JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Springfield is the most bike-able area in Jacksonville’s urban core, according to walkscore.com.
If you’re new to cycling or haven’t had a chance to explore much, you might not know about it.
Since 2019, a local group has invited people to see what it has to offer from art to history.
Springfield Preservation and Revitalization, or SPAR, will host its first “Explore the Core” bike social of the year in two weeks.
It offers a way to see how the oldest neighborhood in the Urban core is connected to the rest of Downtown.
“We were actually the most bikeable neighborhood in the city of Jacksonville and we decided to grow that and to become even more bikeable and bike-friendly to the city,” said Kelly Rich, SPAR Council Executive Director.
Explore the Core was created to promote Historic Springfield’s bike-friendly reputation to the rest of Jacksonville.
Its goal is to get people comfortable riding bikes, teach bike safety, and explore other historic neighborhoods all while meeting new members of the community.
“We ended last year with our holiday bike ride and we actually stay in the neighborhood and ride through the neighborhood to look at holiday lights. And we hit, I think 350 riders,” said Rich.
Rich said the program has grown and evolved since its inception.
“The first year we averaged about 30 riders each time, which is a good group. But then, of course, with COVID, we continued the rides and people were looking for safe outdoor activities. And so, our numbers really started to bloom. Then we started averaging 50 to 60,” Rich said. “And then, of course, just the interest of learning more about the art and history of downtown Jacksonville and all of the urban core, just really saw an improvement of numbers and excitement and energy.”
These bike social routes are typically three hours long, free to the public, open to all skill levels, and you need your own bike.
It also promotes bike safety and etiquette.
“Treating a bike like a vehicle, you have the right to be on the road. Talking about when you’re riding in a group not to go further than a two-bike width. You know teaching drivers used to seeing bikes back on the road. Stopping at stop signs. You know a lot of misconceptions about riding against traffic, you’re actually supposed to ride with traffic,” said Rich.
This year’s ride kicks off in the Historic Durkeeville area on Feb. 5.
It’s the first time the bike social has gone through that community.
Art Bike Jax is offering e-bike rentals if you don’t have your own ride.
The 2022 list of Explore the Core excursions include:
- Feb. 5 - Historic Durkeeville
- April 29 - Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp game
- June 18 - Evergreen Cemetery
- September TBD - Historic Eastside Murals/Jacksonville Jaguars Game
- Oct. 28 - Historic Springfield Bike-A-Boo!
- Dec. 13 - Historic Springfield Annual Holiday Bicycle Ride
You can find more information about the program, here.