Hi,I live in SoFl and toured up to Gainesville and back a few years ago.It is really nice up around there.Unfortunately, I was unable to continue up into the big bend/suwannee area,an area I really want to visit on bike, due to time constraints. Of the route I rode the Gainesville/Hawthorne bike trail was nice running along the northern part of Paines Prairie and for a major road 301 was nice fairly remote with a wide shoulder and running through Paines Prairie.There are backroads off of it into remote lake/sinkhole areas such as cross creek. The road running along the southern border of the Ocala N.F. is very remote and scenic and the natl forest is nice as well though 40 the main route can be hectic at times as it doesn't have much of a shoulder,within the N.F., as I recall.
But as I mentioned the area really great for touring imo would be north and west of Gainesville around Fort White,White Springs,Live Oak,Ellaville etc.This area is generally defined by the Santa Fe,Ichetucknee,Suwannee,Alapaha and Withlacoochee rivers and has a multitude of state parks ,greenway trails and scenic remote bicycle friendly backroads.In fact I have a map/guide to the region entitled" Upper Suwannee & Withlacoochee Rivers boating canoeing and recreation guide" presented by the Suwanee Canoe Outpost(a canoe outfitter in Live Oak 800-4284147 or www.canoeoutpost.com
).I believe I picked it up for free at the outpost in Arcadia on a seperate tour.It has a section on bicycling in the area and for more info says contact the Suwannee bicycling assoc. the same # as above or www.suwanneebike.org
.The guide is nice because it highlights all the rivers,s.p.'s,greenways,other public lands and recreation opportunities as well as denoting bicycle friendly backroad routes in the area .
Of course it would also be nice to swing over to Cedar Key or on up further into the panhandle or southward on the greenway trails through the Withlacoochee S.F. and Green Swamp areas:
I would actually like to take another tour up into the big bend area taking these rail trails as a route through central florida so have looked into them somewhat.
Last edited by RWTD; 08-29-05 at 02:57 AM.