Recreational & Family - gulf coast fl., suncoast trail
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Hey guys, I live in tampa and was wondering if anyone has ever ridin the entire trail that goes up the suncoast expressway? I'm very new to riding and was thinking of checking out that trail this weekend. I know in a car it takes about 40 to 50 minutes to go from tampa to citrus county, how long do you guys think it would take me on a trek hybrid?
05-25-06, 09:13 PM
The Suncoast Trail is 41.3 miles long, so I imagine it would take 2-3 hours minimum (2-3 days for me:D ). http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/regions/westcentral/trails/suncoast.htm
I haven't ridden that one yet, but we probably will at some point. We usually ride the Withlacoochee Rails to Trails as it is only a mile from our house. We also go to the 10 mile Barge Canal trail at the north end of Citrus County. If you feel like driving, the Nature Coast Trail in Levy/Dixie County is nice as well, although it may be a little far away for you. Have fun!
I would say if you are pretty new to riding, doing it in June in the heat and humidity, I would guess you would want to give yourself some extra time, and plenty of water. Are you going to ride all the way there and back, 80 miles? Or just one way? I generally average about 13mph or so on my hybrid when riding more than 25 miles. I usually take a couple minute break every 10 to 15 miles.
I know the feeling. I shared your enthusiasm, looking forward to riding all the cool paved trails in central Florida when I first got my bike. To date, I haven't been on a single one :o They are too far away. The closest is probably 18 miles away, and it's not practical to ride the bike to get to it. When I think about loading it up in the truck, I just decide it's not worth the effort. Maybe one day this county will catch up building multi use trails, but I doubt it. I had to make my own trail route on the local roads :p Interestingly enough, though I can't manage to drive 20 miles to get to a trail around here, I have taken the bike with me to Virginia and Maryland and ridden a few there :lol:
05-26-06, 04:11 PM
A great place to ride is in the Starkey Wilderness Preserve. There's a trail/bike path that has a parking lot at one end and t-bones at the Suncoast trail at the other. If you park in the parking lot and go to the end and back it's about 12 miles I believe. If you're feeling adventerous you can keep going on the Suncoast trail when you get there. The best part is the scenery is beautiful. I've seen tortorises, deer, snakes, hawks, all kinds of stuff, instead of... highway.
Oh, your question. The whole Suncoast trail out and back is 80+ miles. It will take all day if you go round trip. Bring LOTS of water/food. There is NOWHERE to buy some along the way.
05-26-06, 04:24 PM
+1 on a lot of the comments above. It's a long way round trip. It's very hot this time of year. There are very few places to water up, and only one place to get food (shopping center and 7-11 about 1/2 mile west of the trail on Spring Hill Blvd.), and not mentioned so far it is quite hilly at the northern end. Lastly, I have rarely ridden the trail when there hasn't been a strong crosswind. Crosswind = headwind both ways.
If you are prepared for the above, it's a beautiful ride with only a few road crossings, and very few cyclists north of S.R. 52.
05-26-06, 04:36 PM
I have ridden the Trail many times. I usually park at the SR54 crossing, ride north till I am half as tired as I want to be then turn around. The Starkey Wilderness park is a great side trip through the park. The noise from the Suncoast Parkway does not seem to enter your mind when riding even though it is very close by. There are a few "hills" at the northern end but nothing worth straining yourself about. I try to get there at or before daybreak for more solitude. Does get crowded as day goes by. One of the better trails in Central FL. The Withlacochee is another great trail but further away. I woulde rather ride trails than the streets so I load up bike in pick up and off I go. If you like peace and quiet, do the Withlacochee. If you like roller bladers and crowds, do the Pinellas Trail. The Suncoast is a place in between.
05-28-06, 02:51 PM
Okay, this is going to sound like a blatant plug, and in fact it may be. But I've ridden some of the trails here in the Tampa Bay area, and I've written some reviews, and posted some photos on my website. I just finished up the Van Fleet yesterday, and today went on a 20 miles jaunt on the Suncoast. I found that the "Trailhead" on SR 52 is a dirt lot 1/2 mile from the trail, and the so called access from Crews Lake park is over a bridge without bike lanes. I entered from Anderson Snow Park. There is a nice Trailhead on SR 50, with water and restrooms.
You can look over the data I've collected so far at www.BikingFlorida.com
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