Changes to U.S. Bike Route 1 could mean more business at Jacksonville area beaches

Part of a national trail will wind through coastal communities.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One of the best things about living in Florida is biking through the beach towns.

“I love the beach more than anything,” Sean Wrench said. “I just really enjoy the long distance rides. To me, it’s a huge rush.”

Wrench said he’s excited to hear about local communities supporting U.S. Bike Route 1.

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Right now, it runs down the east coast of Florida, mostly along A1A. Cycling advocates are working to extend the route all the way north to Maine.

Now, the groups behind it want to shift the bike path off state highways and onto more bicycle-friendly roads.

“It’s aimed at that long distance traveler. It’s aimed at a more pleasant experience for them,” Kerry Irons said.

Irons is a volunteer with Adventure Cycling. He’s been working with FDOT to reach out to 20 cities and towns about U.S. Bike Route 1.

He said the small changes to the route will bring cyclists right by shops, campgrounds and other amenities.

“The folks we're talking about typically spend more than $100 a day when they're traveling. That’s for lodging, food and miscellaneous things. So that’s a significant impact that they can have, particularly in smaller communities,” Irons said.

A map shows where the new route will go through Atlantic Beach. Neptune Beach is also on board.

“I think it will be a huge boost,” Wrench said. “If there’s a lot more people riding their bikes through here, they’re going to visit some of the local businesses.”

FDOT said there’s no cost to the community because the infrastructure is already in place.

The shift could happen in Atlantic Beach by Memorial Day.