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Old 02-08-13, 06:44 PM   #1
DubT
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Suncoast Trail

We are going to the Sebring Tandem Rally and want to do some more riding as we head back north. I have found this site: http://www.gelessons.com/kmzfiles/biketrails_b_v5.pdf and it looks like the Suncoast Trail north of Tampa might be a good choice.

Suggestions/recommendations?

Thanks,

Wayne
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Old 02-09-13, 06:32 AM   #2
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DubT

Give us a shout at the Sebring rally. We'll be happy to discuss cycle trails.

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Old 02-09-13, 06:38 AM   #3
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It depends on what you're looking for Wayne. First the good: The Suncoast Trail is absolutely great for wintertime training. In 40+ miles, it only crosses 5 or 6 roads big enough that you have to stop. It runs along side the Suncoast Parkway, and like most newer toll roads, the Parkway corridor was run thru the least populated area possible so there are very pedestrians. Mostly cyclists, runners and skaters that know how to maintain their line.

All in all, we love the Suncoast. We just moved to within 5 miles of it last June, and after being accustomed to the VERY pedestrian Pinellas Trail, the Suncoast is delightful to us. Haven't seen a single dog walker with their Viet Cong trip wire dog leash yet!

On the down side is the fact that the Suncoast Parkway is a high speed 4 lane toll road. Lots of car noise. The Trail is rarely more than 50 yards away from it, (but always separated by guardrails, an 8 foot fence, etc). The Parkway & Trail are only 10 years old or so, however, so shade is often at a premium. So are park facilities & convenience stores, I might add. Carry all your water bottles and food if you're riding it during the week. (On the weekends, the parks dept puts out 5 gal Igloo jugs of ice water every 5 miles or so!)

Moving along smartly now, if "great wintertime training" is not your cup of tea, I'd recommend the Withlacoochee State Trail. Also 40+ miles long, and although a bit more pedestrian, it's a hell of a lot more scenic. At times passing thru the Withlacoochee State Forest with tree tops touching over the trail and spanish moss hanging from them like beards of the tree people, it's a real slice of old Florida. Tell the stoker to pack the camera for this one.

Lastly, since I note that you're retired, you might want to head up to The Villages, where the Panthers Tandem Club is based. You'll be meeting many of it's members at the Sebring Rally as the Panthers sponsor it. The Villages is a VERY active retirement community with ridiculously wide, smooth roads, and the preferred method of transportation is the golf cart. Tandems are often the fastest thing on the road, there are plenty of them there, and you can find others to ride with anytime.

I also understand that you can rent a fully furnished house there for a week for about what a good motel room costs. Talk to Bob Thompson when you get to Sebring, (our club Prez - he'll be the guy running the rally, on the Seven Cycles tandem, with the Seven Cycles jerseys, and the Seven license plate, and the .... oh, you get the idea!)

If you decide to come this way, PM me. There are several members of the Panthers Tandem Club that are reasonably local. Maybe get a ride together.

Bill
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Old 02-09-13, 06:55 AM   #4
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DubT - give us a shout, too. It would be nice to put a face to a name.
We've probably met you, Rick as we are Panther members

Arthur & Maureen
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Old 02-09-13, 07:33 AM   #5
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Yes, Onegun, somehow the links didn't post. Oh well.

As a team that has ridden the Sebring ride, and most if not all of the rides the Panthers has hosted, I will say that if Bob T, the Seven guy that needs to buy an Eight...will share some of his route sheets for rides around and outside of the Villages, there is some varied terrain with some rolling hills.

As for Withlacoohchee, our only time riding that was during a long distance race. We rode that section with lights during predawn hours and watched the sunrise while pedaling along. We are scheduled to do a 50 mile off-road event that crosses the Withlacoochee several times next weekend. If possible I'll see if they have any info.

If you rode off-road on tandems I would recommend Santos without hesitation.

However, since you are staying in Frostproof, I would stay close to home and see about getting the Panthers route sheets for the Lake Wales ride and the Vero Beach rides.

Lake Wales is kind of boring, but fun with rolling climbing and 45 mph longish for Florida descents. Lots of orange groves and some civilization. Vero is absolutely flat! Except for a couple of bridges. If you enjoy rides along the beaches with the Atlantic Ocean and palm trees as a backdrop, take the short drive east on 60.

The Vero route will take you North to Sebastion and Micco. This for us, and we live near the ocean is one of the more pretty road rides we attend. Then again we are not always known to choose mainstream.

Barring no problems, see you in Sebring. Hope it's warm and no wind. 80 degrees and max 5 mph breeze would be awesome.

PK
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Old 02-09-13, 08:19 AM   #6
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Thanks for the responses, we are looking forward to getting away from the cold weather.
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Old 02-09-13, 09:42 AM   #7
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Thanks for the responses, we are looking forward to getting away from the cold weather.
Ironic, I asked my Daughter to take a photo of yesterdays sunset here in West Palm, post it on her FB page so my relatives in Mass could enjoy their dismal snowstorm.

PK
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Old 02-09-13, 10:01 AM   #8
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hehe! Yeah, I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking, "WHAT cold weather?" Uh ... oops! Was that out loud??!!

Maggi and I are heading out for a tandem ride on the Suncoast in a few minutes. We're just waiting for it to hit 70 degrees!
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Old 02-09-13, 10:44 AM   #9
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hehe! Yeah, I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking, "WHAT cold weather?" Uh ... oops! Was that out loud??!!

Maggi and I are heading out for a tandem ride on the Suncoast in a few minutes. We're just waiting for it to hit 70 degrees!
We are happy for you! It is 33 here and we are hoping for 40. We will ride outside if it hits 36 or 37, otherwise we will ride indoors on the trainer.
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Old 02-09-13, 12:10 PM   #10
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Ouch! I've never ridden in that kind of weather, and to be honest I hope to never have to! But I admire those with the determination to brave it! I've often read of rides where ice in your mustache and frozen water bottles were the norm, and I've wondered what that might be like. But not enough to go somewhere and try it!
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Old 02-09-13, 12:36 PM   #11
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Ouch! I've never ridden in that kind of weather, and to be honest I hope to never have to! But I admire those with the determination to brave it! I've often read of rides where ice in your mustache and frozen water bottles were the norm, and I've wondered what that might be like. But not enough to go somewhere and try it!
You learn to dress for it and you can actually be comfortable in 35+ degree weather. A friend of ours rides down to 15, we ride the Computrainer when it gets that cold.

Years ago I would ride my mountain bike in below freezing conditions and have had ice form on the chain and the jockey pulleys.
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Old 02-09-13, 03:14 PM   #12
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Years ago I would ride my mountain bike in below freezing conditions and have had ice form on the chain and the jockey pulleys.
Done that before. Luckily only while on vacation.

PK
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Old 02-09-13, 03:38 PM   #13
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WE just got back from a 25 mile ride, the temperature was 37 when we left and it got all the way up to 39 by the time we got home. However we were comfortable! It did take at least 15 minutes to get dressed. LOL Layers are the answer.
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Old 02-09-13, 07:30 PM   #14
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It did take at least 15 minutes to get dressed. Layers are the answer.
hehe! We did a quick, flat 25 too. In our t-shirts. It took us 15 minutes to wipe off the sweat! Layers are your answer. Mine is to never leave Florida in the winter!
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Old 02-10-13, 07:20 AM   #15
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hehe! We did a quick, flat 25 too. In our t-shirts. It took us 15 minutes to wipe off the sweat! Layers are your answer. Mine is to never leave Florida in the winter!
Good for you, we are not there yet. We have grandkids in this area and it is hard to get the grandmother away for much longer than a couple of weeks at a time.

however we do have a Calfee.

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Old 02-10-13, 03:05 PM   #16
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... however we do have a Calfee.
Touche'! One of these days. Maybe!!

Have fun at the rally, and again, let us know if you decide to ride the Suncoast afterwards!
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Old 02-10-13, 03:52 PM   #17
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Touche'! One of these days. Maybe!!

Have fun at the rally, and again, let us know if you decide to ride the Suncoast afterwards!
On Tuesday the 26th we are planning on heading up to The Villages where we will spend two nights. Our hope is to ride both Suncoast and Withlacoochee.

Thanks,
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Old 02-10-13, 06:05 PM   #18
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Good for you, we are not there yet. We have grandkids in this area and it is hard to get the grandmother away for much longer than a couple of weeks at a time.

however we do have a Calfee.
We also have a Calfee and grandkids near our home in Indiana. I've heard the grandma/grandkids story many times. Luckily my stoker says the grandkids need to live their own lives and besides they like to visit Florida.
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