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Old 01-28-12, 08:00 AM   #1
goldfinch 
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Switching winter base to Florida--how is the biking?

I have been a winter Texan for the past four years. Riding bike in the Valley has its good and bad points. The weather is generally great, though often windy. Where I am are some paved trails and roads that are decent for biking, though I get a lot of flats due to thorns. Drivers are not bike friendly.

I am in Texas primarily for the birding. I am thinking of moving my winter location to Florida, both for the birds and for different cycling opportunities. I ride about 100 miles a week, some on a hybrid and some on my road bike.

Any place for me to get good information on biking in Florida? Where are the best trails? I don't know Florida very well but I have been to the gulf coast a number of times some years ago when my inlaws were living in Bradenton. But, I never did any biking.
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Old 01-28-12, 08:32 AM   #2
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goldfinch,

For birds, SW Florida is the place to go. Check out the Charlotte Harbor area = Punta Gorda/Englewood (or Ft. Myers or Naples if you have lots of $$). Flat cycling in that area. Check out Coastal Cruisers Bicycle Club.

I live in the Ocala area. Not so many birds, but great cycling - both flat and hills. Close to the Withlacoochee, Nature Coast and Gainesville-Hawthorne trails plus great rides on country roads through horse farms. Check out those trails and Gainesville Cycling Club.

Oh... if you like Mtn. Biking, Ocala is also home to the Santos trail system. LOTS of trails for all levels.

You'll get lots of folks warning you about Florida (old) drivers - my experience is they are not any worse than anywhere else I've ridden, but then I don't ride on the East coast in the big cities.
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Old 01-28-12, 08:35 AM   #3
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Here is a link to all the state trails in Florida: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/

I live in Spring Hill, which is on the Gulf Coast about 40 miles north of Tampa. Winter cycling isn't bad, few days here and there that it gets too cold to bike (at least for me).

Several good trails around: Suncoast Trail Withlacoochee State Trail. There are a few more in the tampa area but i have not been on any of those.
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Old 01-28-12, 08:44 AM   #4
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...da_bike_trails
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Old 01-28-12, 10:08 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the fine information! It seems like the most extensive trails run north of Tampa. I'll have to poke around at rv parks. Likely to do both birding and biking I'll have to do some traveling as the birding is going to be best down in the everglades.
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Old 01-28-12, 11:01 AM   #6
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Bradenton Sarasota area offers decent riding. Legacy Trail in Sarasota is a nice option. Also area bike club "Sarasota Manatee Bicycle Club" (SMBC) http://www.smbc.us offers daily ride options covering a wide range of speeds. Also birding is quite popular in the area with numerous clubs available. Myakka State Park is a wonderful birding area
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Old 01-28-12, 04:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
Thanks for all the fine information! It seems like the most extensive trails run north of Tampa. I'll have to poke around at rv parks. Likely to do both birding and biking I'll have to do some traveling as the birding is going to be best down in the everglades.
RV park that I stayed in for three years: Grand Lake RV & Golf Resort http://www.morganrvresorts.com/omkar...=26&Itemid=173.

It's located half way between Gainesville and Ocala and just two miles west of the RV park on Hwy 318 (north and south of it) are some of the best cycling in this area. If you stop at this resort, get in touch with me and I'll show you some great roads. FYI, I AM pretty slow!
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Old 01-28-12, 04:11 PM   #8
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Myakka State Park is a wonderful birding area
+1 - great park and good camping.
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Old 02-16-12, 08:09 AM   #9
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There is a major biking community in the Miami area. During a recent ride,Granfondo colnago ride over 1400 riders participated. and I count bicyclist by the dozen riding to key Biscayne.
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Old 02-16-12, 05:35 PM   #10
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I checked back on this thread and more great information. I have been to Myakka state park for the birds before, but you can't stay long term in the campground. Lookinup, I may check out that rv resort, it looks nice!
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Old 02-16-12, 10:16 PM   #11
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I have a winter place in New Port Richey. I see eagles almost every time I'm there. Great trails nearby and lots of county parks for birding.
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Old 02-18-12, 07:00 PM   #12
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The Space Coast on the east side is actually a good bird area. Cape Canaveral is a bird sanctuary, and in my own neighborhood in Melbourne we have Eagles, Hawks, Owls, Egrets, Herons and Flamingos. If your ex-military, Patrick AFB has lots of facilities for retired vets. The bike riding is pretty good also.
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