My girlfriend and I will be in Inverness, FL for a week in March. We've decided to bring our bikes to go riding on at least one of those days. Can anyone recommend some good routes or places to ride near Inverness? Is the Withlacoochee rail trail a good place to ride? BTW, we're bringing our roadbikes.
The Withlacoochee trail is a great ride. It's 46 miles long, rather flat, and is near places to eat and sleep. This time of year, the snowbirds cause a little congestion near Inverness and Ridge Manor. There are sections that go through woods where you may see deer, turkeys, or other wild life.
There are several organized group rides that start from various starting points.
Inverness is the northern extremity of the Withlacoochee Trail. 46 miles of beautiful Florida wilderness paved with the smoothest of blacktop the likes of northern states never see. You will ride through swamps (on trails of course), Cypress heads, farmland full of Florida steers, prairie, palmetto scrub, and oak hammocks. As a bonus the trail intersects Croom Wilderness Area, a mountain bikers heaven. Side trip the famous Withlacoochee River is well worth it. Trail markers will show where to cut off on the 1/4 mile ride. Roadbikes are okay but stay off the Croom Area. :-))
After you ride the Withlacoochee, drive a few miles east and ride the James Fleet Trail. Flat no cross roads to speak of, good place to TT. Take plenty of water if you ride the JVF.
On the south end of the Withlacoochee look for the camel and give him an apple or some fig bars.
If you like organized rides the Clean Air ride is a good one. Very well supported with SAG stops. You will encounter a lot of riders but they will be streached out over the entire trail with congestion only at Inverness and Floral City and possibly Ridge Manor. If you want to do the JVF it is about 15 miles east of Ridge Manor on SR 50. It is paved so you will be good on a road bike but it is wilderness at it's best. I suggest you do it early in the morning for seeing wildlife, take a camera.