An adventure on the Boca Grande Bike Path

 “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.”

~ John F. Kennedy

Former president JFK was absolutely right, it is one life’s greatest pleasures as well as one of the best and healthiest ways to explore or discover hidden treasures at a destination.

Pedaling to breathe in fresh air, listen to the sounds of nature and release stress does wonders for both mind and body.

That’s exactly what we experienced thanks to Earl, the owner of Acme Bicycle Shops during our visit to Charlotte Harbor.

We were invited to go on a 90-minute bike adventure from the northern tip of Gasparilla Island to Boca Grande Lighthouse, the oldest structure in the area which was built in 1890, and located on the south end. The path is 6.5 miles long (10 km).

We got ready for the road ahead by reviewing the basic rules, like sharing the trail with other riders and then picked our mountain bike.

Acme Bicycle Shops, Bicycles, Bikes, Southwest Florida, Charlotte Harbor, Boca Grande, bike, mountain bike, 2 wheels

My ride

We put our helmets on and off we went 😉

Acme Bicycle Shops, Bicycles, Bikes, Southwest Florida, Charlotte Harbor, Boca Grande, bike, mountain bike, 2 wheels

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Harbor Convention & Visitor Bureau Twitter account @CHGIFlorida

Acme Bicycle Shops, Bicycles, Bikes, Southwest Florida, Charlotte Harbor, Boca Grande, bike, mountain bike, 2 wheels

Earl led the way. He also helped me carry my camera bag 😉

Riding is an excellent occasion to start a conversation.   I rode next to Earl and asked him to tell me more about his passion in life!

Acme Bicycle Shops, Bicycles, Bikes, Southwest Florida, Charlotte Harbor, Boca Grande, bike, mountain bike, 2 wheels

Moving along.                                                        Photo courtesy of Jurate from @Discovery_Tours

He opened his first shop a few years ago along with his wife Karen who is also an enthusiastic bike rider and both are very active members in the cycling community. Business is going pretty well,  they now have 3 shops!

Besides selling bicycles (ranging from basic to professional) and offering a complete repair service, they also organize custom-made individual and group tours all over Southwest Florida.

I was very happy to learn that every year Karen leads a group of 20 women and ride 400 miles (644 km) from Charlotte Harbor to Tampa. The “Annual Wheeling Women Tour’’ lasts 6 days! Isn’t that amazing?

I love it when a person speaks so passionately about what they do. They did follow their dreams and are now enjoying every moment!

There aren’t too many international visitors (he was very surprised to hear about all the places I’ve been to. Well, I told him I am a nomad, moving from one place to another) but he would love to see more of them 🙂

Now stopping on the side to capture the beauty of the surroundings was necessary!

trees, Boca Grande Bike Path, nature, outdoors, Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida, FL

Palm trees, flowers, Boca Grande Bike Path, nature, outdoors, Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida, FL

Palm tree, Boca Grande Bike Path, nature, outdoors, Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida, FL

This is a must in any itinerary: the Gasparilla Inn & club, where stars and even ex President Bush & family stay while on the island.

Gasparilla Inn and Club, Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida, FL, Hospitality

Lovely flowers in front of the Inn.

pink hibiscus, garden, Boca Grande Bike Path, nature, outdoors, Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida, FL

Pretty in pink

We still had a distance to go before reaching our final destination, so we continued.

train tracks, Boca Grande train depot, trees, Boca Grande Bike Path, nature, outdoors, Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida, FL

Old train tracks

Banyan Street, Boca Grande Bike Path, nature, outdoors, Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida, FL

Gorgeous Banyan Street

ecosystem, trees, nature, outdoors, Boca Grande Bike Path, nature, outdoors, Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida, FL

Educational tidbits

We were getting closer! 2 more miles (3 km) to go!

road sign, Boca Grande Bike Path, nature, outdoors, Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida, FL

This is the Rear Range Light built in 1927

At last!

BocaGrande Lighthouse entrance, outdoors, Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida, FL

Our final destination

BocaGrande Lighthouse, museum, Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida, FL

Boca Grande Lighthouse

What a great challenge that was! To celebrate this, I headed over to the beach to feel the white sand beneath my feet 🙂

Too bad it was grey & windy and we felt rain drops (you can see them on this pic). Otherwise I would have run straight to the water!

at Boca Grande Lighthouse

We had to leave, so we dropped off our bikes and bid farewell to our guide!

Acme Bicycles, bikes, bike rack

Honestly, we were all exhausted but really proud to have made it to the end.

I stopped quite often along the way, not just to get some rest, but to truly enjoy the sights and bring back memories.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Earl for his kindness, knowledge and professionalism. Every time I had to take a photo, he would stop and wait for me as well as Jennifer! So thank you both so much for your patience 🙂

Many thanks also to Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau, Above Water PR and Acme Bicycle Shops for coordinating this fun adventure!

Now over to you.

Do you like cycling?

Where are your favorite places?

Let me know 😉

P.S: I would like to dedicate this post to a special person who was one of the brightest, cheerful, supportive and caring persons I ever had the chance to meet online and in real life. She absolutely loved cycling and was an award-winning athlete. I am pretty sure she would have been the first to comment (as she always did) & congratulate me on having accomplished this feat!

This is for Anita Mac, who unfortunately is no longer with us. She left way too soon. I learned the sad news earlier this week and it was very hard to accept. I had only spoken to her a few weeks ago. She not only was a fabulous travel blogger but also a great human being. She helped me so much in the past months and I feel so sorry that I was not there to lend an ear, simply listen and help her in return.

I already lost my best friend in similar circumstances and it took years for that wound to heal 😦

She will be missed dearly. I hope she found true happiness and peace she was searching for.

RIP.

Love always,

Kay

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4 thoughts on “An adventure on the Boca Grande Bike Path

  1. Ardun Ward says:

    Hi Kay! It looks like it was a great ride, I love the old train tracks next to the road. Sorry to hear about your friend, good job dedicating this post to her, i’m sure she is smiling down on you while reading it. 🙂

    • traveller soul says:

      Thank you so much Ardun!

      How are you & how are your travels? Must catch up with you! Sorry ;(

      I’m happy you liked it. It was quite a long ride but i didn’t give up!

      Cycling is so relaxing but a workout at once 😉

      Well I still am in disbelief and really sad about it. We were part of a small community online so it hurts.

      Sometimes people are so busy talking about their probs that they forget to ask strong people (like me) how we are.

      We do have issues and go through difficult times too but we don’t vent it out.

      Sometimes we want to solve probs alone but we must seek for help right?

      I appreciate the time you took to read and thanks for visiting!

      TTYS

      Kay 😉

      P.S: I see that you’re in Ecuador? How is it? 😉

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