Author Topic: Florida in July  (Read 6074 times)

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Offline BikerGal

Florida in July
« on: January 02, 2010, 02:56:39 pm »
Are we crazy to consider riding in Florida in July??! A family event will take us to Ponte Vedra Beach in early July and we are considering riding a loop down to Key West and back immediately afterwards. What can we expect weather-wise? Temps? Any route recommendations-either roads to take or avoid- would be appreciated. We can credit card tour or camp. Which would you advise & why? Thanks in advance for your recommendations!

Offline fiddler4060

Re: Florida in July
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2010, 08:15:51 am »
It's pretty hot, but bearable... especially along the coast. You'll want to ride as early as possible in the day. Once you hit the lower half of the state camping isn't much of an option but there are lots of hotels with a/c and swimming pools eager for you business that time of year. You'll run into numerous small rain showers, mostly in the afternoon as the land heats up and collides with the cooler sea breeze... The showers are typically small and welcome as they can cool things down a bit but occaisionally there will be the big thunderstorm you'll want to find shelter from. Another reason to focus on getting your riding done as early in the day as possible. Traffic is much nicer in the summer as all the snowbirds are long gone... it's really a noticable difference. If you don't mind the heat and sweating is your thing then you will love it. If you aren't good with heat and your skin shrivels up in the sun (put on LOTS of sunscreen) then you might want to re-think it.

Offline litespeed

Re: Florida in July
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 12:53:13 pm »
It depends on how you handle the heat. You don't say where you live. I've lived in Florida - near Tampa - for 34 years without air conditioning so the summers suit me just fine. But I've seen Canadian tourists and winter residents who are about to expire when it hits 80. If you're concerned about the heat here just set a moderate pace and drink plenty of liquids. If you do camping make sure you have a tent with good ventilation or a removable fly. Your trip will be right on the water which is cooler and more pleasant than inland.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 12:56:14 pm by litespeed »

Lucky13

  • Guest
Re: Florida in July
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2010, 08:50:20 am »
I agree that hugging the east coast should make the cycling tolerable. The coast road (A1A) is not a bad ride. At times, you will have to jog over to U.S. 1 - to work around shipping channels and the like.

Roads to avoid? In the West Palm Beach/Fort Lauderdale/Miami metropolitan area, you may want to avoid riding too far in an east/west direction. Follow the coast down to the Keys.

As for camping, I also agree that it depends on your own comfort level. Keep in mind that the heat and humidity will linger all night long. Be careful about dehydration. Motels may be the better option.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Florida in July
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2010, 07:41:15 pm »
"Are we crazy to consider riding in Florida in July??! A family event will take us to Ponte Vedra Beach in early July and we are considering riding a loop down to Key West and back immediately afterwards. What can we expect weather-wise? Temps? Any route recommendations-either roads to take or avoid- would be appreciated. We can credit card tour or camp. Which would you advise & why? Thanks in advance for your recommendations!"

In one word "YES!" July is not a good month to ride in Florida. We live in Tampa but use to live in Ft. Lauderdale. If you take the Atlantic Route from St. Augustine to Key West it is 533 miles, each way. You will be a little north of it so say 550 miles. I do not like cycling through Miami. It can be very congested and in spots not safe. It is definitely doable. I rode from Ft. Lauderdale to Tampa, almost 300 miles, in July.

I have a few questions for you. You say it is a family event, I would not recommend this trip with kids. How much time, do you have, for this trip? How many miles a day, do you plan to ride? How experienced a bicycle tourer are you and those who may accompany you?

I have an alternate route. First let's address the weather in July. As stated above, it is very hot. 88-97 day, 72-80 nights. Humidity is also high, 90+%. UV index is very high, 10+. The sun is not like the sun up north, very intense. We have severe thunderstorms, in the afternoon. There is another factor, winds. In July, they come out of the south, southwest and can be strong mid-day.

Here are our suggestions:

1. Start no later than 5:30am. It will be dark but not for long. You will make your best time between 5:30 to 11:30 am. Anything after   
    that is a bonus. I have encountered thunderstorms, as early as 1:00 pm. I do not like lightening.
2.  Purchase some good front and rear lights.
3. If you don't already have one, purchase a Camelback 100 oz hydration system. You will need a lot of water. Fill up frequently.
4. Plus 45 sunscreen is important. Put it on every two hours, religiously.
5. I would keep your weight as light as possible. Unless you want to camp. (Keep plenty of snacks for riding)
6. Plan very carefully, I would stay on an Adventure Cycling Routes. Florida is not always rider friendly, know where you are going and 
   what to expect.

Now to my alternate route. Since you go through St. Augustine, which in itself is beautiful, why not consider the ACO Florida Connector. It will take you south west through Lake Wales, not far from Disney, down Route 17 through Watchula, Arcadia, Port Charlotte into Rt 41 Punta Gorda and on to Ft. Myers. Once in Ft. Myers you can bike around Santa Bell and Captiva Islands or go direct, by ferry to Key West. It will take you through a beautiful part of Florida. It will be less congested. You could check with local churches, in advance, if hotels are not available. They almost always let you stay in their fellowship hall. (bring a sleeping pad, bag, and inflatable pillow) Even some Adventure Cycling members may help you. Best of all, it will cut your cycling down by almost half and cut your wind exposure. (If you cycle 65 miles a day you can do it in 4 to 5 days) This route will save you almost a week if you take it both ways. The ferry ride to Key West is very nice. I would call in advance and make sure the ferry is running and that there is room for you and your gear. 

Last time, we were in Key West, we stayed at the Hyatt, but it was expensive. (Although $100 less a night, with a walk in rate) It was one block from Duval Street. Once in Key West, you might want to do a day excursion north on Rt 1 and see if you like it. You will see if you can handle the heat, traffic and experience the wildlife. If you have the time and really want to ride Route 1 and A1A, you can do it on the way back. The winds will be in your favor, you will be rested, in better shape, and more Florida savvy. One thing to check, from Key West to Key Largo, there may not be as much shelter from the intense heat. Preparation is everything. Give yourself 25% more time than you plan, you may need it in July.

If you need help planning, let us know, and we will give you our email address. We have some suggestions of things to do in Key West, if interested, we will save that for another post. Good Luck:)



 


Offline funcycle21

Re: Florida in July
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2010, 03:56:52 pm »
good luck with that heat. its doable though. Im from miami so I know it can be scorching in the summertime
-Miami cyclist: Polar heart rate monitors? I use em...


Polar heart rate monitors progress

Offline BikerGal

Re: Florida in July
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2010, 10:43:28 pm »
Thanks, all, for your suggestions. We live in the Pacific Northwest, so we're likely to notice the humidity. We have thousands of miles of touring (both road and mtn bike) under our belts, so traffic doesn't faze us much. Nevertheless, we'll be sure to take your advice. There are no kids involved in this tour (although some of us will occasionally act like one!). Appreciate all the advice.

Offline rvklassen

Re: Florida in July
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2010, 01:40:19 pm »
My only experience with Florida in July is two weeks (on separate years).  Sometime mid-late afternoon, the thunderstorms would roll in.  Virtually like clockwork.  A moderately brief downpour, and then it would clear up.  You don't want to be out on the roads during that kind of rain.   There are hotter places in this country.  At least the ocean moderates it some.