The NORTH FLORIDA PIRATE LOOP follows a route the NFBC has been riding for decades. At one time, the Tour De Forts followed this route. Later there was an annual ride starting on Amelia Island called the Pirate Pedal that followed this route. More recently, it was Sunday ride that started at the Jacksonville Zoo. However, the Zoo asked us not use that location because we were disturbing the animals. (You don’t want to know…)
RIVER CITY (JAX) > YULEE > AMELIA > HECKSCHER > RIVER CITY (JAX)
This new version of the ride starts at the easy-to-access River City Shopping Area at the Jacksonville Airport I-95 Exit. (There are plenty of great places to eat after the ride.) The ride first heads north on 17. Then we explore the back roads of Yulee before crossing the bridge onto Amelia Island. We head south from Amelia Island along the ocean and St Johns River on Heckscher/A1Abefore heading back north toward the airport to close the loop. The majority of this ride takes place on roads with wide shoulders / bike lanes or on quiet back roads. The route does not use the heavy traffic under-construction SR-200 leading to Amelia Island.
The ride is 65 miles and there are no short cuts. The Ride Leader will stay with the slowest B group and there are plenty of rest stops, so don’t let the distance dissuade you from joining this great ride. In addition, the prevailing wind is from the NE so there should be a tailwind during the windiest section along the ocean.
Because this ride starts near I-95, it is easy to travel to the start from east, south, west or north of Jacksonville. For example, it takes less than 40 minutes to travel from the I-95/I-295 crossing on the Southside to the start of this ride.