Ray’s Adventure Ride for May 2012 was a trip to Sanibel/Captiva islands located near Fort Myers Florida. We met at the Publix Grocery Store, Sanibel Beach Place 20321 Summerlin Road(across from Tanger Outlet Shopping Center). The route map is courtesy of the Caloosa Riders and lays out a 53 mile round trip, 27 miles to Captiva. Crossing the first causeway bridge is awesome, spectacular views of the gulf, it’s priceless. No, really it is. Bicycles ,walkers, joggers etc can skip the $6.00 fee. It’s 70 feet (21 m) high and stands as the tallest bridge in Lee County. I have friends who ride this bridge on a regular basis for training. The beaches along the way are all very natural and the water is a clear aqua marine color. The whole area is very natural looking for that matter. Traffic on the islands is light in May and the local motorist are expecting to see cyclist. There are miles and miles of bike paths but they were clogged up with cruiser bikers, no helmets riders, walkers etc. Needless to say the bike paths are a hazard for cyclist as Jessica Kurti can attest to. Jessica Kurti “I was riding in a pace line on the road. In the middle of our group. Guy on a beach cruiser (no helmet) decides to turn off the pedestrian path, over the grass (a safe crossing area wasn’t too much farther) to cross the street into his development. Didn’t even see me. With my most excellent bike skills, I managed to maneuver without tanking. Neither of us fell. He was very fortunate to run into me. Had I been a car, he would have been seriously injured if not dead. Dude didn’t even apologize! Pssh. Dumb ass.” All’s well that ends well.
We kept a nice pace and reached Captiva’s South Seas Plantation Gate without breaking a sweat. It’s great when everyone’s enthusiasm and abilitys match up. One of my friends was on her brand new bike, while another was celebrating his birthday and yet another was celebrating getting back in the saddle after a prolonged foot injury. Our plan was to go back the way we came and stop for lunch and joint lube.
Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille sit right along the Sanibel-Captiva Rd. and made for a nice lunch stop. It was highly recommended by some friends and I’m glad I took their advice. We sat out at a big table on a covered deck. It seemed a little deserted, probably because most of the snow birds had gone back to Ontario, Michigan, Minnesota etc etc. The food was good, the joint lube was cold and the atmosphere was slip your shoes off laid back, my kinda place. The waitress caught wind of a birthday within our midst and came through with a big piece of carrot cake to pass around. Life is good.
I need to back up for a minute. Celebrating your birthday as a cyclist means you have to ride your age in miles. Well our birthday boy that day was celebrating the 38th anniversary of his 21st birthday, so we’ve still had a ride ahead of us. (A young rider in our group mentioned that he needs to find some younger people to ride with, less birthday ride miles). Back on the bikes off we go heading south to the Sanibel Light House located at the southern most tip of the island. Surprise surprise, its located on a beautiful beach. We roll up, take a few pictures and off we go heading back to the Causeway Bridge. Up and over and now heading back to the Publix Supermarket. BUT WAIT, We still have to add some birthday miles. We stay on the Summerlin Rd. bike path heading east and make a right turn on John Morris Rd. This takes us to San Carlos Bay Bunche Beach Preserve, a very nice out of the way very natural beach. The return trip back to cars rounds off the required birthday ride miles.
It doesn’t get any better than this for riding in South West Florida. The group that day was made up of positive, motivated, fit and happy people. Spirits are naturally off the chart when riding and the Sanibel /Captiva ride just amplified all these positive aspects.
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