I spent a fun few hours on a Saturday afternoon, bicycling some of the 25 miles of bike paths on Sanibel Island.

Sanibel Island is located off the mainland of Florida near Ft. Myers. The island is well-manicured and the bike paths maintained for residents and visitors alike.

Traffic on the main road can be maddening, but the bike trails are a delightful way to see the island and areas you wouldn’t get to see by car. 

Our small group of twelve people ventured over to Sanibel from a conference we were all attending in nearby Bonita Springs. Billy’s Rentals, the largest bike shop on the island and perhaps in the entire state offered everything from e-bikes to bikes for tall people. Billy, the owner, and Ryan were our guides.

We started out from one of two bike shops on the island and rode a short distance to the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village. The history of the island is wonderfully preserved here showcasing what life was like in the days the island was first settled other than the Calusa Indians that inhabited southwest Florida and the barrier islands.

Historic buildings on the site include the 1924 Sears Roebuck kit home, the 1926 Post Office, and the 1927 General Store. Other historical buildings dating back to 1896 can also be visited on the grounds amidst a small patch of what a pioneer farm looked like in the early years. There are tropical flowers lining the footpaths and a nearby pond with warning signs to watch for alligators.

Back on our bikes, we weaved our way on paths through thick foliage until reaching the historical cemetery. The cemetery is not used today. Early residents of the island are buried here under tall shade trees. The cemetery is hidden off a nearby road, but accessible by bike or foot. 

Continuing on our bikes, we rode through residential areas, a golf course, condos and villa rentals, and tropical foliage lining the streets and sidewalks. The ride was so peaceful and tranquil away from any traffic and the commercial areas of the island.

We made our way to the southern tip of Sanibel Island to see the park, beach, and the 98-ft lighthouse erected in 1884. The lighthouse was going to be torn down when it was felt it was no longer needed, but the island residents argued to keep it as part of the history of the island and they won the argument. 

Our group ended the bike ride at the foot of the lighthouse feeling exhilarated from the exercise and our minds opened as well to learning a side of Sanibel Island most people don’t experience. 

John Werner

As a 45 year veteran of the travel industry and the President of MAST Travel Network since 2002, John’s career has included 14 years as a travel agency owner. He has served in various capacities on the Board of the Midwest Chapter of ASTA including Treasurer and Vice President. John has also held several positions on the Board of Directors for MAST including Vice Chairman and Board Chairman during the years he owned Travel Group International, a MAST member during the 1990s.