I had a great time riding (Red) e2ride's comfy, sturdy hybrid bikes with guide and owner, Leigh. Her personal story of leaving the corporate world behind and opening her little bike tour business delighted me every bit as much as the juicy tidbits about the area's history and legends.
But the real treat for me was simply discovering the joy of bike riding again. The area reminded me of the tree-lined streets I used to explore as a kid on my new Schwinn! While nervous at first, Leigh's "just the right amount, just when you need it" instruction and encouragement soon had me grinning from ear to ear as I bumped on down a historic brick street, or weaved my way from the road up onto the sidewalk with ease. I'd suggest doing this tour early in your trip to Jacksonville as Leigh can provide great suggestions about other things to do and see in Jacksonville, places to eat, etc. For instance, after my tour, Leigh gave me driving directions to try out the cute little ice cream shop.
"Romantic and Different" I surprised my wife with the Riverside-Avondale bike tour for our 10-year anniversary. We had a great time! Leigh has done her homework and really goes out of her way to make the tour memorable and enjoyable. I highly recommend this tour.
The Mandarin tour meanders through stunning oak-canopied streets and historic sites at a leisurely pace that provides plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and imagine what it was like to live in Harriet Beecher Stowe's time. Leigh provided excellent historical background information about the stops and was a great companion. She showed us good examples of houses in different building styles, from the earliest days up to the present, and let us in on the secret of those big bumps in many front yards! Our final stop was a serendipitous "extra" feature at the cemetery where Leigh's friendly outgoing personality encouraged an expert headstone engraver to give us a fascinating detailed explanation and demonstration of how the names and dates are etched into granite. The bikes were very comfortable and by the end of the tour, we'd seen more and learned more about Mandarin than we could have if we'd been living there for a long time. An excellent way to have fun in Jacksonville!
So Fun and Interesting.
I didn't expect to learn as much about Jacksonville and Riverside as I did in this tour! I've lived here my whole life, but Leigh surprised me with many different interesting pieces of Jacksonville history and trivia. It was a great day adventure and Leigh was such a pleasant and friendly guide. If you haven't ridden a bike in awhile, don't be afraid. Leigh provides all the safety equipment and precautions you will need, plus it doesn't take much time to get right back in the rhythm of riding a bike! My group had so much fun and I would definitely recommend this to Jacksonville visitors and natives alike!
Great afternoon! We took the Mandarin tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. Leigh was exceptionally friendly and helpful. The biking was easy, and Leigh provided water, snacks and even photos. We'd recommend the bike tours to anyone traveling with kids. Our teenage boys - who usually act bored by most of what we plan on vacation - had a lot of fun and absorbed some history and culture despite themselves.