Founding president visits new stop, revisits club’s history
It has a cylindrical, bi-level water fountain in English racing green, a pair of sparkling-white benches that will stay cool even on hot days, a detailed map of Sanibel roads and byways, some welcome shade from native trees, and, of course, a bike rack. It is the new rest area beside the shared use path at the corner of Middle Gulf Drive and Casa Ybel Road – and Keith Trowbridge approves.
The founding president of the Sanibel Bicycle Club is delighted by the latest addition to the island’s bike paths, now known as shared use paths. He expressed his pride in the progress the club has made since its inception in 1994, and he is particularly pleased that the rest area is dedicated to his friend, the late Dale Armstrong, a founding member of the club who served as its fifth president.
“It’s great to see the new rest stop dedicated to Dale. He was a wonderful guy and a stolid member of the Sanibel Bicycle Club. I’m so glad he’s been recognized in this way,” Trowbridge said.
“It’s great to see the bike club continuing to improve the paths in ways that will enhance the wonderful experience of biking on Sanibel,” he added. “Ever since we started the club in 1994, seeking improvements to the existing paths and hoping to create new ones, commitment to education and safety and careful planning have been hallmarks of the organization.”
After Armstrong’s death at the age of 88 in 2016, his family and friends underwrote the rest area through a donation to the club’s Trails in Motion Fund. The city made the land available, and on April 21, club members and city officials held a ceremony to officially open and dedicate the spot.
A section of Trowbridge’s autobiography, scheduled for publication later this year, tells how and why he spearheaded the effort to create the club and relates little-known details of the fledgling organization’s first encounters with the city. The book tells how a boy from the industrial city of Sarnia, Ontario, who grew up among fishermen and farmers, achieved success in academia. It tells how “The Father of Timeshare” invented a concept and created the nation’s first interval ownership resorts on Sanibel and then expanded the concept to areas throughout North America.
It was his career in real estate development that brought Trowbridge to Sanibel. It was his enjoyment of bicycling on Sanibel, and his recognition of the need for safer bike paths, and more of them, that led him to start the club. The well-maintained network of paths has been the lasting legacy of his early efforts, as well as the result of continuing efforts by all the members and leaders who followed him.