Missourians Tim and Leslie Trogdon speak with the enthusiasm of new believers when talking about the bicycling infrastructure on Marco Island. And the bicycling zealots—who logged over 300 miles on the island’s in-road bike lanes and shared-use paths—have a bike basket-full of stories from their two weeks of cycling.
The Trogdons are not new to Marco Island, having vacationed here from Columbia, Missouri for over 20 years. They’re also not new to bicycling, logging plenty of miles on the trails back home. But riding a lot on the island is a different topic altogether.
They learned of Marco’s bike path network through a concierge’s advice at their vacation home at The Charter Club of Marco Beach.
“I have to say that we wouldn’t have known about bicycling on the island until we talked to the concierge last year,” Leslie Trogdon said. “He encouraged us to look at the trails.”
“We kind of relied on him,” Tim Trogdon said. ““After talking to the concierge and learning about all of these trails we would head down Winterberry, go down Barfield and back. Then hit Indian Hill, cycle around there. Then you can go to Key Marco and Goodland. You can put in a 30-mile day quite easily and really stay within the island, which I think is pretty astounding and wonderful. When we got the bikes out and went across the paths it prompted me to put a hitch on my car and get a real bike rack to bring our bikes down. It’s one of those progressive things.”
While they have enjoyed much about the Marco Island summer lifestyle, bicycling wasn’t on their radar.
“When we first thought about biking here, we were like, ‘I know you have trails here and stuff, but we’re used to back home where they’ve taken the railroads and made wide paths. Are we really going to be riding with cars and stuff like that?’ We were sort of surprised,” Tim Trogdon said. “The bike paths are wonderful. There’s enough room for the cars—and the cars are very respectful. We’ve found that it’s very easy to cycle on Marco Island. We’ve been able to put 300 miles in during our 17 days—all on the island. And we’ve felt safe doing it.”
“We have no cars on our trails at home,” Leslie Trogdon added. “But what we found is that we are really able to gain speed on your bike lanes. Which was nice. Our trail in Columbia is packed gravel. You can get pretty good speed, but nothing like Marco. It’s a faster ride.”
The thought of bicycling in the summer heat seemed daunting—until they actually tried it.
“The other part about Marco Island, we never thought about biking here because we thought it would be too hot,” Leslie Trogdon said. “We always come to Marco the month of July. We never entertained the thought of bicycling because we thought we would just suffocate. What we learned is that the breeze that we get riding our bikes is so much better than walking the beach.”
“It’s been cooler riding our bikes than walking the beach,” Tim Trogdon added, “which is fascinating.”
“The roads. What you have done here is truly amazing. I mean even the road out to the Gober Bridge is just an amazing ride. I just feel comfortable on the roads. We stopped riding on the roads years ago because we didn’t feel comfortable. We hit the trails, because that was what was comfortable for us. But here, you can ride the roads easily—very easily.”
Bicycling has actually opened a new window to the island for the Trogdons.
“It’s just been so refreshing,” Leslie Trogdon said. “We’ve been coming to Marco Island for the past 20 years and when we got on our bikes this time and experienced going all around the island we got a true sense of what it feels like to actually live on the island. We saw a bobcat. We’ve always seen the bobcat signs, but for 20 years we’ve never seen one. We’ve seen a pileated woodpecker—we’ve seen wildlife we haven’t seen on the island before.”
“We saw dolphin off the Gober Bridge and the bridge on Caxambas Court. On a bicycle you get to feel what you’re seeing,” Tim Trogdon said. “It’s different than in a car or even walking. It’s a feeling that you just have to try to find out.”
The Trogdons were also surprised to find that Marco isn’t flat.
“We were very surprised with the hills on Marco,” Leslie Trogdon said. “That there were hills,” Tim Trogdon quickly interjected. “Back in the Indian Hills—we were surprised. And the Gober Bridge.”
One thing that surprised the Trogdons was the ease of cycling on Marco’s pathways—especially impressive was the standard of maintenance the city achieves.
“They’ve been great. I mean, I don’t have any bumps,” Leslie Trogdon shakes her head and laughs, “I mean we glided.”
Husband Tim couldn’t agree more. “It was like butter out there, it was so smooth. It brought us back to our childhood—our teenage years. It was amazing.”