As summer arrives in Tampa – bringing with it 90 days of 90-degree or above temperatures – visitors and residents alike seek relief from the heat.
Luckily, there's a new way to cool off, while also exploring the city’s downtown waterways, thanks to Tampa Bay Water Bike Company.
Water bikes? Yes, water bikes.
Discover a new way to view Tampa landmarks – by water bike – and gain relief from the summer heat at the same time — Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Water Bike Company
Using what looks like a standard bicycle mounted on two pontoons, you peddle over the water.
Although they're fairly easy to operate and almost impossible to tip over, perhaps you’d rather sit down? No problem. Try the BiYak. This ingenious kayak enables you to sit in comfort, ditch the paddle and maneuver by peddling.
What do you do with your newly freed-up hands? Take advantage of the cupholder and take along a refreshing beverage to sip as you sightsee. Both the water bikes and BiYaks feature two cup holders and built-in dry storage, too.
Once you’re out on the water, there's a lot to explore. Bikers can gain a unique perspective of many of Tampa’s iconic landmarks. You have the option to explore Garrison Channel, the Hillsborough River and the coast of Harbour and Davis Islands.
If you follow the river alongside Tampa’s newly expanded Riverwalk, you’ll soon spot the famous minarets of the University of Tampa. Directly across is the popular and busy Curtis Hixon Park, flanked by the ultra-contemporary Tampa Museum of Art.
A little further up is the impressive Straz Center, a world-class performing arts center.
An exploration of Garrison Channel leads you towards Tampa’s Cruise Port, which is usually lined with lots of envy-inducing yachts. On the right is Harbour Island, a primarily residential island. On the left are Cotanchobee Park and the Tampa Bay History Center. And just beyond that is Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team.
Cruise along the coastline of Davis Islands if you want to check out the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Derek Jeter and the Glazer family are just a couple of the names that can be dropped around here.
Some of Tampa’s most beautiful and expensive real estate is available for viewing along this route, and on the ride back, you will be treated to views of the picturesque downtown skyline.
The water in this area is generally pretty calm and easy to navigate, making water biking a fun activity for the whole family. Anyone over the age of eight is able to ride independently, but the pontoon can also accommodate an additional person (or dog), if required.
An hour out on the water will cost you $30, but a two-hour session gets you a discount at $50. Safety gear and instruction are provided, as well as basic river information.
To plan your next adventure, you can book online at Tampa Bay Water Bike Company's website or in person.