Last week I did one of the coolest things here in Orlando, I went on an Orlando Bike Tour. Orlando Bike Tours was started by my friend Sarah Peerani. Sarah is a Florida native and Orlando advocate, Sarah enjoys bringing the community together to create meaningful connections around new experiences, such as the Orlando Conductor Crawl or with Rethinking the City and Global Shapers. Orlando Bike Tours is an opportunity to showcase the many reasons why she’s so glad to call The City Beautiful home — the endless amounts of things to do, the unique places and all of the people in it who make it great.
Orlando Bike Tours offers guided tours through the City Beautiful every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month. Each tour falls into one of four categories – culture, food, drink, or wellness. Tours vary in price depending on where it goes and what is included, but the great thing is that for an additional $5 you can use a bike from Orlando Bike Share. Orlando Bike Tours reserves the bike for you and makes sure it is at the starting location of each tour. At the end of the tour you just lock up your bike and you can head home. Cool huh?
The theme of the tour we went on was drink and it was a juice tour. We visited 3 juice bars where we were able to try a variety of juices and smoothies. We were also joined by Health & Wellness Coach & Certified Trainer, Dena Davis, who shared information about the nutritional value behind juicing and smoothies at every stop.
Our tour started at Extract Juice & Tapas which is located in The Exchange downtown on Garland Avenue. They usually aren’t open on the weekends, but they made an exception for us. I was super excited when I walked up and saw the row of BRIGHT ORANGE Orlando Bike Share bikes. THEY WERE ORANGE! I knew this was the right place for me.
Extract is super cute! There are a couple of great seating areas along with a shuffleboard table and a pool table. I could definitely see this being a great place for a quick (and healthy) lunch or afternoon snack. In addition to juices and smoothies they also offer pita pizzas and salads. While we were there I tried a smoothie and it was AMAZING. It had a lot of ginger in it which I loved.
After spending about 45 minutes at Extract and listening to some healthy tips from Dena we got on our bikes and headed out. Did you know that if you have a group of 4 bikes or more you can take over an entire car lane on the road? Yep, you totally can. If there isn’t a bike lane this a good alternative and a great way to stay safe. I’m sure our group of 30+ bikes making our way through downtown was quite the site to motorists.
Our next stop was Blissful Cafe over on Colonial. It was about a 2 mile ride, but the fine folks from Orlando Bike Tours make sure to map out the safest route that they can. If there aren’t bike lanes they try to keep to residential streets. It was a nice ride to Blissful and I didn’t hit anyone or anything, so I call that a win.
Blissful was just as cute as Extract but in a totally different way. Blissful was homey, comfy, and relaxing. I really felt like at any moment someone was going to start chanting or doing yoga. I had juice here and it was completely different than my smoothie from Extract. It was green and definitely had some sort of grass in it. It was nice and refreshing after our 2 mile ride and just the right boost I needed for the next leg of our trip.
Our last stop was at RAW Juicing & Detox in Thornton Park. This place is TINY! When you go inside there is just enough room to stand at the counter and order your food or drink. All the seating is outdoors and they even have a walk up window so you don’t have to go back inside to get your order. The outdoor seating is great but by the time we got there it was going on lunch time and it was quite sunny and hot. I’d definitely enjoy RAW more during the cooler months. At this stop we were able to try samples of various juices and smoothies. A view people even ordered their wraps (since it was lunch time) and everything looked pretty great.
At the end of the tour we had a couple options depending on how you got there. If you were on your own bike you were free to do as you wish of course. If you had a share bike you had to “return” it. I use the term return loosely because you can pretty much leave it anywhere, locked up, and they will find it. All the bikes have a GPS tracker so that they can be located and returned to stations. You can also return it to any station in the city. Just a note, normally if you rent an Orlando Bike Share bike and don’t return it to a station there is an additional charge.
We had a great time on our first Orlando Bike Tour and we will DEFINITELY be for another one!