Multi-modal trails (golf cart paths), multi-modal lanes (on road golf cart lanes) and local roads are filled with Villagers riding bicycles. Our local bicycle shops are attempting to keep up with the demand for new bikes and bicycle repair services. Because of this increased activity motorists, cart drivers and pedestrians are interacting with many more bicycle drivers.
The Villages has been designated a “Gold” level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Why is this a big deal? There are 34 Gold awarded communities in the United States and only three in the entire South East. If you are a new or returning bicycle driver, welcome to one of the best cycling spots in America.
A large part of the current expansion of cycling can be attributed to the COVID-19 virus. We need some way to get out and exercise without contracting the illness. Riding with others is safer and more fun than riding alone. Since none of our residents will be in the next Tour de France, keep a 10 yard distance between riders to help avoid spread (wearing a mask while riding is a personal decision) and allow new riders a safe distance for starting and stopping. Wear a snug fitted, certified bicycle helmet and clothing that stands out in the environment (blinking lights front and rear are a huge help). Carry hydration and a snack as well as your phone in case of a breakdown or an emergency. You can ride on any multi-modal trail and any multi-modal lane. If you haven’t experienced the new trail networks in the Fenney or Everglades areas, drive on down. There you will find miles of biking and walking trails, multi-modal lanes and lots of vehicle parking.
The Sumter Landing Bicycle Club has an excellent website slbikeclub.org that provides bicycle safety tips and data about the club and its activities. Click the “RIDES” tab and review the “Ride safety” recommendations and advice that promotes safe riding techniques.
It is my hope that long after COVID-19 is defeated, Villagers continue to enjoy their good health and their bicycles throughout this expanding bicycle friendly community.
Villager David Lawrence is a member of the Sumter Landing Bicycle Club.