Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Biking to Caspersen Beach

Thursday December 25, 2014
Oscar Scherer State Park
Osprey, Florida




Late yesterday afternoon, we managed to pick up the last hybrid bike available for rent by Real Bikes in Venice Florida.  David and I travel with our bikes so we only need to rent one for Carrie so we can all bike to the beach.   It has 21 gears and came with a helmet, a front handlebar bag and a lock.   It is perfect!!

The Legacy Trail is a fantastic paved bike path that runs from Sarasota to Venice and beyond.  It runs right next to Oscar Scherer which is one of the trail heads so it is very easy to set out from our camp site and bike on. 

The day is predicted to be cloudy and cool.  Seems just right for riding. 


There are several trailhead parks along the path where you can access the trail, use restrooms or drinking fountains.  There are also rest benches, some with picnic tables or shelters marked as “depots”.   There are many information signs about the railroad whose right of way this is and about the flora and fauna of the area.   This one we call the butterfly stop.   It has a very interesting board with all the butterflies of South Florida.  The number is of butterflies is amazing.  There are also butterfly bushes all around it.





The trail crosses and runs beside the intracoastal waterway at several points.




Tide must be out as these oyster beds are exposed and this little blue fisherman is busy.





Many really up scale homes are along the waterways.




Eventually we come to the only hill on this otherwise flat trail.  We climb up and over the bridge which enables us to cross the Tamiami Trail with no danger.   We stop here to look over from our great height, catch our breath and check the map.  There is a jog in the trail when it gets to Venice if you want to continue on to Caspersen Beach.





Bathroom break at the original Venice Train Station where the circus once came to town.





No trains scheduled today.  Or any day now for that matter.



The jog we take off of the Legacy Trail and over to the Venetian Waterway Park Trail requires that we walk our bikes over the Circus Bridge in order to cross the Intracoastal Waterway.  From up here, we have a great view of the train station and the waterway.  It’s just a gorgeous day for biking.




I love the multicolored tiled roof of the train station.



Now we are on the other side of the Intracoastal and headed straight for Caspersen Beach.  We have to go around a couple of housing areas and past Venice High School, home of the Indians.  We think they should be called the Mariners or the Explorers or something that goes with Venice better than Indians.





Along the way we see several gopher tortoises and stop to watch this one enjoy his lunch.





At the end of the trail, here we are at Caspersen Beach.  We lock up the bikes and walk down to the shore.

What are all these people doing on this day in this chilly water?   They are hunting diligently for shark’s teeth.  Caspersen is well known as a place where you can find shark’s teeth.  We came in 2012 and spent the day here on a much sunnier, much warmer day in December.  Carrie and I hunted for teeth and she found some.  We did not have all the equipment of these “professionals”.  We just used our hands.






They appear even to be cutting away at the sand.  Could they be looking for shark’s teeth too?




We settle in with some snacks for a bit of people watching.  And boy is it fun.






This group has a system.  He digs with the tool and brings up the sand then pours it on the PVC pipe table.  The woman on the left pours water over it all while the one on the right sifts through looking for teeth.  When finished, they dump the remains back in the water.   Repeat, over and over and over and…..    How can they be sure they aren’t just scooping up the same sand repeatedly?




The sky watching isn’t so bad either.




See what I mean about people watching.  How about that holiday hat.  I have to try that with mine.



There were folks inside this little tent hut as we left.  They seem set up for the day with their picnic basket.  Maybe they’ve finished their shark toothing.





Snacks and people watching finished, we climb back on the bikes for our return trip.






Here is the Circus Bridge we will cross back over to return to the Legacy Trail.  But before we do, we bike a block or so down Venice Avenue to “Historic Venice” for a ride through town.  I am very surprised to find no holiday decorations or the really beautifully painted dolphins and sea turtles that were here in 2012.  I later learn that the sculptures were auctioned off in March to benefit the art center.  They were huge.  Wonder where people will put them?

We bike down one side of the main street and up the other.  I take no pictures.   I just realize that when I go to put this post together.




Just before the bridge we pass this very nice mural with images of the history of Venice.







We leave the Historic District, cross the Circus Bridge, pass the train station, the little red caboose  and we are back on the Legacy Trail, just over 5 miles from the park.  We’ve done nearly 4/5ths of our ride.









We haven’t been biking in a while and Carrie hasn’t been in a very long time, so as we near the end of our ride, they are both mentioning that their butts are getting sore. Stand up peddling seems to help.   I don’t really have this problem.  Hmmm, I guess I have more natural padding.




We neglected to take the regulation Nancy Mills pre-biking photo but we rectify this at the end of our 24 mile ride to Caspersen Beach and back.  We had a wonderful time and no one is so totally tired that they are finished for the day.




Back for dinner and the last of the cake before hitting the Mexican Train Game again.  Yes he is actually scraping the very last crumbs out of the cake pan.










  1. Nice ride! It is great biking weather that's for sure!

  2. It looks like such a beautiful area to bike through. The tortoise looks like a real character.

  3. Glad you had a great bike day. Just another warm 83 very humid day here with a great sunset. Kathy is certain we are walking at least five miles each day.

  4. what a beautful bike ride. . .those teeth hunters were going at it like sluicing for gold.

    I think David should just stick his head in the dish and lick the rest of that frosting off. . .LOL!

  5. How funny! You are just a few days behind us! We enjoyed our time at Oscar Scherer too. We were at that same beach looking for shark teeth. We went kayaking though and unfortunately didn't have time to do that bike trail. But it sure looked like fun! We are at Anastasia until 12/31, the we head to Destin, Grayton Beach.

  6. This brought back so many wonderful memories of our two weeks in Venice in December, 2010. We rode up and down that bike path so many times. I loved that mural and have that exact picture of it. What fun!

  7. Okay, this post brings a couple of questions to my mind. First, what the heck is a hybrid bicycle? And then I wonder if you stop to take pictures of Carrie and David riding, or do you do it on the 'fly' while you are pumping? When I was young, I could ride a bike no handed, but not any more. ;)

  8. Wow, that's some lengthy ride. Hard to believe there wasn't ice cream along the way somewhere.

  9. Or at least a detour to search for ice cream or pastries. We would all understand!!

  10. My butt would be sore after 24 miles! Looked like a fun ride and ah....the beach! Glad you had fun! Love the tortoises-

  11. Well Alrighty.... we are gonna get our bikes out and get our butts in shape;o)) Hope you can leads us to the beach as well!! Funny pictures with the empty cake dish. Questions... Why is there mustard on the table?? Does David like it so much he puts it on his cake?!?!?!!!! LOL;o)))))

  12. That looks like a great trail for our recumbent trikes! I love seeing the solar panels on the waterway house, but wonder if they've survived a hurricane yet :-( The train station is beautifully maintained, I hope they use it for something now that trains don't stop. So the tooth-hunters......seems like a pretty industrious group with the "tools", in the cold water, on Christmas day. I imagine it was very entertaining :-)) I'm glad none of the Solstice cake went to waste.....and very little washing was required to clean it. So, so glad you all are having a great time together!

  13. What a great bike ride! It's going on my list…thanks for sharing!

  14. It was such a fun day! Great ride, great people watching and great cake! :) Lovely way to spend Christmas. That tortoise looked like he was caught in the act. Glad we got too see him!

  15. What a nice ride on a nice trail. Looks like you've had a great time with Carrie. You'll miss her when she goes back home!

  16. What a great bike ride, I'm sure I'd be butt sore too, isn't it fun to people watch, folks do the strangest things.

  17. A great ride, I think the Rails to Trails is a wonderful initiative. I hope we see more conversions of old rail beds in the future.

    How about the Venice "Gondolas" for a team name? :cD

  18. Beautiful ride! Is it legal for people to harvest the oysters?

  19. I love the crumb scraping picture as I am familiar with the technique. Looks like a wonderful day. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Look at David's expression in that last photo ! Priceless !! and is that a jar of his new mustard in that photo ?

  21. That is one long ride! by the 14th mile I am already pooped.
    Looking at all your sunny pictures and outdoor activities made me long for another Florida winter. The family photo is priceless.
    Thank you for sharing your family celebrations and family moments.

  22. Haha, hilarious "crumb scraping" photo!! That was a serious bike ride. No wonder you guys can eat so many goodies and stay in such good shape.


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