Our bike ride begins at the St. Augustine Welcome Center, in the corner of Ponce de Leon Boulevard, the eternal US 1 that crosses the east coast of the United States from north to south and Matanzas Avenue. On the US 1 we will head north for a mile until the convergence with San Marco Avenue and State Highway 5A. This spot is the north entrance of the historic city. If we turn slightly right, after passing the town’s welcome mural, we will continue south through said avenue. In this zone we will see a fair share of hotels, attractions and commerce sites, as well as the characteristic Victorian architecture that remains majestic throughout the entire locality. One mile ahead we will turn left through San Carlos Avenue and then right on Magnolia Avenue. There we will be in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by old trees, shade, musk, rocky roads and silence. On this street we’ll find the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, which was allegedly the spot chosen by Ponce de Leon to disembark in 1513 on a quest for other -more material- things such as gold and silver, the miraculous waters, without knowing that he was officially discovering the “flowery land”.
Then we will pedal next to the old prison, in which the old scaffolds from which the prisoners were hung can still be seen. Next we will find the San Marcos castle and the visitor center, where we’ll see the starting point of the Old Spanish Trail that ended in San Diego, California. After this we will get to the ancient entrance of the village and the bay coastline with its colorful seawall. Once we’ve past the great drawbridge, with its magnificent marble lions that brings this part of the enclave together with the eastern beach zone, we will get to another main street, King Street, where we will turn right going through the square, the wax museum, the Avilés street or the Casa Monica hotel.
Then we will turn left on Cordova Street and merge to St George Street and continue close to the National Cemetery, next to the Maria Sanchez lake, which is surrounded by houses on both sides, until the South Street bridge. As we head west we will be entering Lincolnville, which covers the southeast of the Nation's Oldest City. Its name was chosen in honor of President Abraham Lincoln when the streets were paved in 1878. This historic district contains hundreds of houses of the Victorian era and was founded in 1866 by freed slaves. Its original name was “little Africa” or just “Africa”. Later -in 1963- it was an active place in favor of the civil rights movement of the African American people.
In 1964 Martin Luther King Jr. was a guest in the village of St. Augustine, leading several events that ended with the local jails full of manifestants. The Reverend himself was denied the entry to many places because of the Unwanted Guest Law.
Back to our ride! From South Street we'll head north through Washington Street, whose prolongation after Bridge Street is called Granada Street. From there we’ll move forward about 1100 meters until we get back to King Street, right in front of the magnificent Flagler College, where we will turn left. The labyrinthic route continues to the right on Sevilla Street and then right on Valencia Street and Cordova Street to then turn left on Cathedral Place and Charlotte Street. In this section of the route we will be close to all of the big buildings that were built under Flagler’s influence and those close to the cathedral. Next, we will go through the town, turning left on Hippolyta Street and right on St. George Street. The latter is a pedestrian street where we’ll see many small artisanal shops, restaurants and all kinds of historical buildings.
According to the law, in this part we should stop riding our bike and start walking among the crowds. The street will end on the exit of the ancient town with its thick stone columns, in the opposite sidewalk of the San Marcos castle.
Finally, crossing the bridge toward Ponce de Leon Boulevard, which leads to the least touristy areas of St Augustine, we will head back north until we get to the Welcome Center, where we began our trip. In conclusion, the magic of this place can be felt as soon as you get there because of how different it is to the rest of Florida. At night, the tours focus on stories about ghosts and phantoms. It is strange to find a building here that is not allegedly haunted. But rest assured, we won't have any complications as we go through our bike ride, and it will be very safe. It is always advised, however, to drive safely and with precaution.