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Routing Through Central Florida: Mascotte/Groveland to Mt. Dora Area Rt 19?

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Routing Through Central Florida: Mascotte/Groveland to Mt. Dora Area Rt 19?

Old 10-03-19, 12:32 PM
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jpescatore
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Routing Through Central Florida: Mascotte/Groveland to Mt. Dora Area Rt 19?

My wife and I will be driving down to Venice FL over the winter to visit friends. I'm planning on biking from Venice to Jacksonville and then taking Amtrak back to Washington DC while my wife stays in FL. Does anyone in the area have any thoughts on route choices from the Mascotte/Groveland area to Mt. Dora area?

The Adventure Cycling Association has a route from just east of Venice that I could follow to Mt. Dora. But I'd like to stay west of that and ride the Van Fleet Trail from Polk City north up towards Mabel. Doing that, from the Mascotte/Groveland area, Google Maps bike takes Rt. 19 NE to Rt. 441, a total of about 67 miles.

Strava has a "Use Popularity" routing option that favors routing over roads lots of Strava users are riding. That avoids Rt. 19 until Lake Harris, by taking smaller roads heading north then east, adding 11 miles.

Looking at street view on Google Maps, seems like Rt. 19 has a shoulder most of the way but as the diagonal route heading up towards Orlando has more traffic. Any recommendations from any locals who cycle that area?

Thanks, John P.
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Old 10-03-19, 01:33 PM
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Several options. 19 is a popular N/S corridor for cyclists, the shoulder is usually pretty good. The bridge across Lake Harris is pretty terrible, 2 lane and no shoulder. (But if you ride into Howey, take the small detour and check out the Yalaha bakery for a rest stop-take Number 2 Road and Bloomfield).
Option 1: 19 to 455 to 561 to 48 to 448A to Sadler to Clayton and downtown Mt Dora. This would get you off 19 the soonest, but 455 has no shoulder and has a stretch known as "The Mamas and Papas" which would probably not be fun if you were on a loaded touring bike. 561 has a pretty good shoulder, 48 & 448A don't have shoulders, but traffic is usually minimal.
Option 2: 19 to 448 to Sadler to Clayton to downtown Mt Dora. Flatter than the 455 version, but you would have to deal with the bridge. (Although it does make Mary's Kountry Kitchen an on the way stop-bring your diabetes meds). Google says 80 feet less climbing.
Option 3: 19 to W Main Street/Lake Dora Drive/Lakeshore Drive and then 11th ave or old 441 to downtown Mt Dora. Again, dealing with the bridge, but the stretch along Lakeshore is some of the prettiest riding in the area. (Not that anything here is bad riding)
Option 4: 19 to 441. Shoulder, bridge, shoulder. 441 does have a bike lane, but it's a 55 MPH 6 lane.

Bonus miles? Take 455 to 561 and turn south-Sugarloaf Mountain Road is a mile or so down on the left (it has fresh pavement and one of the worst climbs around).
Take 455 to the Green Mountain Scenic Overlook and Trailhead. There's a lookout post that will let you see over the tops of all the local trees, and if you feel like getting off the road and into some gravel/limestone you can use the Lake Apopka Loop Trail to get from there to 448A (I love riding this stretch as it's frequent to not see another person for the entire ride).
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Old 10-04-19, 04:03 AM
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Podagrower - thanks for great info! On Google street view that bridge over Lake Harris did look pretty bad.

I'll be pretty lightly loaded - credit card style touring. Your option 1 sounds pretty close to the Strava "popularity" routing.

I'll play with the alternatives, thanks again - John P.
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