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Old 07-01-14, 01:02 PM   #1
shriekingmonkey
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Tampa area?

Hey y'all...

Recently relocated from the Atlanta area (Alpharetta) to the Tampa area (Brandon). Aside from having a couple of my bikes stolen right out of my garage, we love it down here.

One thing I've been struggling with is finding a good place close by to ride. When I was in Alpharetta, I bike commuted nearly every day to my office. I was in a pretty good location as my office was just off the Big Creek Greenway so I was able to ride on that for about half of my commute. I'm not finding a lot of biking close by though, and want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

I've been to Flatwoods park, which is about a 30 minute drive from my house. It's a nice 7 mile loop. My wife and I also checked out the Suncoast Trail last weekend, but that's almost an hour from our house. I know there are some other trails but they're even farther away. I'm just trying to figure out if there's something closer that I can get in some consistent mileage on during the week and maybe do longer miles on the weekend at one of these other trails. Ultimately, I think we're probably just gonna need to move closer to one of these other trails but I'm in a lease until March.

I'm more of a road biker than a mountain biker, although admittedly a pretty slow one. Are there any nearby hidden gems that I haven't discovered yet? I've asked around at most of the local bike shops and have heard about group rides that I'm too slow for, and mountain bike trails that may be what I end up doing; but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask here.

I guess I should just get out on the road and start riding, but I confess I've mostly chickened out so far ... because it seems like everybody I've talked to down here seems to feel you'd have to be crazy to ride on the roads around here. I do see a lot of people on bikes, but most of 'em seem to be on the sidewalks...

Thanks
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Old 07-01-14, 04:57 PM   #2
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Welcome to Tampa Bay! (My sister used to live in Alpharetta but now lives in Dacula.)
I got a free Hillsborough County Bicycle Map at my LBS. I mostly just ride around my development because I am not ready to ride much more than 10-12 mile rides. (I just started riding again after a long! long break.) the maps shows road with bike lanes as well as trails in parks. This map shows only some of what the large print map shows. Hillsborough County Trails, Paths and Bicycle Guide | Plan Hillsborough
if you are missing the hills in north Georgia, Dade City has about the only hills in Florida.
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Old 07-01-14, 06:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for the link!

No, not missing the hills at all. That was one of the things that sounded pretty great about Florida, LOL. I used to have to immediately climb a huge hill as soon as I rode out of my driveway at my house in Alpharetta.

I'm not ready for long distances either... I was daily commuting about 4 months ago but between basically no riding, and using the big move/new job as an excuse to eat pretty poorly, I'm in terrible shape ... (as I discovered in my 15 mile ride on the Suncoast Trail!)

My neighborhood isn't that big, but that's a good idea ... I could probably ride through enough adjoining neighborhoods to concoct a semi-sane ride.
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Old 07-02-14, 08:12 AM   #4
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I found the map in pdf form.
http://www.planhillsborough.org/wp-c.../Trail-map.pdf
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Old 07-02-14, 12:47 PM   #5
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Are you following me? I moved from Decatur to Lecanto (north of Tampa) in 2012. Love it here.
BTW: Fix you location. I still says Alpharetta.
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Old 07-02-14, 01:04 PM   #6
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It's not exactly near you, but check out the Van Fleet trail if you're interested in a long uninterrupted ride on a trail. I recently did a century on it. Just don't ride alone... if you wreck, they'll just find your bike. We saw more alligators than people.
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Old 07-02-14, 01:34 PM   #7
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Are you following me? I moved from Decatur to Lecanto (north of Tampa) in 2012. Love it here.
BTW: Fix you location. I still says Alpharetta.
I fixed my profile; it was not only showing the wrong location but showing one bike I no longer have because it was recently stolen and another one that I sold a long time ago. LOL
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Old 07-02-14, 01:37 PM   #8
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Hey, thanks again for the links. I discovered that I'm < 5 miles from "Sydney Dover" park which is apparently ~7 miles of trails. I think I even found a reasonably sane, low-traffic bike route for riding directly there from my house. Looks to be perfect; hoping to do my inaugural bike trip there Friday morning since I have the day off!
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Old 07-02-14, 01:42 PM   #9
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It's not exactly near you, but check out the Van Fleet trail if you're interested in a long uninterrupted ride on a trail. I recently did a century on it. Just don't ride alone... if you wreck, they'll just find your bike. We saw more alligators than people.
Looks nice! I doubt I could talk my wife into it though, and I don't really know anybody else down here to ride with. And I'm super slow, so the alligators would catch me for sure. Maybe once I'm back into a little better biking shape I will check that one out!
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Old 07-02-14, 04:56 PM   #10
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Looks nice! I doubt I could talk my wife into it though, and I don't really know anybody else down here to ride with. And I'm super slow, so the alligators would catch me for sure. Maybe once I'm back into a little better biking shape I will check that one out!
You don't have ride faster than the alligator, just faster than the person who are biking with.
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Old 07-02-14, 07:15 PM   #11
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Roughly where are you located? My wife and I live off 54/41 and ride everywhere from upper pasco, to Brandon, to Clearwater.
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Old 07-03-14, 06:53 AM   #12
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Roughly where are you located? My wife and I live off 54/41 and ride everywhere from upper pasco, to Brandon, to Clearwater.
Near SR 60 and Kingsway.
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Old 07-03-14, 07:15 AM   #13
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Near SR 60 and Kingsway.
Talk to Level (yes his name is Level) at AJ's bikes and boards. He'll get you set up for routes.

Unfortunately their isnt isn't much by you unless you like off-road mountain biking.

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Old 07-04-14, 01:05 PM   #14
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Ultimately, I think we're probably just gonna need to move closer to one of these other trails but I'm in a lease until March.
Check out the Withlacoochee Trail area when you're ready to move. Its 46 glorious miles. We moved here (Citrus Hills) so we would be near the trail. And the Suncoast Trail (41 miles) and the Nature Coast Trail (26 miles) aren't that far from here. Loads of cyclists everywhere.
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Old 07-05-14, 04:50 PM   #15
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I'd suggest to look at the meetup.com site and look for Grupetto. They have a few different groups and some down in your area. Their group is fairly tame with rides around 15 mph avg.

You could also search on the mapmyride.com or ridewithgps.com sites for routes in your area. The Thonotosassa area has some nice rural routes.
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Old 07-05-14, 05:00 PM   #16
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A BIG +1 for RonH's post. Riding in the Dunnellon, Inverness or Floral City area is great. We moved from Maine 3 years ago to ride the Withlacoochee as well. The Nature Coast is great and the Withlacoochee Bay Trail is also nice.... short but nice. However, we are currently enjoying the cooler weather of the North East and Atlantic Canada. Will be back in FL in the fall. Welcome to the area.
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Old 07-06-14, 08:06 AM   #17
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It's a bit of a drive, but definitely check out Longboat Key and Terra Ceia while you are near that area.
Longboat Key/Siesta Key is just a beachside road that lots of cyclists use. You ride with traffic, but the speed limits are low and almost everywhere the roads are wide. Great places to stop and have a sandwich or w/e

Terra Ceia is a "neighborhood" west of Palmetto that is like stepping into a National Geographic magazine during parts of the ride. Gorgeous homes, beautiful scenery and a great view of the bay. Be aware that parts of Palmetto are pretty sketchy though if you ride too far east and/or south
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Old 07-10-14, 06:57 PM   #18
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Near SR 60 and Kingsway.
Welcome to the Tampabay area - I'm over in the South Tampa area. Plenty of great riding paths trails and shoulders, but the area also has far more than our fair share of crazies in cages and it seems FL does have quite the reputation for conflicts between the two. Be careful exploring the place! Shoot a note if you need any help.
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Old 08-02-14, 06:01 AM   #19
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What up?! Welcome to the wang of 'Merica! You do have to be crazy to ride on the road down here. But, it makes for an interesting and exciting ride. Just suck it up and get out there on the road. Just remember DO NOT DO NOT ride against traffic down here. I know it's no big deal in small towns but, down here when people turn they only look one way. Be safe and if you're ever in the Pasco County area hit me up. I'm the only one with the balls to ride on the side of the road on US HWY 19. Everyone else sticks to the sidewalks. Bump that! Have fun and be safe.
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Old 09-01-14, 08:16 AM   #20
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I'm sure by now you are aware of Balm Boyette Scrub and Alafia River Stare Park. Both are MTB trails but Balm will give you a great work out and you can avoid the extreme stuff easily and still get in a great ride. Heck, the ride in and then out to the Balm trailhead alone will put 4 miles under your belt.

Upper Tampa Bay trail is a top notch paved riding trail about 50 minutes from our location (I'm in Riverview).

If you're familiar with 301 you can drive to the corner of 301 and Boyette in Riverview. There is a BOA and McD's there where you can park. They put a nice lit wide bike lane in along 301 that goes for miles down 301. Very safe and close with plenty of places to stop if you need to. You could easily ride down to the end and back. I'm going to check today but it must be good for 15 miles round trip. I'll get the actual mileage and update this post.

Hope that helps!


Open this video and go to the 7 minute mark. It will give you a good look at the 301 trail. He only rides a portion of the trail.

http://youtu.be/I_LbZJWwuV4

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