Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Bicycling the "Back Roads" of Sanibel Island

Things look different from a bicycle. It's been a couple of decades- at least- since we were on bikes. But as the old saying goes, biking is one of those "skills" that you never forget.

So we cleaned up our two mountain bikes (quite unnecessary on flat-as-a-pancake Sanibel) stored under Toucan House, and found our balance immediately.

Forgoing the bike paths which are not heavily used but still too routine, we headed out to The Sanctuary where we often do our daily walk. We thought our 7 mile walks would give us the ability to bike with no level of discomfort. But walking and biking are two different things and we quickly found ourselves aching in places we don't pay that much attention to in normal circumstances.

But an ache here or there did not deter from the enjoyment of the ride.

Turning off onto Wilfert Road, we were once again awed at the man made beauty of this exclusive and lush community. Situated on a peninsula at the northern tip of Sanibel, The Sanctuary offers the only private golf club on the Island. Residents of The Sanctuary enjoy the luxury of island living adjacent to a world-class championship golf course.

But more than that, it is impressive that the community was developed in such a way that even the huge homes do not obscure the natural beauty of the area. The homes in this community are surrounded by the serenity and exotic wildlife of the Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve, ensuring the community stays true to its name.

But our daydreams do not reside in The Sanctuary. As gorgeous as the homes are, it is difficult to imagine living in one of them.

More to our liking is the next turn of the bike wheel onto Dinkins Lake Road and then onto Henderson with a turn on Starling Way. This enclave of mostly small homes is "olde Sanibel". Though newer, larger homes have been built, the neighborhood is probably much like it was 50 years ago.

The larger lots seem particularly expansive as the land to house ratio is so much greater than in the much more upscale Sanctuary. The lagoons, lakes and creeks criss crossing this area add to its charm and the feel of secluded country life.

This area of Sanibel is not large and its relative small size and very tucked away location make it a real find. One we, ourselves, only discovered this past May purely by accident. But we are sure to return when we come back to the Island as its a wonderful way to step back into the past, on a bike or by foot.

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