Next Friday I'm driving back from a meeting, from Boca Raton, Fl to Gainesville, Fl. The other guy I'm driving with wants to end up in Gainesville, but I want to end up in the Tampa area, so I'm looking for a good place to get dropped off...we'll be driving on the turnpike, so I'm thinking maybe I'll get dropped off around Clermont or maybe make a little diversion over to Bartow or Lake Wales.
So...anyone have experience riding in this area? Is Route 60 a viable option or am I just asking to get hit by a cement/fertilizer/dump truck? What about Route 50 from Clermont to the Suncoast Parkway trailhead?
I would avoid Rt60.When I toured down Rt27 from Gville to SoFl I considered cutting east on 60 but was advsed it became a narrow two lanes with high/fast truck traffic east of Lake Wales.I have read a trip report from some time ago of a rider taking 60 west from L.Wales and he encountered variable shoulder but as I recall the areas the shoulder was usually lost involved construction(and he complained quite abit about dangerous conditions) so there is likely new highway with shoulder in those parts by now (as Fl generally is making new hyway construction bicycle friendly these days).Regardless it would be a congested stretch and a much better alternative would be taking secondary roads to the south connecting L.Wales and Brandon .Secondary roads would not be possible connecting Yeehaw junction and the turpike to L.Wales because of the vast pubic lands in the area primary Kissamee Prairie preserve blocking thruroutes.
I have not ridden on Rt50 but read a report of someone riding on 301 starting north of Tampa and connecting to 50 heading east towards Clermont.Not much was said of road conditions but that might be a positive.The green swamp blocks most secondary crossroutes south of 50 but the Van Fleet bike trail does run n/s through this area between Plant City and 50 if your just looking for a good day ride in the area.
Being from SoFl I'm not familiar with 640 and the lousy map i'm looking at doesn't even list it.
Rt. 50 from the turnpike to WeekiWachee is mostly 4 lane, lots of little towns along the way, and in pretty decent shape. But it's a major artery and has lots of traffic and little (if any) in the way of bike lanes. And being traffic in Florida, everyone's doing 15 miles over the speed limit. If you're OK with that...
I can't help you with Route 60, sorry.
BTW, are you from Florida, or just passing through? There's a bunch of great riding in the immediate vicinity of Gainesville.. maps online the gcc website