By Patricia Huff
It’s time to sign up for the annual Everglades Bicycle Ride which is scheduled for Sunday, April 17. Friends of the River of Grass Greenway (FROGG) and Friends of the Fakahatchee (FOF) will receive a discount for the registration fee which includes a continental breakfast, early morning coffee, snacks at rest stops, and lunch catered by Havana Café. However, all participants have an opportunity for a discount if you register by Friday, April 8.
Originally, the Everglades Ride started at Port of the Islands where bicyclists would travel along the Tamiami Trail to Carnestown and Everglades City (which was considered not the safest route). With so many conveniences and outdoor activities in the area, the Ride was eventually moved to McLeod Park on the Circle in the center of Everglades City where many riders now make it a “weekend” event and stay overnight. There are comfortable hotels and interesting restaurants conveniently located in town for all riders and their families.
Planned activities include a dinner (from the menu) on the Saturday night before the Ride at the popular Camellia Street Grill where there’s always good local music as well as delicious seafood. Early the next morning on the day of the Ride, participants will receive coffee and a continental breakfast as they sign up for one of the many options. The “smooth” road bicycle rides include distances of 16, 23, 50, 62, or 82 miles. JT’s is always a popular stop with homemade calamondin cake and Key limeade. This year a “bumpy” ride will be offered for “fat tire” bicycles. Riders will leave Everglades City and travel up to the Fakahatchee Strand and along the Janes Scenic Drive for a beautiful off-road trip into the wilderness (approximately 27 miles, or more if you wish). Along all the routes there will be SAG vehicle support and rest stops with snacks and water available. Helmets are required.
The Everglades Ride is sponsored by the Naples Pathways Coalition, Inc, in conjunction with the River of Grass Greenway which will benefit from the proceeds along with the Friends of the Fakahatchee Strand (www.orchidswamp.org).
The River of Grass Greenway is a proposed paved multi-use pathway alongside the Tamiami Trail from Naples to Miami. For more information and update on the progress of this proposed trail, visit the ROGG website www.evergladesROGG.org.
Patricia Huff has lived in Everglades City for the past 16 years and is the Publisher of the local newspaper The Mullet Rapper.