A few weeks back, I was in Downtown West Palm Beach and noticed a line of blue bicycles called SkyBike. They’ve been around since 2015, and stationed in different streets across Downtown, the Waterfront and CityPlace. Now they have teamed up with Visit Palm Beach Guided Bike Tour to offer our residents and tourists a bike’s view of our city’s many splendors.
That’s the perfect way to enjoy the picturesque waterfront, historic neighborhoods, public art, buzzing shopping and entertainment areas around CityPlace and our vibrant downtown.
Kami Kreaps, Manager of the Waterfront Visitor Information Center, explained to me that they want to create a unique experience offering bike tours that incorporate all the senses. “We want tourists and locals to see, touch, taste, smell and hear all about West Palm Beach,” she said.
I invite you to take the SkyBike Guided Tours. It is one of the most exciting ways to have an intimate, hands-on perspective of all West Palm Beach in a couple of hours.
The Tours Crew
If you wanted to go on a bike ride, who would you take along? Most of us would choose a significant other or a best friend. That’s what makes this sort of ‘workout’ so awesome! Consider Kami, and the rest of the young and hip SkyBike crew, your best friends. And best of all, you don’t need to plan anything. Leave all the details to them and enjoy the ride.
Our First Stop: the Quiet of the Waterfront.
West Palm Beach is magnificent. And from the water’s edge, even more so. As you ride down the boardwalk, you can see breathtaking views of the Downtown’s colorful architecture mingled with palm trees and crisp blue skies most of the time. And of course, the view of gorgeous yachts framing the Intracoastal Waterway along Flagler Drive.
The South Cove’s natural area was the first stop. It has a fantastic view of both Downtown West Palm Beach and the island of Palm Beach from the water. Its boardwalk entrance is located ¼ mile north of the intersection of Okeechobee Boulevard and Flagler Drive. As I stood on the bridge for a moment, I saw our city in a new light.
We inched further down the long stretch of the boardwalk and came to another stop—deep into the other side of the lake—to get a glimpse of a man-made habitat for birds, manatees and sea turtles. I was told by one of the crew that if the tide is high, you can see schools of fish including, needle fish, barracuda and mullet. I did! Along with a pair of gray blue herons standing by the rocky shore. Their bluish glassy eyes stared back at us as if to say, ‘Welcome to my habitat. Please, don’t trespass!’
Moving on, it was our first encountered with installations of public art in the area—the murals by Hawaiian-born and New York-based Sean Yoro (who goes by the name of Hula) —located at both sides beneath the Royal Park Bridge, and which he painted while balancing on a surfboard.
Following a route down south on Flagler, we encountered active locals walking and riding their own bikes for leisure or exercise. My SkyBike was comfortable and was surprisingly easy to pedal in a casual upright riding position. Kami and I were chatting riding side-by-side. She recounted some of the city’s history, and how its pioneers traveled through Lake Worth [the lagoon, not the city] and immediately felt right at home.
Another member of the tour crew, Brian Marozzi, came around to my left and together we rode at a nice pace along the sidewalk filled with gorgeous green palm trees. Brian and I talked about pineapple plantations that filled acres upon acres around this area years ago, and then he told me more recent news about free events, concerts, and our very own Green Market—all by the waterfront.
El Cid, Flamingo Park and Other Historical Sites
Leaving the watery landscape behind, our bike tour cut through the side streets of El Cid, one of our city’s most iconic and historical neighborhoods, famous for its lush trees and gorgeous Old Spanish style homes that don’t fit a mold. We rode right along to the Mango Promenade, which is the narrowest street in West Palm Beach. This charming street is located just north of the Norton Museum and is perfect for a ride in the shade. Kami told us that when starfruits are in season, one of the home owners sets out a basket full of them for passersby to take with them. Nice!
Next, Flamingo Park. Both urban and artsy, it has something for everyone! With its low and calmed traffic streets, this quaint neighborhood showcases some of the most beautiful historic architecture, lush landscaping, and vegetation found in our city.
Along the way, Brian pointed out to an assortment of Banyan, Gumbo Limbo, Royal Poinciana, and green and gray button trees. As a Flamingo Park lover, I was in my zone.
After about an hour’s ride, Casa Grandview was in sight. We rode through French Quarter Street, enjoying the cool morning breeze as it whistled down the narrow street. Charming and welcoming, Casa Grandview turned out to be a rather nice surprise—a cluster of cottages securely hidden off the beaten path.
Buzzing Shopping Areas, Art Filled Streets & Parks
The energy pumped up as we left the residential area behind and entered CityPlace. This is the entertainment hub of our city, and always hopping with excitement—the perfect location to see and be seen in West Palm Beach.
Our city is passionate about art, and it has given our local artists opportunities where they can create and showcase their street art. Murals can be found all around Clematis Street and CityPlace. One of our stops was at the Wine Scene where murals made by different street artists refresh the Mediterranean look that CityPlace provides.
A few blocks down the road, another stop: Clematis Street. I took time to see the Street Art Revolution canvas, curated by five local artists. It currently sports the legendary faces of music icons Prince, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Bob Marley, and an extremely realistic depiction of Beastie Boys late Adam Nathaniel Yauch, frequently known by his stage name, MCA.
The tour came to another stop by Jose Marti Park, just yards away from the Waterfront. This is a park named after a Cuban national hero and important personality in Latin American literature. This is the threshold of the impressive public art scene on display known as Canvas Outdoor Museum Show. The SkyBike tour guides explained out the murals and art installations made possible by a selection of artists from around the world.
The Canvas show took place last November and its theme was Connections. As our team interacted with some of the art found at the park by displaying our thoughts in writing about, “What does Connection mean to you?” I wrote: “Real, face-to-face relationships.”
AWAY we GO
The trouble with starting something fun is you have to end it at some point. And Palm Harbor Marina was that point for us. Gazing at some of the most sleek mega yachts in the world, we rode back down south to our starting point. We took our final turn on our two wheels—an amazing perch from which to ride and explore our beautiful city on bike.
Friends, Family or Business
There’s something exciting to be said about the way everything links together in this tour. It had it all—interesting kind people, lovely natural settings, beautiful sightseeing, and wonderful and informative guides.
If you are looking for an adventure or eager to discover something new, the SkyBike Tour is a sure way to explore West Palm Beach without the headache of driving and parking. So, ready to go out for a spin? Gear up! A pair of wheels is all you need to experience our city. The SkyBike Guided Tours include bike, helmet (optional), water and the best guides to explore West Palm Beach main districts.
You can visit www.VisitPalmBeach.com for more information on tour dates, hours and pricing. You can also call (561) 881-9757 to speak directly with the tour guides about any specific information of the tour, safety, or other concerns.