The best way to see Sarasota is in the eye of the beholder. It could be from a chaise lounge on Siesta Beach, a boat on the Gulf or in the galleries of the Ringling Museum. Or, it could be from a bike, coasting from north county to south, taking in all the sights, sounds and perfect weather in the open air.
Combine exercise, fun and sightseeing in one. Whether you're a competitive cyclist or just looking for a leisurely bike ride, you'll find what you need in Sarasota.
Bring one, buy one or rent one. Here's the scoop on where to get the bikes and where to take them.
If you're staying on Siesta Key, you can skip the rental car all together. Bike to the beach, dinner in the Village or just go for a leisurely ride. Siesta Key Bike and Kayak (1224 Old Stickney Point Rd., Sarasota, 941-346-0891, www.siestakeybikeandkayak.com) and Siesta Sports Rentals (6551 Midnight Pass Rd., Sarasota, 941-346-1797, www.siestasportsrentals.com) are great options if you're looking to rent a bike during your stay. Robin Hood Rentals (5129 Ocean Blvd., Sarasota, 941-554-4242, www.robinhoodrentals.net) is also conveniently located on Siesta Key. And if you're planning to ride the Legacy Trail, Real Bikes (581 U.S. 41 Bypass, Venice, 941-485-3113, http://realebikes.net/) offers a handy location near the southern end.
If you're looking to train or you're in Sarasota to compete, bike rentals can help you save on the time and expense of traveling with a bike or shipping one down. In addition to the sports rentals located on Siesta, some other area bike shops also offer rentals! Stock up on bike clothing, supplies and more while you're there. Village Bikes has two locations--one in Sarasota at 3898 S. Osprey Ave. (941-366-7702) and another in Lakewood Ranch at 8111 Lakewood Main St. (941-388-0550). If you're interested in setting up a reservation, give them a call! For more information, visit http://villagebikes.com/.
Real Bikes is located near the Legacy Trail bike overpass over U.S. 41. The store sells a number of top brands of bicycles and bikewear and organizes cycling events.
Village Bikes is not only a bike shop, but a coffee bar! Combine your love of cycling and coffee and find it all in one place. You can even mingle with fellow riders over a cup of java. Village Bikes sells all-terrain, cross/hybrid, cruisers and classic and road bikes, in addition to a variety of supplies like helmets, pedals, shoes, clothing, car racks, lighting and much more.
Sarasota Cycle and Fitness (3800 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-366-4144, www.sarasotacycle.com), formerly Sarasota Schwinn Cyclery, also has a large selection of bikes in addition to clothing, accessories, electronics, tools and more.
Ryder Bikes, which has locations in both Sarasota and Bradenton, is located at 1530 Dolphin St. in Sarasota. Call 941-951-5480 or visit http://ryderbikes.com for more information. Ryder sells a wide variety of bikes, including BMX and specialty bikes, as well as a large selection of apparel and accessories.
Tempo Cyclery (4047 Clark Rd., Sarasota, 941-894-3030, www.tempocyclery.com) sells road bikes, triathlon bikes, fixed gear and single speed bikes, BMX bikes, mountain bikes, cruisers, youth bikes and three wheelers. The shop also has coordinated bike rides, which provide opportunities to have fun, exercise and socialize with fellow cyclists.
Where to Ride
There is no shortage of beautiful scenery ideal for a bike ride in Sarasota County. If you're looking for a quiet ride along the beach, try Lido Beach. You can ride through Siesta Key and stop at the stores in Siesta Village along the way. If you're experienced and comfortable riding in the road, you can ride on the roads or along the main drag, U.S. 41.
The bike paths on Longboat Key are breathtaking, with Gulf views as well as views of gorgeous homes.
The Venetian Waterway Trail has bike paths along the water. The trail ends at the Venice Avenue bridge and connects to the Legacy Trail. While the views are gorgeous, there are breaks in the trail, so proceed with caution. The trail is just over 10 miles.
Perhaps the most popular and impressive place to ride in Sarasota is the Legacy Trail. The Legacy Trail was opened in the spring of 2008. Extending over 12 miles, the Legacy Trail runs from just south of Sarasota, near Clark Road, down to Venice. Along the trail, you'll find 15 rest stops that include trailheads with bike access points and free parking. Trailheads can be found in Sarasota at Potter Park, in Osprey at Bay St. Park and Oscar Scherer State Park, Laurel Park and Nokomis Park in Laurel-Nokomis, Patriots Park and at the Venice Train Depot in Venice.
If you get tired along the way, you can rest, refuel, eat a packed snack, use the restroom and even learn more about Sarasota at the different rest areas.
Enjoy the ride!