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St Petersburg FL to Tampa FL bike commute?

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St Petersburg FL to Tampa FL bike commute?

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Old 11-01-14, 06:38 AM
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harburgm
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St Petersburg FL to Tampa FL bike commute?

Hello,

Any advice on living in St. Petersburg but commuting to Tampa via bicycle each day for work? It looks to be about 17 miles crossing the bridge but I am wondering how bicycle friendly it is.

Thanks, Michelle
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Old 11-01-14, 06:44 AM
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Hi Michelle, I live in the wrong part of the country to answer your question intelligently - just want to poke my nose in to say Welcome to the community! Now the experts will come along and answer . . . .
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Old 11-01-14, 07:08 AM
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34 mile rt st pete to tampa everyday? I nominate you for road warrior of the year award. I spent 2 winters in tampa a few years back riding everyday. I never had any issues or close calls but I was not commuting and could ride after morning rush hour when traffic was slightly more mellow and my pick routes. I wanted to ride the bay bridges but never had the stones. The wide shoulders looks attractive but the insanely fast and thick traffic kept me elsewhere. Good luck!
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Old 11-01-14, 07:23 AM
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I'm hoping to move there within 8 months but plan to live <10 miles from work. Just be sure everyone can see you and stay aware. See you on the Pinellas Trail!
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Old 11-01-14, 07:29 AM
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Hi Michelle,

i also live live in the wrong part of the country to answer your question, but a have a few suggestions. First, if you don't get an answer here soon, you might try one of our region-specific forums. Second, if there is a bike co-op in your area, you might check it out. That's the best place I've discovered to find bike transportation enthusiasts who know all best routes to get from one place to another without too much trouble with traffic. Finally, you might go on Mapmyride to see what the most frequently used routes in your area are. Try riding one of those on a weekend to see if you think it will work with your comfort level. Good luck and welcome to the fourm!
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Old 11-01-14, 08:08 AM
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Hi Michell and welcome! I take my bike on some weekends to Tampa/St.Peter area and all I can say is that the old Tampa and St. Petersburg are are semi bike friendly, definitely friendlier than South Florida, but still Florida. Lots of snowbirds in the winter, making it a high alert ride all the time. I taken the bridge a couple of times, and the side walk is wide (at least the bridge I took) and afford you some protection from traffic. Some parts you are on your own, as far as road and traffic is concern, until you get to the next friendly spot.

I do enjoy the bike friendly paths when I ride there, but then again, I don't commute in that area.

Double O
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Old 11-01-14, 08:35 AM
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I know little about the area but do know of this resource for finding the most common routes: http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#11/-...5642/blue/bike
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Old 11-01-14, 09:12 AM
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I think the only bridge you can cycle across is the Courtney Campbell which may add some miles to your commute.
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Old 11-01-14, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by harburgm View Post
Hello,

Any advice on living in St. Petersburg but commuting to Tampa via bicycle each day for work? It looks to be about 17 miles crossing the bridge but I am wondering how bicycle friendly it is.

Thanks, Michelle
Welcome to the forum!

As fellow Central Floridian (Orlando) with 30 mi RT commute I would not recommend cycling every day of the week in the summer. I tried and by day 4 I was stupid with heat fatigue. Factor in a day in the middle by car. Winter is wonderful.

Good Luck

SF
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Old 11-02-14, 05:50 AM
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Depending on what part of Tampa you are travelling to, Courtney Campbell Bridge or Gandy Bridge are both crossable by bike.

Gandy bridge has a shoulder that is as wide as an entire lane. You'll need good puncture resistant tires as there is more road debris than along a regular road. I've crossed it many times with no issues.

The Courtney Campbell has a dedicated pedestrian/bike bridge, but you'll need to navigate a narrow shoulder along the St. Pete side to reach it (that will change with once the path project is completed next year or so). Otherwise it's smooth sailing and offers some pretty cool views of the bay.

Both bridges are crossed frequently by cyclists and so regular car drivers are used to them.

Of course, depending on the time of day you ride to work will play part. Rush hour is more...adventurous.
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Old 11-02-14, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by cobrabyte View Post
Depending on what part of Tampa you are travelling to, Courtney Campbell Bridge or Gandy Bridge are both crossable by bike.

The Courtney Campbell has a dedicated pedestrian/bike bridge, but you'll need to navigate a narrow shoulder along the St. Pete side to reach it (that will change with once the path project is completed next year or so). Otherwise it's smooth sailing and offers some pretty cool views of the bay.
That bike bridge must be fairly new. It was not there when I was in Tampa. Awesome!
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Old 11-02-14, 08:09 AM
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I just read through everyone's advice. Wow thanks everyone! I had no idea if this forum would answer my question since this is the first time I have used it. I am very impressed. Thanks for the suggestions/warnings and I will look into the resources folks suggested (Strava, MapMyRide, Bike Coop, etc.)

I plan to visit the area before I move and that will dictate where I live...may end up deciding to live a bit closer to work if it doesn't seem feasible. I live in Washington DC, I was here before they built any bike lanes 10 years ago and I remember having to navigate the very unfriendly roads. Now, it is a different city, which is amazing, new bike paths everywhere. Anyhow, thanks again everyone!
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Old 11-04-14, 10:12 AM
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Hi Michelle,

Great advice from everyone above. I commute from downtown St. Petersburg to Tampa two to three times a week and here's what I've learned in the last few years of doing it (I'll focus on things that haven't been already mentioned by others):

• Bike lanes are great, but quiet residential roads are much better and less stressful. Tampa Bay's road network is for the most part a straightforward grid of parallel roads and most major ones have a residential road running parallel with it but with almost no traffic and much more pleasant scenery. Use Google maps to plan your route and look for these type of roads.

• Gandy Blvd. bridge is not as scary as it appears and as people make it out to be - it just takes some getting used to. Many local cyclists use it daily, and I even made some friends crossing it. First, the bad: It can be very noisy and unpleasant at rush hour, but, as mentioned above, it does have a super-wide shoulder that allows you to stay pretty far from the traffic. Leaving for work earlier, and going home a little bit later will help you avoid the worst of it - even a half hour will make a noticeable difference. As mentioned before, there is a good amount of debris on it at times, and good puncture protection tires are a must - possibly the best investment you can make on a dedicated commuter bike. The good? Depending on how early/late you arrive at it, sunrises/sunsets can be pretty amazing over the water, and coupled with pretty common sightings of dolphins at play it can make for a very enjoyable and memorable ride.

• If you try riding over Gandy and don't like it, there is an express bus (PSTA 100X line) that connects St. Pete and Tampa traveling over Gandy. You can catch one every hour, it costs $3 and they all have a bike rack. If you are planning on commuting every day, the bike & bus combo is a great option. Speaking from personal experience, 34 miles of daily commuting can be pretty energy-sapping and make you dread the commute and that is a big bummer.

I think that about covers it. It takes a little bit of planning but commuting here is very possible and can be as enjoyable as anyplace else. You can get a St. Pete bike map at any of the many bike shops in St. Pete. I volunteer at the St. Pete Bike Co-op downtown and here's our website in case you want to check it out - www.stpetebikecoop.com. It's a great little place with dedicated and passionate volunteers, definitely check it out!

Hope this helps and welcome to St. Pete! It's a great place to live!

Daniel

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Old 11-04-14, 12:20 PM
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to commute that route is brave at 8-9a and 4:30-6:30p, but other than that it doesn't sound unreasonable
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Old 11-04-14, 02:12 PM
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I think it's doable. I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend you check out a local Cycling Savvy course in the Tampa Bay area. They can teach you the techniques for being confident in using your bike to go anywhere you want or need to go.

https://register.cyclingsavvy.org/groups/tampa-bay

There are no events scheduled currently, but you might be able to contact the instructor. It says he also lives in St Petersburg and works east of Tampa.

I haven't had the pleasure of taking a CS course yet, but I'm in a FB group with many of the instructors and have learned a ton of the techniques in the past 1.5 years of commuting. Just looking at Google Maps and Street View, I think you could definitely make the commute by bike, if you have the time and energy each day.
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Old 11-04-14, 02:37 PM
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Tampa is big. St. Petersburg is big. Your 17 mile estimate was done using address to address?

The Gandy Bridge is wide, but you'll be a few feet from cars traveling 70-80 MPH. The lane is rather dirty, with broken glass, rocks, debris, etc.

You can go to Strava.Com and look at Segment Explorer for time estimates on each segment. The Gandy Bridge links Northeast St. Pete with Southern part of S. Tampa (military, low income)
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Old 11-04-14, 03:01 PM
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OP can you give us any indication of areas in St Petersburg and Tampa you're looking to ride between?
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