Dave Bee, the owner of Schwinn Shop, was practically born on the bicycle saddle—two of his uncles own cycling dealerships, and he remembers being able to ride before he could even walk. His first set of wheels, a 1968 Schwinn Pixie, now hangs on the store's wall, along with wooden-wheeled bikes and quirky items ranging from a Pee-Wee Herman doll collection to turn-of-the-century skis. Bee calls his enterprise a "museum of sorts," a testament to the freedom of spirit one can only discover from behind the handlebars. Indeed, the store's bevy of new and used bicycles entices potential owners to trade in their gas-guzzling horses and set out for new adventures. From the modern Schwinn designs to an assortment of Giant mountain bikes, cruisers, and single-speed commuters, Schwinn Shop's inventory offers options to suit any riding style. For current owners, the full-service repair shop can cure any ailment, from misaligned wheels to graying tassels, and Bee and his team of cycling technicians can customize frames with colorful tires or parts and accessories from Shimano, Origin-8, and Odyssey. The staff also rent out hybrid bikes for leisurely rides around Gainesville, catering to customers unwilling to endure the sleepless nights of ringing bells associated with bike ownership.
Norm White has more than 25 years of bicycle-industry experience under his spandex waistline, and puts his know-how to work at Daytona Bicycle Center, which he cofounded with his wife, Carla. The Whites outfit cyclists with an array of bikes for all riding styles and maintain the shop's inventory with comprehensive repair and maintenance services. Pedal-powered contraptions produced by Trek conquer roads, races, and mountain trails, and accommodate riders of all experience levels and ages. Before making a purchase, clients can take bikes for a spin to make sure that the saddle is comfortable, the gears change smoothly, and the wheels stay on. Each new bike comes with a free tune-up, and subsequent maintenance packages can be purchased for everything from basic adjustments and cleanings to complete disassembly. The shop also dispenses high-quality parts and biking apparel, such as shoes, gloves, and robotic legs that pedal for the biker.
Just a few steps from more than 22 miles of scenic trail-ways, West Orange Trail Bikes and Blades Co. provides tourists and locals with rentable bikes to explore the surrounding splendor. Stretching along Lake Apopka and through downtown Winter Garden, the path passes by boutiques, ice-cream shops, and historic destinations to jump off and explore by foot. Hourly and full-day rentals are available, and bikes can be delivered directly to any of the surrounding hotels. Those craving a more curated experience can sign up for guided tours, which traverse local trails, through populated downtown areas, and alleys filled with One Man's Treasure. Thanks to the range of bicycles offered, West Orange allows renters to get the right bike for hitting the trails or harmonizing to a rendition of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head."
David Lane and his business partner started their sports-rental shop inside a cramped garage filled with surfboards, kayaks, and paddleboards—items they used for sports they practiced themselves. Lane’s favorite part of his job is “helping people participate in the activities I enjoy,” and his business has grown to a full-size store that stocks paddleboards, surfboards, and bicycles and leads guided excursions. Inside, displays house surfboards adorned with sunsets, beaches, and coconut trees hand-painted by a local artist, alongside similarly painted canvases to display at home galleries or hang on monochromatic surfers. The owners also deliver rentals free of charge to customers, dropping off surfboards at the beach, taking kayaks to watery trails, or delivering bicycles to cruise ships’ port of call for passenger day trips.
Additionally, the store offers excursions and lessons, including surfing lessons, guided kayak trips, and adventurous surf-fishing trips to hook ocean creatures from tarpon to 9-foot sharks, which the store has helped tag for a research project with NOAA Apex Predators Program.
Beach Bound & Down maintains a fleet of sand-friendly cruisers that visitors can pedal along Cocoa Beach's scenic waterfront sights and sun-splashed beaches. The big bikes feature mounted GoPro HD cameras, which capture jaunts on video for easy uploading to Facebook or a highly specific dating website. Riders can snag a fat tire cruiser two blocks south of Ron Jons on Hwy A1A. While out on the paths, explorers take in the lively aromas of saltwater air while basking in the warm pulse of sun on their skin.
Just steps from Crystal Lake?and situated directly between Lakes Minnehaha and Mineeola?Clermont Waterfront Bikes and Boards provides ways to explore surroundings by both land and water. Rent a standup-paddleboard or kayak to explore the plethora of nearby waterways after taking an introductory lesson that is included with each rental. Landlubbers can borrow bikes to cruise along the car-free South Lake Trail, which connects to a network of other soothing Central Florida Trails.