Author Topic: Florida 3-day circular route?  (Read 3639 times)

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Offline fiddler4060

Florida 3-day circular route?
« on: November 24, 2010, 08:54:53 am »
I'd like to take a three day circular route (beginning and ending at the same point... OK... maybe it's a triangle) in Central Florida over Martin Luther King weekend. Any suggestions? 160-180 miles would be ideal, camping preferred over hotels. I have some friends camping at Fort Cooper SP near Inverness so if I'm there one night that would be great... but not required if you know a good route that doesn't include that. Can do anything south of Ocala. All suggestions welcome!  
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 10:43:29 am by fiddler4060 »

Offline pptouring

Re: Florida 3-day circular route?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2010, 08:02:14 pm »
Ft. Cooper is nice. My wife and I rode there from our house in Holiday (near Tarpon Springs) a couple years ago. Going South from Ft. Cooper you can take the Withlacoochee Trail and once you get to SR50 you can decide to go Left towards Van Fleet Trail or Right and make your way towards Suncoast Parkway or you can just keep traveling East (Left) on SR50 towards Clermont. Where are you starting/stopping? This may help in helping you out.

If you'd like to see some pictures from our touring/camping trips to Ft. Cooper and to Withlacoochee Park, click on my link below and then check out the "Photos & Details"
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 08:15:17 pm by robenne »

Offline litespeed

Re: Florida 3-day circular route?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2010, 09:26:37 pm »
Well, I also live in Holiday. I know the central and northern part of the state quite well. Here are some roads to avoid: US19 south of Cross City, US27/441 between Fruitland Park and Mt. Dora, 41 between Citrus Park and Williston, 50 through Orlando. There is excellent bicycling on the back roads around Brooksville/San Antonio and Mt. Dora. Cyclers from the Tampa/St. Petersburg area park at the athletic complex in San Antonio and ride around the hills.

For my day rides I leave from my house and ride down the Pinellas Trail to St. Pete or go out to the Suncoast Parkway Trail and head north to Spring Hill. Florida isn't the best cycling state but it's better than most. Lots of trails and lightly traveled rural roads. Enjoy yourself.

Offline pptouring

Re: Florida 3-day circular route?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2010, 11:44:35 pm »
Hello Litespeed! Have we ever met? I'm sure I've passed you on the left while on my Merlin! ;-)

Anyway US19 is really not all that bad. I've been on it numerous times and the shoulder is plenty wide. It's not my first choice, but it's not that bad; especially, north of where Little Road intersects it. Riding up and around the Brooksville area and on over to Crystal River is nice as well.

Here is a little route to look at, but it would be nice to know where you plan on starting and stopping.

Bike Route - Central Florida

Offline fiddler4060

Re: Florida 3-day circular route?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2010, 10:53:21 am »
Thanks! I can start/stop anywhere... I'll be driving up from South Florida. The map you attached is great... thinking maybe to start in Mt. Dora, go counter clockwise, spending a night in Inverness at Fort Cooper and Clermont on the second night, maybe staying at Lake Louisa State Park?

Another suggestion I had heard was to start in Zephyrhills, bike north to Inverness then south and west to Starkey Wilderness, then back to Zephyrhills. It's mostly bike trails on the first two days but going from Starkey to Zephyrhills doesn't look very good... are the roads good?

Thanks for your help. It's good to have someone with some local knowledge.

Offline pptouring

Re: Florida 3-day circular route?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2010, 01:02:37 pm »
You have two options along the Withlacoochee Trail for camping, Withlacoochee S.P. and Ft. Cooper. Both are nice, but Ft. Cooper is primitive only. Along the Suncoast Parkway you have 3 options, Crews Lake (about 2 miles north of SR.52), Serenova Tract (about 1 mile West of the Suncoast Pwky on SR.52), and there are a couple primitive spots within Starkey Park (roughly 5 miles south of SR.52 on the Suncoast Pkwy is the entrance, then about 2.5 miles into the park is the first & best campsite).

Suncoast Parkway (Starkey Park) out to Zephyrhills, you'll take SR 54 (mostly 6 lane highway) and I don't have a problem with the ride, I've done it a few times, but that is me. In fact, I just rode from the house and out to the Suncoast along SR54 (13 miles). The shoulder on SR54/SR56 is plenty wide. It's been a few years, but from what I remember it may get a little tight just after Wesley Chapel for a short stretch. Can't comment on the route going North from Zephyrhills to at least San Antonio or Dade City.

 
Happy Thanksgiving!
« Last Edit: November 26, 2010, 08:16:52 am by robenne »

Offline litespeed

Re: Florida 3-day circular route?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2010, 11:05:26 am »
US 19 might have some good stretches south of Cross City but I don't mess with it if I am headed north. If I am headed anywhere but the east coast - out west, midwest or up through the middle of Georgia - I take the following route: Out to the Suncoast Trail, 50 to Brooksville, 41 to Floral City, Withlacoochee Trail to Citrus Park and Dunnellon, 336,337 and Alt 27 to Chiefland or Trenton where I pick up the Nature Coast Trail. From its terminus at Cross City I head north on 19 which is really boring but has shoulders. Years ago when I rode 19 from Chiefland south to 98 it had no shoulders to speak of. They might have improved it since.

If I am headed for the east coast - which I have done twice this year - I take the preceeding route as far as Inverness where I head east on 44 to the Wildwood KOA and on to St. Augustine Beach and up the coast.