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Postcard from Siesta Key, Florida

Posted by on May 10th, 2012 at 9:00 am

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-11

My mom strutting some cycle chic in Siesta Key, Florida.
(Photos © Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Hi folks. If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t chimed in on local bike news or why the volume of posts has been lighter than usual, it’s because I’ve been on vacation since May 1st. The family and I are just now headed back to Portland after 10 days in Siesta Key, Florida.

Sorry I haven’t returned
your calls/emails.

Thankfully, some great reader stories and other solid contributions have come in while I’ve been away. It’s been nice to get a break from the daily bike news beat; but I’m looking forward to getting back into the BikePortland groove. I’ll be back in my office on Friday and I hope to be fully functional by Monday.

Before I leave Florida (sniff, sniff), I want to share a few images of biking in and around Siesta Key that I’ve snapped on my phone (I didn’t bring my big camera because it reminds me of work).

This is a gorgeous part of the world, with tons of wildlife and some of the best beaches anywhere. With such warm and sunny weather, there are quite a few people riding bikes around. The majority are tourists and locals on beach cruisers; but there are definitely some roadies in spandex as well. One thing I love about the people on bikes down here is that many of them are seniors! And they look great!

Away from the beach areas, there really isn’t any quality bike access. Unfortunately, most of Sarasota and neighboring cities are marked by an unending sprawl of high-speed, seven-lane arterial streets with big box stores and strip malls. There are bike lanes on some streets, but they are much too narrow and much too close to major car traffic for anyone to actually use.

Driving on these streets makes me a bit depressed about what we’ve let happen in America. As I pondered the planning and road designs that have made travel by car the only viable option in much of Sarasota, I saw a headline in USA Today that read, 42% likely to be obese by 2030. Never before has the connection between urban planning and health trends been so clear to me.

On a lighter note, check out some fun photos below… And thanks again for all the great commenting and contributions while I was away..

Biking in Florida…

Bridge access (this was highly disrespectful, with people on bikes and on foot, squeezing by each other while people in cars zoomed by with two wide lanes):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-2

Family biking (not my family):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-3

Road hazards (near Myakka State Park):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-4

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-6

Biking in Myakka State Park (a fantastic wildlife preserve where gators roam free):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-5

Biking in Durante Park (on Longboat Key):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-9

Collegiate cycling (by the way, this is a local joke: there is no Siesta Key University):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-7

Bike art and humor (as seen on the roof of New Pass Grill in Sarasota):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-8

Sunset on Sarasota Bay (near Ringling Museum):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-10

Sunset on Siesta Key Beach:

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-38

A Siesta Key local (this guy lived on the street and pulled a trailer full of fishing equipment which he’d rent out to tourists for a few bucks):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-13

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-15

A Siesta Key multi-use path:

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-16

A Siesta Key bike lane:

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-18

A Siesta Key cycle track (not really, it’s a sidewalk at same grade as bike lane):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-29

Siesta Key bike parking (OK, it’s motorcycle parking, but I couldn’t resist):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-19

Nice to see crosswalk laws made visible at many crossings:

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-25

I took this one for PBOT Signals Division Manager Peter Koonce:

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-31

And here’s a typical roadway in Sarasota 🙁 :

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-32

Downtown Sarasota (in the historic district) isn’t all that bad. Here’s the bike parking across the street from Whole Foods:

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-37

And I even saw a freak bike!…

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-36

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-35

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-34

And it was good to see some human-powered transportation at work:

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-24

A few more locals:

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-20

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-22

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-23

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-27

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-26

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-21

And a tourist (self-portrait):

Bikes in Siesta Key, Florida-30

Hope all is well in Portland. See you on the streets at Sunday Parkways.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Joe
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Joe

dude really a sun shot. LOL envy! 🙂

Richard
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Richard

“Feeding or molesting alligators is prohibited by state law.”
Oregon, of course, has historically taken a different approach to dealing with the scourge of alligator molestation: we have no alligators.

Scofflaw cyclist
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Scofflaw cyclist

Does anyone down there wear a helmet?

Richard
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Richard

Good Florida Keys business opportunity: dermatologist.
Bad Florida Keys business opportunity: bike helmet salesperson.

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

Good Floridia Business opportunity: detox
Bad Floridia Business opportunity: real estate.

This is a fun game!

Nathan
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Nathan

The last picture has become my new inspiration. Slow ridin’, hat wearin’, toe flappin’, wide grinnin’ life!

Schrauf
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Schrauf

You will be returning to Portland this weekend with temperatures like Florida! Except it will feel ten degrees cooler because of less humidity.

Perry
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Perry

…but today, there was ice on my roof and my little toes got numb on the ride into work. Waaah.

Richard
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Richard

Shhhhhh. We have sunshine. If we complain, the Flying Spaghetti Monster will reach down with his noodly appendage and punish us with weeks of rain.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Better rain than the annual year long whine fest of midwest farmers about a drought in what they fail to remember is a bone dry desert when the top soil goes away.
See “dust bowl”.

Psyfalcon
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Psyfalcon

Technically, the Midwest isn’t a desert, but a lot of it is drier than anyone wants to think.

The eastern half of Kansas and Nebraska for example get about 25 inches. Well above desert, but not so happy for non-irrigated corn.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

No, technically it is not a desert right now. This mainly because of systemic irrigation of the majority of the square acreage of the great plains climate zone.
Climatically it bears much in common with the norther African Savannah as it is lost to the Sahara. As we saw in the dust bowl, with over tillage and under irrigation the rolling plains in America lose their veneer of viable soil quickly. Then they transition back to the rolling sand dune desert that there is much evidence dominated the great plains many, many years ago.

The aquifers supplying the great plains agricultural boon are running dry fast leaving farmers to squabble over the little that falls in to the rivers.

They will need to be careful or the desert will overtake them in the blink of an eye.

dwainedibbly
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dwainedibbly

I do not know if it is true, but I have read 2 interesting things about the Great Plains: If you did down more than a foot or two, you hit sand, and the last 500 years or so have been abnormally wet in that part of the country. The current “drought” is actually closer to historic normals.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Yeah, it was 41 degrees when I left home. I dressed for 65. 🙁

CaptainKarma
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CaptainKarma

I spent way too much time in FL, AL, MS, etc. I never knew if the buzzards circling above were for dead armadillos or bicyclists. I came up here to get away from all that those places represent. I made a vow to never sweat again once I got here. So that’s why you might pass me up around town, I’m busy not sweating.

dwainedibbly
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dwainedibbly

Have a safe trip home!

It’s a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. I grew up in Naples (love those Gulf beaches!), then lived in Gainesville for most of 30 years. (Ultimately, Mrs Dibbly & I decided the summertime weather was just too insufferable. It was 91 in Gainesville the other day.)

What *is* nice is to see some infrastructure in Sarasota. That’s why what we’re doing in Portland is so important: we’re trying out new things and setting an example for the rest of the country. We tend to forget that terrible infrastructure here is worlds better than the best that they have in most other cities in the US. Keeping our standards high is exactly the right approach, but we shouldn’t get too bent out of shape when something fails.

AlanG24
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AlanG24

I was in Tampa a month ago for a couple of days. I didn’t see a single bike lane and only TWO cyclists! I also didn’t see very many bike racks. Might be that area I was in was unique, but it was nevertheless a very stark contrast to the Portland area.

Jeff Beranards
Guest
Jeff Beranards

The “human” powered pedal cab has an electric front hub and I believe that’s the battery in between the frame. Thanks for doing the article on E-bikes, my E-bike has replaced my car for most of my trips around town.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

The sunshine and clear weather quickly loses its appeal when you are out roofing in a 105F day with+98% humidity and no wind.
Bubbly damn weather … dingbats (male & female) … talk about “What a BEAUTIFUL day it is!” inside their climate controlled studio.

Tourbiker
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Tourbiker

Heh…ridin in flip flops…precious.

brian
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brian

great mountain biking at Alafia State Park. seriously. a serious trail system right near Sarasota- something Portland sadly can not claim.