Photography by Patrick Merrell
People use bikes for many reasons — to get exercise, to get to work or to get to a local cafe to replace the calories they’ve just burned getting there. There are never bicycle traffic jams, parking is always easy to find and, best of all, you’ll feel a lot better for it. Studies have shown blood and oxygen flow to the brain is increased from cycling. Albert Einstein reportedly said he thought up the theory of relativity while riding a bike. It’s not far-fetched; ideas and thoughts tend to percolate freely while cycling.
Indian River County has a vibrant bicycle scene, made up not only of the residents, snowbirds and visitors who enjoy riding here, but also some dedicated people who are working to get bikes to those who can’t afford them. Let’s take a look.
WHERE TO RIDE
Indian River County offers a mixed bag when it comes to cycling. It’s a beautiful place to bike, but you have to be selective where you ride, based on your skill level.
For casual riders, Ocean Drive in Vero Beach is a popular spot with its laid-back pace. The network of picturesque streets nearby, from Jaycee Park to South Beach Park and across to
Riverside Park, is also fairly bike-friendly.
People looking for a workout mostly use A1A, with its long, uninterrupted stretches. However, not everyone is comfortable riding in the bike lanes, opting instead to cruise at a more leisurely pace on the wide sidewalk that parallels it. While that’s legal, riders choosing this option need to keep a few things in mind. First, pedestrians always have the right of way. Second, while riding on a sidewalk seems as if it would be safer, bicycle safety experts maintain it’s not. Sidewalk riders need to remain vigilant, particularly as they approach intersections and driveways. Motorists are much more focused on the road than on the sidewalk.