My wife and I spent the weekend in Ft. Myers, Florida, on family business. We were looking for a place to rent bikes and sneak in a ride. But the bike shops in town rent only by the week. To just get a bike for a few hours, you have to go to Sanibel Island.
Sanibel is just off shore from Ft. Myers, linked to the mainland by a three-mile causeway. Much of the island is a conservation area, with much of it taken up by the “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The roads on the island are paralleled by paved bike paths, and while driving through the island, we resolved to check out one of the bike rental places.
It was late in the afternoon, and we opted to come back Saturday morning for the ride. At the bike rental shop (Finnimore’s), the clerk told us to pick out our bikes, and gave us a lock and flexible locking cable. She said to take the lock key with us, and when we came back in the morning before they opened (9 a.m.), we could just grab the bikes and go.
At first, I was disappointed to see that the bikes were hybrids. The riding position is very upright, which is a big switch from the road bike position I’m used to. After riding for a little while, I saw that these were the perfect bikes for the conditions. The island is perfectly flat, but the breeze does blow from the Gulf, and it was gusting quite high this morning. The 21-speed gearing on the bikes was needed more than we’d expected. They were by a company called Caloi, which I had never heard of, but which is a Brazilian bike maker whose products are popular with seaside resort area bike rentals.
We were on the bikes at 8 a.m. We didn’t burn up the bike paths, but we had a nice hour and a half pedal and saw some exotic birds at the wildlife refuge. When biking purely for pleasure, and not to build speed, or fitness, or distance, these hybrids provided us with a terrific Saturday morning.