There’s just something about seaside communities that brings out the beach cruiser in all of us.
Just ask Kearstin Rew, manager of the recently opened Bird Legs Bicycles on Jacksonville’s 3rd Street South. “I was excited to explore [the city],” she says. “Having lived in Tallahassee for such a long time, which has its own incredible biking culture, it was refreshing to get to experience such a different and unique part of the state.”
To its credit, Florida’s capital has indeed been making improvements to its cycling infrastructure, recently jumping to #38 on Bicycling.com’s annual 50 Best Bike Cities list. It was there that Bird Legs Bicycles first set up shop, occupying their flagship store on Capital Circle NE. But as Kearstin is quick to point out, while Jacksonville might be significantly bigger than its western neighbor, it has a cycling appeal all its own.
“What I realized moving here is, it’s a beautiful place to just ride around.”
It’s this simple yet utterly satisfying scenery, composed of sand-strewn beaches and flat, palm tree-laden bays, that Bird Legs Bicycles looks to share with customers at its newest location, situated a mere two blocks from the gentle dunes of Jacksonville Beach.
“Our location definitely steers us towards being a very family-friendly bike shop,” says Kearstin, referencing her store’s extensive range of lifestyle and commuter-oriented bicycles. “It makes it extremely easy for customers to get onto the beach. We want to give [them] the opportunity to enjoy the city from that aspect.” There’s a chuckle as she continues, “and not have to worry about the driving.”
Quips about traffic notwithstanding, there’s no denying Jacksonville’s progressive push towards bike-friendliness. With routes like the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail and even portions of the A1A reserved for cyclists, more and more enthusiasts and first-time riders are beginning to take to the asphalt. And if you ask Kearstin, there’s no better shop to help get them there.
“We honestly love helping people find the perfect bicycle. It’s one of those magical feelings when someone comes in who hasn’t ridden a bike in years and you can help them find exactly what they’re looking for. They walk out with the biggest smile on their face.”
Conveniently, those smiles extend to happy visitors as well, who are able to take advantage of Bird Legs Bicycles’ diverse rental fleet to help them cruise along the beach and nearby Jacksonville Pier. This includes a selection of sleek Trek and Electra Townie Go! e-bikes, helping to set the shop apart from other area outlets.
By utilizing Spinlister Pro’s seamless rental software, Kearstin and her team are establishing themselves as the city’s go-to bike rental destination – and customers are already starting to take notice.
“It’s very simply laid out and straightforward,” she says. “The online interface is solid, and it’s really easy to convey to customers what to do and how things work. I think the [Spinlister] app helps people feel comfortable when using it, and it gives us a more unique and efficient rental system.”
While it may take a few more years for the city to rise to the ranks of Bicycling.com’s Top 50, local Jacksonville bike shops like Bird Legs Bicycles are helping to solidify the foundation that will make that transition possible. And with a service resume that includes repairs, rentals, and a robust retail organization that extends well into the e-commerce sphere, it would appear that the shop with a killer location, an attention-grabbing name, and a team of passionate industry experts is already well ahead of the curve.