Iím going vacationing in the Anna Marie Island and Long Boat Key, FL area next week. Iím trying to decide between taking my road bike or hybrid bike. One web site made it sound like the roads are so uneven and sandy that you shouldnít even attempt to ride without a mountain bike with fat knobby tires. Then on the same web site they state that on any given evening you may see upwards to a ďhundredĒ club riders out for an evening bike ride. I find it hard to believe that club riders are all on mountain bikes, but you never know.
Has anyone ridden on the island roads who can give me an eyewitness opinion?
I've ridden LongBoat Key and Lido Key. Both have bike lanes on the main roads (except for St. Armond's circle between the two). The bike lanes were in good shape last summer. Both are suitable for road bikes. I haven't done any trails off the main drags.
I ride from Sarasota, over the Ringling bridge and up Longboat regularly. Good bike lanes everywhere except St. Armands circle, and there're plenty of ways around that. Some of the Anna Maria streets are a bit narrower, but mostly serviceable. Either bike would be fine, depends on whether you're heads down and haulin or sitting up and taking in the sights. I'd recommend getting out at dawn before the humidity gets out of hand.
I decided to take my hybrid anyways. It's a safer bet. I got two rides in before Fay forced us to leave a couple of days early. Anna Marie's bike lanes are little better than ditches in some parts but Long Boat Key's were excellent. It made me wish I had brought the road bike. Perhaps next time.