Just when I thought we had done everything in St. Augustine, I stumble across a brand new way to explore my favorite place in the world. You may have sailed, kayaked, jet skied, SUP toured and taken airboat tours but I bet you have never ridden a bike on the water. Now you can when you Hydrobike on the St. Johns River.
This is way easier than it looks and simultaneously harder than it looks. It’s a very simple design- a bike frame sits on 2 wide-set pontoons for a very sturdy platform. No matter how light or heavy you are, this thing will not tip. And a little bit of pedaling goes a long way in propelling the Hydrobike. Trout Creek and the St. Johns River do not have strong currents so you can rest when you need to.
That’s the easy part. The hard part? Well, if you haven’t ridden a bike in a while, you may be reacquainted with muscles that have been long neglected. Also, if you’re very short, like 10 year old sized, it’s a stretch to reach the pedals on the adult-sized frame. So if you’re Hydrobiking with young kids, you may consider putting them in a kayak with another adult and let the rest of the party bike OR play near the marina then let the bigger people do the longer tour.
That’s what we did when we went. Clara, Georgia Anne and Andrew were too short to reach the pedals so Daddy pedaled them around the creek. Note how sturdy the Hydrobikes are – she’s standing on one side and it’s not even tipping a bit!
While you can rent the Hydrobikes hourly and play around in the creek, taking the guided tour is a fantastic way to get to know the history of St. Johns County and to see the abundant nature that resides here.
Captain Mike points out critters and landmarks and shares stories as you pedal casually along the creek. It honestly takes your mind off the exercise portion of the experience.
It’s peaceful and quiet on the water… unless your short 11 year old is stretching really hard to reach the pedals and is constantly joking about his “atomic wedgie”. LOL! This is probably more funny to me than to you- but I hope I never forget laughing alongside this crazy boy.
Lauren was a trooper. She pedaled the whole time with me:
Timothy and Ben turned around before the rest of us and a manatee swam alongside them back toward the marina! Again, the up-close aspect of being in nature out in the western part of the county is absolutely breathtaking… and sometimes a bit comical. I wouldn’t fish off this guy’s dock:
As we pedaled back toward the marina, the sun was setting and a breeze blew gently. An occasional truck passing over the bridge or boat headed out to check crab traps mixed in with birds and frogs and gators and Lord only knows what other good night sounds. It’s a peaceful kind of loud- like when the kids are playing board games with a room full of friends.
Full of life.
It’s worth the sore legs to experience this side of St. Augustine.
Hydrobike Rentals on the St. Johns River (click “Book Online”)