Monthly Archives August 2021

Art Bikes Jax offers electric bike tours of Jacksonville’s public art

Ron Rothberg has a soft spot for Jacksonville’s public art installations.

He has a wall painted on the wooden fence outside his home at Park Street and Talbot Avenue, and he runs a business that runs tours of the murals and statues of Riverside, Avondale and downtown. People who participate in the self-guided tours ride electric bikes that themselves ride works of art, each decorated by a local artist.

Jax Art Bikes works from Open road cycles in Avondale. Rothberg said he plans to open a second location in San Marco soon.

It has a fleet of a dozen head-turning touring bikes, scalloped with noses and wings and flowers and images of Jacksonville bridges. The bikes are electric, so riders can pedal if they choose or use one of five “power assist” levels that push the bikes forward up to 20mph.

The bikes are all ‘steppers’ – what used to be called a girls’ bike, without a center crossbar – which makes them easy to get on and off. A thumb-activated throttle activates electric assist, or the bikes can be set to provide an extra boost every time they pedal.

Rothberg said that if you can ride a bicycle, you can ride an electric bicycle. Riders must be at least 18 years old and pass a quick security check before being released. Helmets are provided and the bikes have Kevlar lace-up tires to make them durable.

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Holt Tucker, owner of Open Road Bikes, maintains the fleet of 12 Art e-bikes.

Cyclists can book a bike for a 90-minute picnic, self-guided tour, or Saturday excursion to Arts market by the river. Rothberg said he hopes to start tours for newcomers to Jacksonville soon and is working on plans for a tour of historic churches and food tours that will move from restaurant to restaurant. It also provides guided tours on Sundays led by artists, photographers and storytellers.

Rothberg said he started the business to show people the public art and architecture around them. One of Art Bike Jax’s most popular tours is a self-guided trip that takes cyclists along the St. Johns River and into downtown, past murals painted on downtown buildings. and the mosaics outside the Jessie Ball Center DuPont.

“The artistic community in this city is so amazing,” said Rothberg. “I think more people who live here in Jacksonville should know that this is a significant collection of international art.”

Cyclists download an app to any smartphone and simply follow the map for a three-hour tour. Each bike has a mount on its handlebars to allow easy viewing of the map and the route at the same time. Tours stick to quiet residential roads, designated bike paths, and the Riverwalk when possible, but cyclists must deal with traffic at certain points along their route.

Ron and Rick Rothberg rent electric bikes to tour Jacksonville's public art installations.  Ron's bike was painted by artist Shawn Thurston and Rick's bike was painted by artist Dustin Harewood.

He said he saw a mix of locals and visitors making the tours. Some are interested in art, others are just looking for a pleasant stroll along the river to watch the dolphins play. “Some people want to know more about architecture or history,” he said. “Others want to learn on their own. ”

The e-Dart electric bikes cost around $ 1,300 each. Rothberg worked with local artists to give each one a unique touch. Next year, when the bikes start showing wear and tear, he plans to auction them off, with the proceeds going to artists and an undecided arts group.

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“Then we’re going to start all over again,” Rothberg said.

Rothberg is a native Floridian, born in Miami and raised in Orlando. He moved to the Jacksonville area in 2004 and to Avondale in 2014.

The inspiration for the Art Bikes project came from a wooden fence outside his house, along Talbot Avenue. At the start of the pandemic, a neighbor offered to paint a peacock on one end of the fence. He blossomed from there, with his kids and their friends adding to it until he ran the entire length.

"Flagship," the first bike in the Art Bikes Jax fleet, has a decorated rear "hubcap." Owner Ron Rothberg said there was a front hubcap as well, but that made the bike difficult to ride in the wind.

“This is how it all started,” he said.

The three-hour self-guided tours cost $ 50. Saturday RAM trips are $ 40 and 90-minute lunch rentals are $ 25. Tours can be booked through artbikesjax.com.


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Take a city tour with Dunedin Bike Tours

DUNEDIN, Florida — Explore beautiful Dunedin on a guided bike tour! You can visit various cultural and historical sites around the city while you get some fresh air and enjoy a hectic ride with your friends.

Dunedin Bike Tours started in January 2020.

“I really started the tour because friends were coming to town, and I would put them in the car and take them around town,” said Russ Hilton, owner of Dunedin Bike Tours. “But when I started researching … I didn’t find anyone doing a bike tour – or even a real tour around Dunedin – so I created my own.”

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Guided tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays for people aged 13 and over. The tour includes a bike, helmet, water bottle, loot bag filled with $ 25 worth of local treats and coupons, and stops at the following locations:

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The bike tour lasts 3 hours and 12 km and costs $ 50 per person (or $ 35 if you bring your own bike). For anyone worried about their endurance on the bike for this long, Hilton assures you that the tour runs at a leisurely pace.

“You don’t have to be in shape, it’s actually a very easy visit,” said Hilton. “All of our bikes are beach cruisers, so it’s very flat … all you have to do is ride.”

Dunedin Bike Tours also offers a 2 hour bike tour to Tarpon Springs and later this year they will start a haunted bike tour, which can be booked online.


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