of way.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC TRAILS?
Yes, but you’re not limited to them. There are 14 sections of the 24 miles of island bike paths that have been identified and measured in miles. They can be found at www.SanibelTrails.com. They range from ½ mile to seven miles in length. You can make your own trail by putting several of these sections together for a trail that’s convenient to where you’re staying.
Or, you can follow trails already mapped out by visiting bikers at this website. These trails are developed and mapped out by individuals looking to have fun or train while on vacation. They have different lengths, from 2 to 23 miles, with different levels of difficulty and different environmental surroundings. These can be a good starting point for your rides but, as you become familiar with the island, you will likely plan your own special trail.
SANIBEL ISLAND BIKE RENTALS
Many owners of rental properties have bikes available for the use as do some larger condominium complexes on the island. If not, there are two rental facilities on Sanibel that are listed below. They have every conceivable size and shape of bicycle and pull-along trailers. The rental cost will vary according to the size and speed of the bike and how long it’s rented. Generally a regular, uncomplicated bike will be about $20 for a day with significant discounts when rented for a week or a month. Their websites have complete rate sheets.
- Billy’s Bike Shop located at 1470 Periwinkle Way. Telephone 239 472 5248. They also have a second location at Bailey’s store – 2437 Periwinkle Way. Telephone 239 472 8717. Billy also has Segways and offers three guided Segway tours of the island every day except Sunday. You’ll need reservations (239 472 3620).
- Finnimore Cycle Shop – at 2353 Periwinkle Way. Telephone 239 472 5577.
Sanibel is made to order for bikers of all ages. It’s a relatively small island so everything is easy to get to by bike, so you can take your kids to the beach or shopping without ever using your car. The city loves it when you use your bike because it means less traffic. Not to mention that it is a great way to spend time in the sunshine and reconnecting with your family.
There are so many great things about using your bicycle! It’s good for you, lots of fun and gives you a closer and more personal view of the island attractions and pleasures. But be sensitive to where you are. The Sanibel sun is a strong sun and all the bike paths are not fully shaded. So, take a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and some water and enjoy happy biking on Sanibel.