Author Topic: Florida in February  (Read 5758 times)

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Offline linkbeak

Florida in February
« on: November 02, 2008, 04:21:35 pm »
I may have the chance to go to Florida at the end of February and ride for a week.  I will be flying in and out of Jacksonville.  I see ACA has two routes (Southern Tier and Florida Connector) mapped in the area.  I'm curious what conditions will be like at that time of the year, and would be happy to hear from anyone familiar with these routes about scenery, riding conditions, etc...  Thanks.


Offline Westinghouse

Florida in February
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2008, 01:03:47 pm »
East coastal Florida in winter will have maxinmum traffic. Cycle the barrier islands as much as possible. Highway US 1 should be avoided when possible. The wind will be either warm, cool, or possibly below freezing. There are still north winds sweeping south that time of year; they begin around October.


Offline Westinghouse

Florida in February
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2008, 01:03:48 pm »
East coastal Florida in winter will have maximum traffic. Cycle the barrier islands as much as possible. Highway US 1 should be avoided when possible. The wind will be either warm, cool, or possibly below freezing. There are still north winds sweeping south that time of year; they begin around October.

The S-tier (not necessarily the one mapped out by ACA) from Jacksonville runs along highway 90. Ninety's terrain can be rolling, hilly, and relatively flat. It has nice wide sidelanes that are smooth. Trees and forests on both sides of the road can block off northwinds. There are many good places for stealth camping.

They are paving over an old railroad right of way to make a dedicated trail from Palatka to Lake City, roughly parallel with highway 100. It is still in the works, so forget about using it.

Stay off highway 27, also 27/19/98. In winter these roads are corridors of hell for a cyclist.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 11-7-08 @ 7:50 AM

Offline linkbeak

Florida in February
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2008, 01:58:04 pm »
Thanks!


Offline litespeed

Florida in February
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2008, 12:14:16 pm »
I've lived in Florida since 1976. February is our second coldest month - after January - but probably still pretty mild for a northerner. I live on the west coast just north of St. Pete. We haven't had a serious freeze here in over 20 years.

Florida is not a particularly bicycle friendly state but it's a lot better than, say, Louisiana or Virginia. There aren't a lot of shoulders on the highways but there are some lengthy trails about the state. You might send off to Rails-to-Trails for their Florida guidebook.

This message was edited by litespeed on 11-4-08 @ 5:39 PM

Offline Westinghouse

Florida in February
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2008, 04:33:27 pm »
Here is some good advice. Stay off highway 27, also known as 27/19/98. It runs northwest out of south Florida in the middle of the state. Saying that 27 and the drivers who use it in winter are not particularly bicycle friendly is a gross understatement. Side lanes are cluttered with rocks, gravel, sticks, broken glass, car parts, mufflers, pieces of metal things. You have to use the motor traffic lanes because of all the junk in the side lanes. The traffic is incredibly fast and furious with a constant annoying din, and large, very noisy trucks bearing down on you from behind all day. It is hell. Avoid it.


Offline litespeed

Florida in February
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2008, 10:35:35 am »
US27 is no place for a bicycle around where it combines with 441 between Mt. Dora and Orlando (between Mt. Dora and Fruitland Park is as bad as it gets) but has comfortable shoulders NW of Orlando. US19 is bad bicycling - no shoulder - south of Chiefland. Between Chiefland and Cross City there is a fine paved bicycle trail, The Nature Coast Trail. North of Cross City 19/27 has good shoulders except in some of the towns.

Tallahassee is a college town and quite bicycle friendly. US98 along the panhandle coast is beautifully scenic but a hassle in some of the towns. US90 is a very good bicycling road but rather boring.

If you need any advice on the northern 2/3 of Florida drop me an e-mail at petewilford@aol.com. I live in Holiday - about 35m N of St. Pete. The lengthy Suncoast, Withlacoochee and Pinellas Trails in this area are very good and handy for touring cyclists.

This message was edited by litespeed on 11-6-08 @ 8:31 AM

Offline tonythomson

Florida in February
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2008, 12:02:19 pm »
I leave for San Diego from Celebration, Kissimmee mid Feb. Heading for Withlacoochee trail- after this north to Trenton. Any advice re best route to conect with ACA Southern Tier as 27 seems only alternative. Tony

Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline tonythomson

Florida in February
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2008, 12:07:26 pm »
Hi Litespeed can you give me directions to The Nature Coast Trail please. Or where to find it on web. Thanks

Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline raybo

Florida in February
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2008, 12:29:30 pm »
Check out the Florida Greenways site: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/index.htm

In addition to the above link, this page has 5 other links to information about bike touring in Florida.

Good luck,

Ray

Visit the on-line bike touring archive at www.biketouringtips.com
Visit the on-line bike touring archive at www.biketouringtips.com

Offline litespeed

Florida in February
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2008, 11:06:44 pm »
The northern terminus of the Withlacoochee Trail is in an unsuccessful development in Citrus Springs.  The shortcut into Dunnellon goes thus: From the end of the Trail go left (north) a couple of blocks to a dirt road on the left. Follow it about 1/3 mile to another paved road. Go right 1/2 mile or so to a small industrial park. Go to the right through it to 41. Go north over the RR hump into downtown Dunnellon.

DON'T go north on 41. Instead take very rural, almost deserted 336 and 337 to 27 which has plenty of shoulder. Then west to the turnoff to Trenton or straight to Chiefland. You can pick up the Nature Coast Trail in either town. Chiefland has a good campground/RV park.

The Trail is very nice and pleasant. From Cross City north 19 has enough paved shoulder for bicycles. I have ridden it many times in both directions.

The Rails-to-Trails web site -http://www.traillink.com/
- has downloadable maps of all their trails including this one. I can't find the Florida Trails guidebook but there is a Southeastern one.

This message was edited by litespeed on 11-10-08 @ 8:11 PM

Offline tonythomson

Florida in February
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2008, 04:36:11 am »
Graet info, very much appreciated. Regards Tony

Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline Westinghouse

Florida in February
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2008, 01:36:17 pm »
I was just reading some directions that said to take highway 27. All I can say is that judging from my experiences with 27, it is one of the worst roads for cycling in the nation. The directions also said 27 has wide shoulders. It has in some places, but my experience taught me that the shoulders were so heaped and cluttered with debris as to make them useless for a bicycle. 27 may not be as I described it every inch of the way 24 and 7, but it was definitely the way I described it for a long distance until I could find a way off it. It could have sretches that are ok, and stretches that are pure hell and fury. I guess one might choose to take the bad with the good, but I will never cycle on 27 ever again.