By Florida standards, Sunday was an unusually cool day with temperatures in the 50s and a harsh wind out of the north. (That's still mighty comfy compared to the rest of the country, though.)
But Florida's chilly conditions didn't bother Escape Adventures tour bicyclists Anne, Mike and Shirlee who enjoyed a ride along Jungle Trail, a hard-packed dirt road on the Vero Beach barrier island that runs along the Indian River Lagoon in South Florida.
The trio pedaled on Jungle Trail to reach one of Florida's most underrated natural gems -- Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. The preserve is the country's first national wildlife safe haven created in 1903 to save the beautiful water birds being killed by hunters for their feathers that were used for women's hats at the time.
We pedaled to the national preserve and then walked along a new boardwalk that led to a perch to see Pelican Island, a spit of land in the Indian River where birds flock to right before sunset.
It was all quiet on this late Sunday morning, so we didn't see any great blue herons, snowy egrets or brown pelicans winging it to Pelican Island. The island is such a prominent local attraction that the local chamber of commerce in Sebastian has a camera mounted to the end of the boardwalk with its lens focused on Pelican Island for live streaming back to the chamber building on the mainland across the lagoon.
So, we posed for a photo at the setting, with the Indian River and island in the backdrop.
Escape Adventures bikers pedal brand new Specialized bicycles -- road bikes with extra wide tires that offer smooth and stable rides Disc brakes provide excellent slowing and stopping powers. The bike tires were wide enough to handle the Jungle Trail dirt surface, which is packed and paved by the Indian River County public works crews.
The Jungle Trail is also a road back to history. The southern end of the road offers a view of the old Jones dock, where Indian River County's famed oranges and grapefruits were shipped along the Indian River for transport around the country back in the day.
During this stretch, Jungle Trail hugs the Indian River and makes for a lovely and tranquil biking setting.
Florida is the place to bike right now. So log onto www.escapeadventures.com and click on our Florida page to see our bike rides. I can also tailor make a bike tour for you and your group as well in Florida.