Pinecraft Neighborhood in Sarasota FL, almost completely car-free
There is no such thing as normal among cyclists. Biking communities evolve over time and form their own customs and traditions according to the people who make them up.
Completely by accident I stumbled across an amazing group of people in the Pinecraft neighborhood of Sarasota, Florida who travel almost exclusively via public transportation and bikes. And yet they’d never consider themselves cyclists. Among them are many Amish and Mennonites who visit Pinecraft during the winter months.
The first thing I saw as entered their community were at least sixty bikes neatly parked along the road near a bus stop, most without locks. The second thing I noticed was an army of tricycles rolling up and down the main road’s bike lanes. Some of them had electric motors. That’s a rare sight in this area but ubiquitous in Pinecraft. The third thing I noticed, legions of older women wearing long dresses and riding all kinds of bikes from mountain bikes to tricycles and hybrids. Usually their bikes were loaded with packages.
Everybody rides bikes, from kindergarten age kids all the way to grandparents. If you want to see what a car-free community looks like, travel down to Sarasota, Florida. And have a whoopie pie while your there.
Here's link showing a typical day in the community and you'll notice a sea of unlocked bikes and all sorts of people riding them.
Last edited by acc; 01-03-2013 at 06:26 PM.
Wow, that is so cool! I've been to Sarasota but somehow managed to miss this neighborhood and didn't see a whole lot of bikers when I was visiting. If I recall correctly, a MUP runs through town. Be sure to see the minature circus (it's not so minature) at the Ringling Museum.
Pinecraft is basically a trailer park smack dab in the middle of the Mennonite population there. I lived in Sarasota for 6 years, and had friends work at the really good Mennonite restaurants in that area, and other than the Mennonites, it's not really all that car free. And although the roads there are nice and wide, with the greying population of Sarasota city and county (I believe Sarasota County is the 4th oldest county in the USA), I'd be quite afraid of riding there, even thru Bahia Vista and Tuttle.
While there probably aren't too many road cyclists there, the mountain resort village of Zermatt, Switzerland is largely combustion engine-free. You arrive by train and move around town by battery-powered cars, or by walking. I went there once many years ago. Cleanest air I've ever breathed. Plus it's not an isolated, backwoods town. There are many visitors from all over the world. I went in summer when it probably wasn't as busy as it is in the winter.
I've learned that there are now mountain bike rental shops in the town. So I definitely want to go back there someday, even if I won't do any skiing. Some of the nearby hills are suitable for non-expert hiking too. You take a funicular up to the top and then hike back down. No special gear needed except for sturdy boots or shoes. (The Matterhorn is not one of those easy hikes, but it does offer a breathtaking sight from the town and the easier hills.)
I used to work almost exclusively for developers in Manatee, Lakewood Ranch, and Sarasota... this thread has inspired me to go look at recent aerials of all the identical tract housing and six-lane roads I helped justify.
Originally Posted by PeteD
When I complain to the universe, it just answers with that.
Sounds like the setup for a cyclist version of "Scrooged."
Originally Posted by DaveK
Every time I am hoping not to die on some ridiculous high-speed road, some part of my brain thinks "you earned this".
Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC