Just Florida Things: Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island, FL was designed for bike riding; you can literally go anywhere on the island by bicycle. And so, on the second day of our first trip there together, along with a friend from college, we found ourselves at a bike rental shop. On the way there, I tried to convince Justin that a bicycle built for two would be the perfect way to see the island. But as soon as we pulled into the lot, I spotted a surrey: part bicycle, part Flintstone-mobile with an enticing sunshade but only a single speed. We had to have it.
The first part of our adventure was pleasant and uneventful. We were fresh and awake, ready for the day’s adventures, had a full bottle of water, and it was only a few miles to the first beach pit stop. The main bike path on the island runs along the main road and it was a bit like being in our own parade, with us (me, anyway) waving like a princess from the middle seat at the cars that passed us while my ‘two best friends that anyone could have’ put in the leg work of getting us there. My success rate of getting a wave back and making people smile was well over 50%. Most people probably just thought we were three drunk college kids. They would’ve been only a little wrong – we all met in college, but are several years past graduating, now working normal desk jobs. And at that point in time on this particular day of our vacation, no alcohol was involved…yet.
I don’t know if this first beach we stopped at has an official name. It was at the end of Tarpon Bay Rd. The water was cool and sparkling and the beach was fairly quiet. The sand was a grayish white. It was not quite as awesome as the more private beach in front our rented condo, but I base that opinion solely on the quality and quantity of shells. Right at the point of the boomerang-shaped island, I’m not sure if this location is the reason we didn’t find very many shells or if we just happened to stop there during high tide.
After a short visit, we were on our way again. This time, I manned the wheel, with Justin as co-pilot. The guys had worked up an appetite already, so our middle-seat navigator told us to take the bike path that runs parallel to Rabbit Rd, as it conveniently ended next to a restaurant.
Less than 10 minutes after starting the next trek to Bowman’s Beach, we had already sweated out our lunchtime cocktails. By the time we got there, it was definitely time for a lengthy beach break. This beach, having easy public access, was much more crowded than the first we had stopped at, but was just the ticket. We splashed and floated around, tried to find some good shells that weren’t already scooped up by everyone already there, and, most importantly, had a much needed nap under the guise of ‘sunbathing’! Justin, being the caring and thoughtful partner (er, prankster) that he is, was kind enough to bury my feet in the sand while I snoozed so they wouldn’t get sunburned.
Alas, by this time, we had been out past our halfway mark and it was time to turn back. I have to say, the nice leisurely, stop for beaches and lunch start of the trip was much more pleasant than the straight, 8 mile shot back we took, slightly pressed for time, stopping only for water refills along the trail and at the wildlife refuge and to switch passenger, driver, & navigator roles. The most fun thing that happened on this long stretch was that we discovered a new, slightly entertaining method of surrey pedaling:
1. Identify the person with the most energy left
2. This person then stands and peddles like a madman until his legs can no longer function
3. Everyone sits back and enjoys a slight breeze and temporary 60 second respite from pedaling
We barely got that surrey back before the rental shop closed and that same salesman was shocked we took it all the way to Bowman’s Beach. Google Maps says we took that surrey 17.8 miles that day, averaging roughly 3.5 miles per hour over 5-ish hours, including stops. Apparently most people give up after about 20 minutes. I guess as the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Stronger… and sore!
What do you think of our adventure? Have your own story to tell of your time on Sanibel Island? Anyone have a story (and pictures!) of your own surrey adventure? Tell us in the comments!
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Our Favorite Photos From The Trip:
Top Tips & Notes for Next Time: