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Pedal-Powered Bicycling Adventure in Sarasota

Sarasota's year-round sunshine and snow-free roads, balmy coastal breezes, and flat terrain are a bicyclist's dream come true. 

Whether you're a competitive cyclist or looking to take a leisurely ride with the sun on your face and the breeze at your back — Sarasota has you covered (in both the sunshine and the breeze department, we assure you).

Read more to learn where to rent wheels, ride the trails, and tune up your own ten-speed in Sarasota County.

Leisure, Fitness, and Fun: Where to Cycle in Sarasota

Scoring a set of wheels is actually the easy part: deciding which trail to blaze in your bicycling adventure in Sarasota may be a different story, so plan for multiple trips!

Sarasota Bike Tours offers an opportunity to get acquainted with a variety of areas in the neighborhood, including historic downtown Sarasota, Ringling Museum and the Sarasota bayfront, Siesta Key, Lido Key, and a bike tour that meets up with the Mote Marine Sarasota Bay Explorers Sea Life Encounter Cruise. Sarasota Bike Tours also guided offers "urban nighttime" tours of the city after dusk.

The scenic paths of the Venetian Waterway Park trails connect bicyclists and pedestrians to the abundant nature, history, and charming arts culture of south Sarasota County. Running along each side of the Intracoastal Waterway, the Venetian Waterway connects downtown Venice to Caspersen Beach Park, the Shamrock Park Nature Center, Skip Stasko Park, and historical sites throughout Venice. The Venetian Waterway also connects with the Legacy Trail, contributing to almost 23 miles of uninterrupted trails.

Along parts of the Venetian Waterway and the Legacy Trail, cyclists may expect to encounter native Florida wildlife—including bobcats, Florida scrub jay, and alligators. The Legacy Trail connects with the Venetian waterway at the historic downtown Venice Train Depot, and runs north from Venice to Oscar Scherer State Park, and then Sarasota city limits—with trailheads in several local parks along the way.

Both the Venetian Waterway and Legacy Trail offer plenty of space for riders of all ages, bike comfort and ability to share the trail—from speedy cyclists and inline skaters, to leisurely adventurers who prefer to roll or stroll at a more relaxed pace. Check out Coastal Cruisers Bicycles, the Sarasota Manatee Bicycle Club, Sarasota County Off Road Riders, and Real Bikes Englewood and Venice to join varied-level group rides in south Sarasota County.

Hills can be tough to come by in Florida for those looking for an incline challenge to pump up the pedal power—but the Ringling Bridge does not disappoint in either climb nor view. Offering 60' of architectural incline in a roughly half-mile stretch of bridge over the glittering cerulean bay, the John Ringling Causeway connects downtown Sarasota with Lido Key and its beaches, St. Armand's Circle, and Longboat Key, with breathtaking skyline views along the way. Start your ride at Bayfront Park, cross the bridge and continue past St. Armand's Circle to the southern tip of Lido Key, to arrive at South Lido Beach in just under five miles.

Bicycling is the preferred island transportation method of many Siesta Key residents who are keen on pedaling past the beach-goer traffic and finding an easy parking spot at the #2 beach in the U.S.. With the variety of cycle rental options available, biking is one of the best options to get around Siesta Key for visitors, too. Bike to Siesta Beach, Turtle Beach, and Crescent Beach— or pedal over to Siesta Key Village for daiquiris, beach bites, shopping and nightlife.

Get a taste for natural Florida on the quiet, winding trails of Myakka State Park. Fuel up or wind down your ride with craft beer and burgers—or alligator bites if it suits your fancy—at the The Pink Gator Cafe at the Myakka Outpost, where bikes and kayaks are available for day rental.
With seven miles of paved road meandering through shady pine hammocks, oak canopies, and grassy marshes, the wild, but mesmerizingly peaceful, Myakka State Park offers the best bicycling during the spring and winter months. A warning to potential visitors: in the summer storm season, rains can flood the roads for days, so pay mind of the weather before your visit.

Rent a Bike to Explore Sarasota on Two Wheels

Need to borrow a set of wheels for your next pedal-powered adventure? Look no further than the bike rental shops that provide year-round access to the beaches, downtown regions, and other bikeable areas throughout Sarasota County.

I Bike Sarasota offers a variety of affordable options to pedal historic downtown Sarasota, launching from its base shop in the historic Burns Court district. Day rentals are available for store pick-up at $20, or rent out wheels for the entire week for just $55, with reduced rates for additional bikes. I Bike Sarasota also delivers bikes to Lido Key, the southern half of Longboat Key, and Siesta Key.

Get to know Venice Island by joining Bicycles International on their free and leisurely, weekly Casual Friday Night Fun Ride, which loops around Venice Island and ends with an optional stop at the Old Salty Dog Venice for drinks and bites.

Siesta Bike and Kayak offers a variety of wheels suitable for the beach sand or the pedestrian-populated streets of Siesta Key Village, and the canopied, sea grape-speckled side roads of Siesta Key. Beach bikes, road bikes, trail bikes, hybrids and electric bikes, kids bikes, tandem bicycles, recumbent bikes, bike carts and Wee Hoos fit every rider's fancy at siesta Bike and Kayak.

Siesta Sports Rentals has more than 20 years in business under its belt on Siesta Key, offering road bikes, beach cruisers, kids bikes tandem bikes, child seats and kiddie carts — all with helmets, locks, and baskets if needed. Night owls and early birds may be interested in Siesta Key Sports Rentals' "Sunset Special": a half-day rate offered for rentals from 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 a.m. the following day.

Village Bikes offers two locations in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch. The Sarasota location provides bikeable access to Siesta Key and downtown Sarasota, while the Lakewood Ranch store provides two-wheel travel from its downtown location, neighboring Manatee County to the north. The Village Bikes fleet consists of Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon road bikes in a variety of sizes, available at $60.00/day or a $250 weekly rental.

In south Sarasota County, Real Bikes offers rental locations in both Venice and Englewood, providing access to the island of Venice Osprey, Nokomis, North Port, Englewood, Port Charlotte, Boca Grande, and more — with rates starting as low as $25/day.

Real Bikes also offers a series of weekly group rides for various levels of skill and cycle comfort from both its Venice and Englewood locations.

For beach cruising the sandy south county trails at Casey Key, Manasota Key, Englewood, the Island of Venice and the mainland, Florida Bike and Beach carries a fleet of modern Alloy Beach Cruisers for adults and kids of all sizes. Florida Bike and beach also rents out coolers, cornhole games, cabanas, umbrellas and beach chairs for the full Gulf Coast beach vacation package.

Get access to the Venetian Waterway Trail and the Legacy Trail via Venice Bikes and Trikes, offering hybrid and 7-speed cruisers, adult trikes, tandem and recumbent bikes, kids bikes, kid trailers, tag-along attachments and rental baby seats at reasonable daily, weekly and monthly rates.

Repair and Retail

Jammed and broken bike chains, flat tires, bent wheels, and worn-out brake pads and cables can be a real drag—but with proper bike maintenance and the occasional tune-up, Sarasota's bike repair shops can keep your ride coasting straight and smooth.

Awarded Reader's Choice by the Sarasota Herald for fifteen years in a row, Sarasota Cycle is a longstanding family-owned local shop. Sarasota Cycle sells new and used bikes, and offers custom bike designs and repairs.

Run by mountain biking and engineering enthusiasts, Pinnacle Wheel Works offers custom bike builds and wheel builds, as well as professional repairs. Pinnacle Wheel Works founder and technician studied his craft at the United Bicycle Institute for Advanced Mechanics, Shop Operation, Wheel Building, and Suspension Technician.

Sarasota POPcycles will service and repair any style of bike, new or vintage—except for recumbent bikes and three-wheel bikes—and is a certified Bosch eBike service center. SRQ POPcycles' lead bike technician is an experienced bike mechanic, as well as a Class A auto technician with a technical and mechanical professional background in Formula One racing.

In Venice, Bicycles International celebrates 30 years of bike service, sales and rental in south Sarasota County. Bicycles International technicians are Bosch eBike and Trek Certified service professionals. The shop offers basic check-ups and tune-ups starting at $30, as well as advanced services and the $220 "Overhaul", which includes complete disassembly and rebuild, with bearings overhauled or replaced.

Hit the Road

Once you've felt the coastal breezes at your back and the sun on your face, it's not hard to see why Florida starts celebrating Bike Month a full two months before the rest of the country—and in subtropical Sarasota, it's a thrill to ride all year round!

It's time to grease up the chain and inflate the tires, or rent a ride, and hit the trails in Sarasota County. Start cycling toward better health, fun experiences, and some of the most scenic views Florida's Gulf Coast has to offer—just don't forget to wear a helmet!

Don't forget: brush up on Florida bicycle traffic law before your ride with this handy guide, courtesy of the Florida Bicycle Association.