Theo Hollerbach of Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe and the Sanford-Orlando Commuter Improvement Project committee are proud to announce the Hollerbach Highway. The 26.1 mile bike “Cyclebahn” will connect Sanford to Orlando and travel parallel to I-4.
“Other than family, I have two passions in life: one is creating a German experience for Americans to enjoy and the other is cycling,” Hollerbach said at today’s announcement press conference. “This project allows me to accomplish my goal of sharing both passions with the citizens of Orlando.”
The 50 million project is being partially funded by German breweries, including one of Theo Hollerbach’s favorite breweries Tucher.
To celebrate the opening of the bike highway, Tucher will be awarding German hats and beer glasses to anyone who uses the Cyclebahn for the first month. The company hopes their involvement with this project will boost the profile of German beer in the United States, particularly as competition with the American craft beer industry intensifies. “We look forward to the boost in German beer awareness our association with this project will bring. It’s time to cleanse the American palette of the scourge of IPAs, and bring back appreciation for the crispness of a well-made hefeweizen or the creamy delight of a true schwartzbier.”
The rest of the project will be funded via bike road tolls, with a total cost of $1.25 to ride the entire length of the Hollerbach Highway, beginning in Sanford and ending at the Citrus Bowl. The highway will feature twelve exits throughout Central Florida, and each exit will coincide with existing hospitality establishments to ensure riders stay hydrated. The Sanford on-ramp will be located in the alley of Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café, next to Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery. “We’re excited about connecting our community of Downtown Sanford with Orlando, and hope the Cyclebahn will increase the number of cyclists in Central Florida while also reducing the number of armadillo fatalities each year,” Hollerbach said. He went on to say that the Highway will feature an “armadillo lane”, which will allow the native Floridian creatures to roll down the road safely.
The project is expected to break ground August 1st, 2016 to coincide with The Willow Tree Café’s 15th anniversary. Florida Gov. Rick Scott attended the announcement press conference, and stated that beginning the project is top priority. “I don’t know much about bikes, but I truly believe that I-4 needs more construction to increase traffic jams for Central Florida commuters,” he said with a laugh and a menacing smile.
Expected completion of the Hollerbach Highway is fall of 2020. “It’s a huge undertaking,” Hollerbach said. “But we sincerely think it’s worth it. Who doesn’t like beer and bikes?”