Updated: Sep 9, 2019
25 years ago, a group of visionaries dreamed up the idea of an bicycle tour with the purpose of raising funds and awareness for cycling in the state of Florida. Following the model of similar tours around the country, the annual Bike Florida Spring Tour had its inaugural event in the summer of 1994.
As time went on the Bike Florida Board of Directors began to examine whether or not our organization was meeting its full potential. What is the best way we can use our talents and expertise to serve our communities and increase our economic impact in Florida? How does the Spring Tour, with all its benefits and challenges, help or hinder Bike Florida?
These questions resulted in a new mission: to help Florida communities improve their economic health, bicycle infrastructure, and safety through bicycle tourism.
As we take time to fully explore how we will carry out this mission, the Spring Tour will be taking a break in 2020, after which time we will assess its long-term future. I know for many of you this event is the only reason you are involved with Bike Florida, but when we release our 2020 event calendar I am positive you will find something just as exciting and fun to do.
We have already begun collaborating with towns across Florida to put on festivals that feature not just bike riding, but also concerts, carnivals, kayaking, hiking, and more. Our off-road tours offering is going to keep expanding so we can meet the growing demand of gravel grinders and mountain bikers. We are working on a tour that will be exclusively in state parks. We are becoming more involved with the development and promotion of the Coast to Coast bike trail. On top of all of that, we are hosting the first annual Florida Bicycle Tourism Conference in 2020.
As we go forth into the next chapter of Bike Florida’s story, we recognize that we would not be here without the visionaries of 1994 who put Florida on the map for bicycle advocates, educators, and tourists. Through their passionate work they have improved the awareness, safety, and quality of bicycling in Florida. The face of Bike Florida is changing, but at its heart we will continue their legacy.
So let’s raise a glass to the last 25 years, and another to the 25 years to come!