Habits can be good, but sometimes they can be a bit boring. My husband and I often ride our bikes on The Legacy Trail from Sarasota to Venice where we feel protected from cars and can ride stress-free. Although beautiful, frequently riding the exact same stretch of trail can be monotonous. On a recent Sunday, I suggested we make a little change to our routine and head to Venice via a newly opened road with a bike lane, cow pastures, and little vehicular traffic. This road is so new that Google Maps doesn’t even know about it (and I thought Google knew everything!).
Our trek led us south to an area of Venice we had never ridden. Our two main destinations were Brewburgers for lunch and beer, and then a stop at the Venice Moose Lodge where we were ecstatic (yes, I know it’s a strong word) to find a bike rack. We have been to quite a few Moose Lodges and never have had the luxury of locking our bike to a dedicated rack. Thank you, Venice Moose Lodge.
Along the way a proudly displayed road sign reminded me that Venice had been awarded the Silver level of a Bicycle Friendly Community in 2012 by the League of American Bicyclists. The organization offers assistance and guidance to make biking friendly and safer for all communities. With 18 miles of dedicated trails on the Venetian Waterway Park and The Legacy Trail, freshly printed bike maps, and a newly formed police bike patrol, it is easy to see how with the hard work of several volunteers the city earned this prestigious designation.
According to the League of American Bicyclists’ website, The Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC℠) program provides a roadmap to improve conditions for bicycling and the guidance to make your distinct vision for a better, bikeable community a reality. A BFC welcomes bicyclists by providing safe accommodations for bicycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation. Making bicycling safe and convenient are keys to improving public health, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and improving quality of life.
Who’s on board to work toward a Bicycle Friendly Community designation for Sarasota? Wouldn’t it be great to advocate for friendly streets and encourage more cycling for recreation and commuting? We have the luxury of bicycling year-round, let’s start to take advantage of it!
Once we finished our two stops in Venice, we headed over to the Legacy Trail to continue the loop back home. It was a 40 mile ride that took us nearly all day, but we enjoyed the sites, the stops, and the honor of riding in a town where the community had worked so hard to show they welcome bicyclists and offer them safe and friendly roads.