On Jekyll Island, bicycle adventures are the perfect cure-all for the mid-week vacation doldrums.
There's nothing that will brighten a kid's face faster than saying, "Hey, guys, let's hit the bikes and head on down to the Sweet Shoppe for a hunk of chocolate fudge."
Before you know it everyone (including weight-conscious Dads and Moms) are pedaling for all they're worth, down to the Historic District for a decadent treat.
Don't feel guilty, though. Biking provides the perfect exercise for burning unwanted calories.
Jekyll Island has over 20 miles of bike trails, both paved and natural. This trail system is an invitation to explore. But first, before setting out on your bicycle adventures, you'll need a bike. If you didn't bring your own, there are venues throughout the island where you can rent bikes for the entire family.
We usually bring our own bikes, but if you want to rent, try the Jekyll Island Bike Barn, located at the corner of Beachview Drive and Shell Road, next to the mini-golf course.
Turn off Shell Road into the mini-golf parking lot (shared by Great Dunes 9-hole golf course). Just to the right as you enter the parking lot is an out-building (the "Barn") where the bikes are kept.
Choose your bikes here. They have road ready cruisers, most with knobby tires, no gears and brakes on the pedals. They're pretty smooth riders, but without gears they can be hard for older folks to pedal around the entire island in one trip - especially if you're riding up Beachview Drive and into a sea breeze.
Note - Biking with the family is great fun, and trying to circumnavigate Jekyll Island in one trip can be done. But, like eating that fudge from the Sweet Shoppe, it's a treat better enjoyed in small bites.
You can also get a tandem bike. Or a "surrey" bike, that seats four. Kids can get kid-sized bikes. And if you have little ones too young to bike on their own, you can rent bike trailers that attach to a grown-up's bike and are towed along behind.
Bike Barn Rentals also supplies helmets, toddler seats, and more goodies to outfit you for adventure.
After deciding on the bikes, you can pay for them at the mini-golf kiosk.
You can get your official exploration vehicle for anywhere from a few hours to a full day. They also have a weekly rental rate. Call ahead for current prices.
Other places to rent bikes for your family's touring pleasure:
Chomping at the bit to begin your bicycle adventures? Then let's get to it.
Jekyll Island has more than 20 miles of "official" bike trails shown on their free trail map (you can get one at the entrance kiosk, at just about any store, or at the bike rental venues).
It's easy riding, as most of the 20 plus miles are pretty much flat. The hardest thing you'll have to do is chose where to ride.
The bike maps show 4 suggested routes. Of course, you can create your own bicycle adventures expedition, in any combination - hey, that's what the freedom of bike riding is all about.
Here's what we suggest:
You can discover bicycle adventures anywhere. Once, when I needed repairs done on my SUV, I took my bike with me to the auto repair shop in Brunswick. While grease monkeys worked on my vehicle, I toured Old Brunswick in style.
The beauty of riding a bike is that you can leave the beaten path, the "formal" trails, and explore that overgrown road through the woods, that deserted beach, or the hidden nooks and crannies of Jekyll Island's secret places.