Author Topic: Florida Base?  (Read 5954 times)

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Offline Juan Burro

Florida Base?
« on: November 22, 2009, 07:19:50 pm »
During Dec’/Jan’ cheap-ish package-holidays are available from the UK to Florida (feeding your Disney attractions etc), which I presume would be a good (& warm) destination for a fortnight’s winter-training. Please excuse my ignorance, but where’s a pleasant area/town to aim for, with safe, quality roads, & a varied terrain. I’m hoping to nail 750 miles, so I’d need a base with a good variety of routes, with perhaps an audax or sportive event as a finale. My non-cycling wife would be accompanying, who’s happy reading by the pool all day, but would like to be near a pedestrian-friendly (historic) community. All advice/pointers would be very welcome. Regards, J’.

Offline tonythomson

Re: Florida Base?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2010, 10:02:45 am »
Hi Juan,
are you planning to come over using the package deals?  If so you are going to be around Kissimmee area.  Without a motor then your wife is stuck but could make the malls on the shuttles.  Then you would be broke! 

Are planning day out rides or over nights? Best best then is to hire vehicle you can put your bike in.
 My advise if you are around Disney area is to check out some great Rails to Trails cycle routes in the area. Also he ACA Florida maps will give you good cycling - the "connector" passes by very close to Disney and is a great route. 

Your wife wants a nice safe town to wander round  look up Celebration you can safely walk or hire a bike as the place was designed just for that. not too many shops - thank goodness) sorry to project my wife's madness for shopping onto your partner

However, Florida is great place to ride  and I'm sure many others will have advice on their area.

IM me if you want to discus by phone as I live in UK but have home in Celebration Fl also.

Tony
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline Juan Burro

Re: Florida Base?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2010, 03:39:12 pm »
Hi Tony,
Cheers for you comments. We did dip into Florida for two weeks in Dec’; a fabulous time was had. We stayed just up the road from Celebration (a pretty soulless hotel, but the deal was good). I bought a single-speed road-bike, heading mainly north/west, & riding at weekends with The Windermere Roadies; a very welcoming group. The traffic was often a little too constant, but I eventually found quieter roads & the West Orange Trail. I nailed a hundred on my last day, which I was chuffed about.
Talk is now of wintering there for three months. Small towns appeal (Winter Garden was very nice), state-parks, bike-trails, club-rides, farm-shops etc. I’m checking out Celebration, but are you familiar with the town of Inverness (100 miles NW of you in Citrus County)? Or would you throw anywhere else into the mulling-pot?
Thanks again, J’.

Offline tonythomson

Re: Florida Base?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2010, 08:43:00 am »
Inverness I think would be a great base, you are right on the Withlacoochee (sp) Trail an could easily join up with the Van 46 miles one way, give you a great 92 miles traffic free ride.  Busy weekends if it is speed you want.  I love it.

Van Fleet Trail must also be very close to Withlacoochee and could be combined although have never done this.
Suggest you get Rails-Trails Conservancy guide book or just Google them. 

A drive to Tallahassee an let your wife sight see and take the St Marks Trail 40 mile there and back. Also the road from Inverness to St Marks isn't too bad.

Other suggestion is to go to Google maps choose a destination and pick route by bicycle. 
I expect there area lot of locals who have better knowledge than being a Brit (we are at the moment buying up Florida and son to declare it a British colony again  ;)

Good luck 
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline Tourista829

Re: Florida Base?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2010, 11:09:41 am »
The next time you come over, you could spend a day in Pinellas County and visit the Greek fishing village of Tarpon Springs. You could rent or take you bikes on two rides.

5 mile ride to Fred Howard Park 1700 Sunset Drive Tarpon Springs, Fl. They also have a nice causeway to go to the beach. Bring your own drink and food because other than a bathroom, there are no amenities. www.pinellascounty.org/park/maps/color/amenities/FREDHOWARD.pdf

From Tarpon Springs is the start of the Pinellas Trail that goes 33 miles all the way to St. Petersburg. (Florida not Russia LOL) When you get south of Seminole, be aware that it gets very dicey near St. Pete. There have been reports of robberies and stealing of ones bike, so either avoid the last 4 miles, go with a large group, carry little money, or use a rental bike with insurance. There is enough to see and experience that you could enjoy the ride without seeing St. Pete.  www.pinellascounty.org/park/12_trail.htm

One of my favorite rides if you were to settle spend time in Winter Haven is to ride the Adventure Cycling's Florida Connector Route north. or take the General James A. Van Fleet State Trail from Winter Haven to St. Augustine. It is approximately 164 miles and you would love St. Augustine. The oldest city in the USA. 3 days at a leisurely pace.

My other favorite ride is taking the ACO Florida Connector Route south to Ft. Myers Beach and taking the Ferry to Key West. The Ferry is approx $130 round trip per person, they do have discounts, and they do take bicycles. I would call first to make sure they are running. The boat ride on the way back has some beautiful sunsets. The bicycle ride is  approximately 145 miles but if you take an alternate route 126 miles.  2 days ride.