Paradise on Wheels

Paradise on Wheels

Biking on Jekyll Island Beach

With its varied landscape and intimate scale, Jekyll Island is a haven for bicyclists of all stripes

By Charles Bethea

Biking in the Historic District
Bicycle ride by Sans Souci

You probably can’t ride a bicycle to Jekyll Island—unless you live in Brunswick or, maybe, Savannah. But once you’ve arrived, Jekyll is endlessly and awesomely bike-able. There are parts of the 5,700-acre island, like the forested south end, where with a little pluck you can take a bike with knobby tires to places virtually untouched by man. Elsewhere, you can pedal past centuries-old cemeteries and, soon enough, cafes and ice-cream parlors that will restore weary limbs (or send you home for a nap). You’ll see racers clad in Lycra and pointy helmets riding the full twenty-eight miles from the causeway, all the way around the island, faster than most cars; old men with boyish grins manning trikes and recumbent bikes; and innumerable family armadas gleefully taking up the entire path.

Biking through nature
Bicycle ride by palm trees
Bicycle ride by marsh

You can ride on buttery-smooth asphalt, packed sand, dirt, and wood. You can toss a fishing line from your bike or hop off and swing a six-iron at Pine Lakes golf course; find shark teeth in the sand and marvel at decades of beautifully accumulated driftwood. You can ride through aromatic salt marsh, and plants that demand poems be written about them: resurrection fern, the American beauty-berry, sea ox-eye daisy, saw palmetto, live oak, and of course, Spanish moss—which, as it turns out, is neither Spanish nor moss. Bicycles, in short, are the best way to experience Jekyll Island.

Rented bicycle
Biking on the beach
Faith Chapel biking
Biking amidst palm trees
Biking in the Maritime Forest
This article first appeared in Volume 1 Number 1 of 31•81, the Magazine of Jekyll Island.

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