Touring - Routes across Florida
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10-23-07, 06:18 AM
Hi from the UK. I'm looking for a low-traffic-volume route across Florida for the start of a trans USA tour with Montag, my Bob Jackson 'custom special tourist' in late 2009, probably starting at Jacksonville although I'm open to other suggestions, and taking me to the state border to the west. I'd like to be original and plan my own route rather than just follow the southern tier although I don't mind borrowing bits of it! It would be nice to start further south, but advice on one web site seems to suggest cycle tourists are better off in the northern half of the state. I loathe heavy traffic, so that's what's mainly guiding me when I can get the information. There seems to be a longish (40 miles) paved trail running north of Tampa past Withlacoochee but it's not easy to see how this could link in with a low-volume route from the east. Florida seems to lack downloadable traffic volume mapping unlike most other states, so it's hard to know. Other than avoiding urban areas and busy roads, I'll be camping when possible. Any suggestions?
Check out these two links at www.biketouringtips.com (http://www.biketouringtips.com/searchTips.html?&country=United%20States&state=Florida&place=&id=&subtopic=). They point to the Florida Bicycle Association.
Jacksonville was the end of our southern tour this summer - we eventually called a local bike shop and found a rails to trails route around downtown then they put us on to a local route the local cyclist use out toward their power stations to reach the ocean. We can give you more specifics if interested. Florida panhandle had very nice roads to bike on .
10-23-07, 12:28 PM
It's possible to find some low volume roads but generally speaking, South Florida is not what most cyclists would consider bike-friendly. Worse, those roads that might be acceptable are generally away from the environmental treats that make Florida attractive to many. With land development being two cylinders of Florida's economic engine, you can forget about riding along a secluded beach road. The North Central area presents the best low-traffic riding.
If you want to string together some bike trails, look at the greenways link below. With good map skills and Google Earth, you can trace out a route from the Disney World area to the Panhandle along the Gen. Van Fleet, Withlacoochee, and Nature Coast trails, connected by low-volume/bike-acceptable roads. U.S. 19 along the West Coast North of Crystal River might be a candidate as long as miles and miles of straight flat pinelands won't drive you bonkers. The www.pedaling.com site also has some touring route info you might make use of. Look for the Florida Springs Tour and Seven Hills to the Sea Tour pages.
Traffic Volume Data: http://www.dot.state.fl.us/planning/statistics/trafficdata/default.htm (The Florida Dept. of Transportation will mail you a CD with the info, as well.)
Greenways and Trails: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/index.htm
11-27-07, 03:20 PM
A big thanks to everyone who has helped me here. I'm adapting the advice and taking bits from everyone as the route comes together, and I'm enjoying that process as ever. There are more trails than I had at first realised it seems, and yes, thanks for the link to the traffic volume mapping. Google maps is very helpful combined with the satellite imagery. The planning and anticipation is almost as good as the journey!
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