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Old 24 Sep 21, 08:47 PM  
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Mqt
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AMI After a 15 Night Layover. Day 4, 6th September 2021-Cycling to Perico Preserve.

I was looking forward to today. We were going to have our first bike ride since we arrived.

We love cycling on the island. It’s pretty flat and you can avoid busy roads altogether if you know it well enough to divert through certain streets. Having said that, they take their cycle lanes seriously and have even built a custom cycle/walking lane on the Northern part of the island. So, all in all, we feel safe and comfortable riding around.

I say ‘comfortable’, but in some ways, Mr Mqt would disagree. Let me backtrack and you’ll see where I’m going with this….

First of all, let me tell you that before we set off today, Mr M fitted a new saddle to his bike which had arrived from Amazon yesterday. This is why:

We used to hire bikes occasionally and bought our own here in August 2019. For various reasons, we didn’t get much chance to use them before our last visit which was in January/February 2020. At that time, we did several rides around the island and further afield. Mr M complained a couple of times that his saddle was very uncomfortable and on one occasion, we took the bikes off the island and did a trail which was over 30 miles. Well, at the end of it, he could barely sit down and complained all the way back in the car and how we laughed over the next few days. Let’s say we both found it very amusing despite the pain being genuine!

Anyhow, fast forward to February this year and a picture of Mr M popped up on my photo memories on my phone. It was of him stood on the trail, his bike out of view, saying ‘One year ago today’. He wasn’t on his bike for the photo but looked happy and smiley, despite the pain he was in at the time.

I sent him the picture whilst he was at work with a laughing emoji saying ‘remember this day?’ and heard nothing back.

When he returned home from work I asked him if he’d seen the picture and he said, ‘Yes, I replied to you’. He got his phone out and showed me his reply in which he had copied the picture and captioned it, ‘ The smile on my face hides the burning fire below’.

However, he had sent it to our builder/workman by mistake who, at the time, happened to be doing a job at our daughters house. He is quite shy and didn’t know what to make of it. Although being a family friend, he was too embarrassed to say anything. He’s assumed it was sent in error and had thought he had been erroneously sent part of an intimate text conversation between the two of us We’ve since told him what it related to but not sure he quite believes us as the bike wasn’t in sight on the photo. It is an ongoing subject of much hilarity between the builder and the rest of the family, for whom he is the go-to man for any jobs which need doing!

So, explanation done and new saddle fitted, we prepared today to go to Perico Preserve.

First of all, we needed some sustenance so ordered a box of donuts from the new donut shop on Bridge Street Pier, The Island Donut Company. They arrived within minutes and we demolished three each. (in my defence they were smaller than they look!)


So, we prepared to set off…


To get to Perico Preserve, you need to go ‘off island’. It’s a cycle ride of about 4 miles from our house and involves some lovely views en-route. In fact, one part of the ride is one of my favourite viewpoints near Anna Maria. As I said before, Anna Maria is generally cycle-friendly and there is a safe cycle lane going across the 2 bridges (one at Bradenton Beach and one at Holmes Beach) which separate the island from the mainland. Today we were crossing the road/bridge which goes from Holmes Beach.

Before we got to the bridge, we passed Kingfish Boat Ramp and took a couple of pictures.



The view whilst cycling over the bridge is stunning. You can see for miles towards the North and South of the island, often catching a school of dolphins or a manatee swimming by.


We arrived at Perico Preserve and the car park was deserted. Indeed, we had the whole of the nature reserve to ourselves for the whole afternoon. It was just wonderful.


To start with, we cycled down the bike tracks. It’s pretty flat throughout. So, although it was very hot, it wasn’t too strenuous and it’s just stunning.


Perico Preserve was originally farmland and has been ‘crafted’ into a natural bird and wildlife sanctuary, which is something close to how it might have been hundreds of years ago. It comprises of bike and walking trails across its 200 acres.

We got to the end of the cycle track and left the bikes, continuing our journey on foot.

A nice slow stroll gave us the chance to see some wildlife. We saw an osprey with a fish!


A Gopher tortoise…

..and lots of tiny crabs which were too fast to capture on our phones.

There are also a couple of large swing seats on the trail, so we stopped off at one of them and had our very welcome cold drinks and just stayed there, in the shade for half an hour or so, just taking it all in.


It really was just a serene, peaceful place to be. We really enjoyed the solitude and felt very lucky to be there.

Once refreshed, we carried on with the rest of the trail, which passes over wetland and boardwalks.

Also, a really interesting fallen tree which seemed to have carried on growing, with tall branches growing vertically from the now-horizontal trunk.


We then looped round to where the bikes were parked and headed back to Anna Maria. Once home, we decided to eat in as we couldn’t be bothered getting ready to go out, so did (another!) Instacart order and had Publix burgers (if you know, you know!) which were yummy, another quick walk to the beach, some hot-tubbing and ice cream.

Edited at 08:58 PM.
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Old 25 Sep 21, 06:46 PM  
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mick
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Looks a lovely place to have a nice ride/walk and the swing seat sounds great

Joan
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Old 25 Sep 21, 06:57 PM  
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speedwayfan
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So lovely to see pictures of the Island again, hopefully we'll get there next month.

Jill

PS We like the Publix burgers that are mixed with blue cheese.
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Old 2 Oct 21, 12:39 PM  
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Firstxmastrip
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thank you for sharing! Anna Maria Island is my favourite place in the world, im always checking the web cam day dreaming of going back!

Must be so nice for you to be back! cant wait to read more.
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Old 7 Oct 21, 11:46 AM  
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sparkles18
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Loving your trip report especially as we are hoping to stay on AMI in December.
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