The North Florida Bike Club will hold a Beach Bike Sunday ride beginning and finishing at Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park on July 18.
Riders will depart at 7 a.m. and the route will be along the beach for 14.5 miles before turning around at Hanna Park and heading back to Mickler’s.
According to Jonathan Tomassetti, member of the NFBC’s board of directors, starting at 7 a.m. will not only help beat the summer heat, but it will also help in conjunction with ocean tides.
“Low tide will be about 9:30 a.m., so we will hit it just right,” Tomassetti said. “It should take about three hours to do the ride.”
The North Florida Bike Club holds several rides throughout the region, but Mickler’s has been part of the Beach Bike Sunday rotation since 2015.
Tomassetti has found that the hard-packed sand is ideal for riding bicycles on.
“Here in North Florida, we are one of the only places in the world where you can ride a bicycle for long distances along the beach,” Tomassetti said.
He has been a club member since 1996 and has seen it grow over the years to the point where they have more than 1,000 members.
“We’ve gradually been getting better bike infrastructure around the area,” Tomassetti said. “There are more bike lanes and bike trails, which means it’s getting safer to ride.”
Although the worry of cars will not be on the mind of riders like it would on the road, Tomassetti was quick to point out that other beachgoers and people fishing are the two prominent things riders must be aware of.
With the Tour de France, the most famous bicycle race in the world, taking place, Tomassetti usually notices an increase in questions and interest about the NFBC by people in the public.
He also expects the races during the Olympics to generate some interest as well this year.
However, the Tour de France and the Olympics will only add to the already established growth of interest that the pandemic created.
“We’ve been seeing more numbers this year because during the pandemic people wanted to get out and find ways to move around where they could still be distanced from others,” Tomassetti said.
A bike with wider tires is recommended for the beach sand as opposed to the thinner tires used on pavement.
An array of bikes, including mountain bikes, beach cruisers, fat-tire bikes and gravel bikes will do the job. Bike helmets are also required to ride.
For those interested in taking part or looking for more information can visit www.nfbc.us to learn more or sign up with the club.
According to Tomassetti, visitors to the club get three rides to try it out before any fees are asked of them.
“It gives them a chance to see if they like it before making a decision,” Tomassetti said.