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  1. #1
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    Beware of Gators on Gainesville Trail

    I had a bad crash after a 10 foot gator bit down on my bike while riding the Gainesville-Hawthrone rail trail. It was dusk and though I was using lights I did not see him till I was right upon him where he was lying beside the path. He turned and snapped down on the middle of my bike on the water bottle cage and down tube. I suppose he was either frightened by my sudden appearance or aggressive because it is mating season. The sudden stop sent me over the bars of course so I am pretty banged up. I will refrain from posting gory pictures for now. I was lucky, it could have been much worse. Please use extra caution if you ride that trail in the evenings.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lindaosm's Avatar
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    OMG! Hubby and I ride that trail all the time....but normally late morning or early afternoon. Glad you are OK. If it would have been me, I probably would have had a heart attack!
    Linda in Ocala/FL

  3. #3
    Senior Member lookinUp's Avatar
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    Glad you are OK. I used to worry about alligators when kayaking... never thought of them being dangerous while biking. I'll be more careful when riding the trail.

    Trek Madone 5.2 wsd

  4. #4
    Free Velo Vol! Velo Vol's Avatar
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    Sounds frightening.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chris_in_Miami's Avatar
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    That's really wild, glad to hear you're relatively unharmed! How did the bike fare?

    We see plenty of gators in some areas and they're usually wary of humans, but along Loop Rd. near Everglades National Park they're practically oblivious:


  6. #6
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    Wow.... I've seen a couple of gators on the trail over the years. Both times they were down at the bottom of the big hill near mile marker 3. One time it was at the bottom of the hill on the Hawthorne side the other time it was on the g.ville side of the hill. I have a picture of the one (i'll have to hunt it up). The one I have a picture of was only about 4ft long and just sunning itself right in the middle of the trail. The second one that I came across was HUGE .... I went way off the trail to get around it. I was planning on riding the off road trails there.. but now.... I dunno...

    Just wondering did you report the incident to the park rangers or anybody?
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  7. #7
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    Police officers and the FWC came to the scene and they told me later at the hospital that they had captured the gator involved. Thats how I found out that he was 10 feet in length. They said he had to be destroyed as a possible nuisance. My story got a small mention in the local news. http://www.gainesville.com/article/2...-on-bike-trail

    The article is a bit wrong in some respects because the police showed me the video of the capture. Also I have scratches on my right leg from the gators head so I did make contact with him (unfortunately!). My bike came out ok. I ride a real old Nishiki and I still had the original REG water bottle cage on there, it is now a bit crunched. I think my water bottle had bite holes in it but the police either kept it or threw it away. There are some scratches on the bottom of the down tube from his teeth and he broke the shifter cable for my rear derailleur it must have got snagged in his teeth.


  8. #8
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    Just wondering how did you get away from the spot where you were attacked? Were you riding alone? I must say my mom was very happy to learn that the gator had been captured. She always worries when I go riding. She wasn't so happy that they had to put it down... rather than relocate it though.
    "If you see me walking, my bike is busted!!"
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Chris_in_Miami's Avatar
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    I was wondering about that also, did the gator take off after it chomped your bike?

    There are countless threads about wildlife encounters in the Touring and Commuting forums, now you have an epic encounter story of your own!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzOtherlandzz View Post
    Just wondering how did you get away from the spot where you were attacked? Were you riding alone? I must say my mom was very happy to learn that the gator had been captured. She always worries when I go riding. She wasn't so happy that they had to put it down... rather than relocate it though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_Miami View Post
    I was wondering about that also, did the gator take off after it chomped your bike?
    The alligator did not take off right away. It was sitting on the trail hissing and making all kinds of noises to let me know that it was very upset. My bike landed between us which was probably a good thing. Luckily my light kept working after the crash though it flew off a ways and I had to retrieve it. The gator had turned towards me so it was not exactly backing down or trying to flee. I carefully grabbed my bike and dragged it back from it, then I pushed my bike off to the side of the woods. I went through the woods and out onto Hawthorne road to backtrack towards the nearest houses and cross street. I waved at a few cars but no one seemed interested in stopping so I walked about 1/2 mile back to where that gravel road crosses the trail (SE 30th ST). I had a cell and could have dialed 911 myself but I was not sure how to tell them exactly where I was and I was a bit confused from being in shock.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pitchpole View Post
    The alligator did not take off right away. It was sitting on the trail hissing and making all kinds of noises to let me know that it was very upset. My bike landed between us which was probably a good thing. Luckily my light kept working after the crash though it flew off a ways and I had to retrieve it. The gator had turned towards me so it was not exactly backing down or trying to flee. I carefully grabbed my bike and dragged it back from it, then I pushed my bike off to the side of the woods. I went through the woods and out onto Hawthorne road to backtrack towards the nearest houses and cross street. I waved at a few cars but no one seemed interested in stopping so I walked about 1/2 mile back to where that gravel road crosses the trail (SE 30th ST). I had a cell and could have dialed 911 myself but I was not sure how to tell them exactly where I was and I was a bit confused from being in shock.
    Wow.. That is some scary stuff!! That is kind of close to the same spot I saw the gator on the trail. Only when I saw it, it was just laying in the center of the trail in a patch of sun... Sunning itself. I have been caught out on the trail a few times after dark, but towards the Hawthorne end where its more populated and less wet for gators i guess.
    "If you see me walking, my bike is busted!!"
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  12. #12
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    man...that's crazy...

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    Just curious- did you wish at any point that you had a ****** or any self-protection device potent enough to deter an angry 10 ft. gator? I'm wondering just what would turn away such a beast, and what would be safe/legal to carry on a ride.

  14. #14
    Stand and Deliver FLvector's Avatar
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    Alligators are usually not agressive like this situation. It sounds like it got startled and just reacted by taking a chomp at what was approaching. A series of bad luck events. Whenever I see them laying stretched out on the trail, they are sunning, trying to warm up a bit. I usually go around the tail end and they never seem to move, but I'm ready to make a quick exit if necessary. This is a rare event.

  15. #15
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    Similar incident, different reptile

    Wow - quite a story!

    I have rode those trails many times and once during rainy season I was riding with some friends out of town and we came across a HUGE water moccasin (cottonmouth).

    He was acting pretty aggressive so I pinned him down and picked him up to show my fiance his fangs since she had never seen a pit viper up close. The "cotton" interior of his mouth prevented her from seeing his fangs but it was still quite educational for her. I released him 25 yards or so off the trail and I am not at all surprised to hear that big gators have also been found down by that mile 3 marker. After all, that area is home to some of the best Gator spotting country in the county.

    Herb Jones
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    Last edited by GatorHerb; 06-02-11 at 09:23 PM. Reason: my spelling sucks

  16. #16
    Newbie jkgftw's Avatar
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    Wow. Hope you and the bike recovered quickly. I've been fortunate enough not to meet a gator on the trail so far. Similar to what Herb mentioned, the worst I've experienced was almost hitting a snake. Probably not as big as his, though. Lately I've just seen a bunch of deer, including a 4-point. I have also been guilty of riding past sunset, but am trying to do better about that.

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