CELEBRATING A LOCAL BIKE PIONEER
by Ron Cunningham, Executive Director Bike Florida
In 1977 Herb Hiller got out of his car and got onto his bicycle. Herb has never been the same, and neither has Florida. At the time, Herb was a travel writer living in Coral Gables. He was also something of a pioneer, having foreseen the economic potential of what he called “alternative tourism” in Florida. Or more specifically, bicycle tourism.
After spending 20 months riding 1,200 miles throughout the Suwannee River Valley — exploring small, out-of-the-way communities and mapping scenic back roads — Herb helped establish the inaugural Suwannee River Tours as a way to bring new economic vitality to the small towns and businesses of north Florida. Years later, he would be the guiding force behind the establishment of Bike Florida’s “St. Johns River to The Sea Loop Tour” — a four-county, week-long route that connects St. Augustine, Flagler Beach, New Smyrna Beach, DeLand, the St. Johns River towns of Welaka and Palatka and the historic African-American community of Armstrong, on the “Gullah Geechee Corridor.”