I have to ask: Is Punta Gorda a bike-friendly community?
The answer is YES!
Consider the possibilities:
* Bring your own bicycle.
* Or borrow a bike from the TEAM Punta Gorda's Bicycle Loaner Program. All you need is a credit card.
* Ride the 18 miles of Punta Gorda Pathways that circle downtown Punta Gorda.
* Join a free Saturday morning group bicycle ride for all levels of experience. Rides start at Acme Bicycle Shop in Cross Trails Center located on southbound U.S. 41
Wow! So many choices! Let's get rolling with the details:
Walking along Harborwalk one day I see clusters of bikes, often parked outside restaurants, with the TEAM Punta Gorda's Bicycle Loaner Program tags on the handlebars.
Anyone may borrow and use the free, loaner, one-speed bikes. Just show a credit card. Loaner bike locations in Punta Gorda include Bayfront Health, Laishley Municipal Marina, the Wyvern Hotel, Four Points by Sheraton, Isles Yacht Club Marina and Fishermen's Village Marina.
On a clear blue sky Sunday morning I ride Linear Park Pathway starting at Fishermen’s Village. To my surprise I get a bonus.
Sundays, year round from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Punta Gorda History Park Farmers and Artisans Market sets up outdoors. The History Park is on the Linear Park route. I soon found some locally made jewelry impossible to resist.
Peace River Riders Bicycle club has two free Saturday rides. The coffee is on at 8 a.m. at Acme Bicycle Shop in Cross Trails Center on Southbound U.S. 41. Riding starts at 8:30 a.m. All levels, no drop (works for me) – call Acme (941- 639-2263) to make sure the ride is on that day.
Weather permitting bicycles leave the Bicycle Center in Port Charlotte at 8:15 a.m. for a 28-mile ride described as "fun and energetic." Call the Bicycle Center to confirm (941)-627-6600.
I like this advice from Punta Gorda City Manager Howard Kunik, who rides the Pathways and sometimes rides out to the airport:
Use the free loaner bikes, get on Pathways and explore the area. Riding a bicycle is a great way to see the city.