Tag Archives: Bike Florida

Chasing away the winter blues by visiting a warm weather bike destination.

Chasing away those winter blues by traveling to a warm riding destination

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

With winter here for a few more months it is not uncommon for cabin fever to set in. Many of us use this time of year to head off to a warm riding destination to get out of the cold and kick-starting the spring season a little early. While the list of warm biking destinations is nearly endless, here are a few that can be extra fun. Read on to learn, where to go and how to get there.

Finding the perfect warm riding destination takes planning

The first part of any trip is usually the least fun – planning! However, taking a little extra time to figure out what type of riding you want to do, what off the bike activities you want to enjoy and the type of accommodations that meets your needs will make the trip more enjoyabe.

Getting ready

I’m not going to tell you how to pack, but I will recommend you bring more than you think you need for a warm riding destination trip. A rain shell, a long sleeve jersey and a pair of tights don’t take up much room in your bag and can totally save a day if you receive unseasonably cool weather while away. Additionally, I would recommend you prepare your bike. Research the trail/road conditions by calling a local bike shop to see if they recommend anything. As an example, in the southwest there is a plant called Puncturevine (or goatheads), that produces a very hard, very sharp seed. These seeds destroy the more delicate tires your topography may allow. So when I have traveled to Arizona in the spring, I changed my tires to the puncture resistant variety and saved hours of fixing flats.

R&R – Rides and Relaxation

I know the idea of a warm riding destination trip can be exciting, but be sure not to bite off more than you can chew. Overdoing it on the first day can set a bad tone for the rest of the week, so concentrate on riding and relaxing. I like to set up two rides for the first day (typically a morning and afternoon ride). That way, if you feel great you can enjoy both, but if you can’t muster the second one it’s easy to skip it. By contrast, if you setup one long ride for the first day, you may get stuck half way out with an empty energy tank.

Where to go

I am lucky to have enjoyed many winter months in warmer places, Some of those listed below are favorites of mine, while still others are on my list of places to go.

Georgia

Georgia has become a cycling destination for riders of all discipines. It was the location of the first Olympic mountain bike race as well as the home of one of the united states most difficult stage races (tour of Georgia). If you have your heart set (and prepared) for a day of climbing hills and enjoying views, you can enjoy the Mile high 55 ride in the town of Roswell. If flat cruises, beautiful beaches and southern living are more your speed, check out the town of Savanah for it’s endless bike paths.

Tennessee

Tennessee is home to great weather, awesome people, and spectacular riding. Places like Montgomery Bell State park just outside Nashville is a great jumping off point for mountain bike as well as road rides. It’s proximity to the musical city of Nashville also ensure your days in the saddle can be well balanced with nights of fun.

Florida

Florida is a well known winter destination for all the resorts and beaches, but did you know they also boast world class mountain bike trails? Even in a city as spicy as Miami you can find dirt to satisfy you? Trails like the Oleta River State Park have tight singletrack with whoops, roots, and drops to make even the most seasoned rider shout with joy.

Arizona

Arizona is a winter haven for many thanks to its temperate climate. While it gets a bit hot for many in the summer, winter and fall are breathtaking. The roads outside most major cities are clear and some can be incredibly challenging. For instance, north of Tucson sits Mt Lemmon, a 6 hour ride that puts you more than 8000 feet above sea level. It is littered with wide open vistas and earth shattering views so bring your camera along!

war riding destinations

Mt Lemmon’s views are worth the trouble climbing to them

California

For cycling trips, it is difficult to beat the riding in California. The large state has green rolling hills in it’s northern territories as well as dry, desert roads that stretch on forever and let you work on that tan in it’s southern half. I personally love riding high above the golden gate bridge in the China Camp trail system in Marin county. While you are there, you can soak in some cycling culture at the Marin Museum of Bicycling and Mountain bike hall of fame.

Warm riding Destinations

The Marin Museum of Bicycling is home to over 100 years of bicycle evolution. It is also a hangout for some of the most influential bicycle builders of ll time.

More bike destinations to consider

Check out our HaveFunBiking National Guide for more place to ride for that #NextBikeAdventure.

How to travel with your bike

Traveling with your bike is not that difficult. If you plan to travel a lot, investing in a dedicated travel bike or buying a bike case are probably your best options. If that isn’t the way you want to go, many cities have stores that will rent good quality bikes at reasonable rates.

Riding in unknown locations

There are a few things you want to make sure of before you go riding somewhere new. First is to let others know where you are going and when you plan to return. This can alert people to your absence if need be. Also, you may want to think about SAG support?  AAA Auto Club now offers roadside bike assistance as a service where they will pick you up if you have a problem. Finally, bring your smartphone. You may want to turn the ringer off, so reality can’t spoil the fun, but it’s mapping functions can get you out of a jam if you take a wrong turn or need 911.

So have fun and share your #NextBikeAdventure pictures and stories with us at HaveFunBiking.com on your next warm riding destination getaway.

Tinsel Time Thursday is finally here!

Bike Pic Dec 24, this little tyke is riding his tinsel trike

Tinsel time is finally here,  how are you gearing up for the holiday festivities? This little tyke is in the Christmas spirit how about you?

As you continue to enjoy your winter weather fun, see all the places to explore, throughout the year, in the new national HaveFunBiking Guide

Thanks for viewing Today’s Tinsel Time Bike Pic

Now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more place to have fun we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing the guide.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our picks with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with one of our camera’s ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. We may capture you in one of our next Pic of the Day posts.

Have a great day!

This new national bicycle guide offers bicyclists of all levels easily access the latest information on places to ride a bike, helpful tips and more.

The inaugural issue of the Have Fun Biking National Guide is here

From all of us at HaveFunBiking.com (HFB), We are elateded to introduce you to our inaugural issue of the Have Fun Biking Guide. We began with the HFB website in 2006 and have been publishing bicycle guides ever since.

What you will see in the Have Fun Biking National Guide

Like the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide and our website, our goal is to help cyclists easily access the latest information on bicycling, including the best places to ride a
bike, plus helpful tips on gear, maintenance and safety for the next bike adventure. That
vision and process still holds true today as you page through the following feature
stories, tips and reviews in this new digital publication.

This new national bicycle guide offers bicyclists of all levels easily access the latest information on places to ride a bike, helpful tips and more.

This new national bicycle guide offers bicyclists of all levels easily access the latest information on places to ride a bike, helpful tips and more.

Many of the articles and tips you see in the guide are also on our blog at HFB. So if you are looking for more updated details, along with additional descriptive photos and links, we have you covered.

A sneak peek at in future bi-monthly issues

Furthermore, if you want a sneak peek at what might be in our next issue of this guide or further details when on the go, please sign up for our weekly eNewsletter on the next page. I promise your email address will not be sold to, or shared with, a third party. Also, if you would like to view our daily photo ‘Pic of the Day’ please like – our Facebook or Instagram page.

Whether you are new to bicycling or a seasoned cyclist, we hope you enjoy and bookmark this handy guide to your favorite electronic device. Our goal is to continue publishing biking information to help you stay active and healthy.

Be an HFB partner, share you stories, pictures and ideas

To make future issues available, please check out all the links our sponsors have provided and let me know what you would like to see in our upcoming bi-monthly issues. This publication is a partnership between HaveFunBiking, our sponsors and you, our readers. We need your input
to be successful, so please feel free to share your opinions, ideas, photos and stories on bicycle related topics with us. Just send an email to: [email protected] and we will get back to you.

Read on and have fun!

Russ Lowthian, Editor
HaveFunBiking.com

After a bike tourism conference in Florida and hearing many interesting facts about the Tampa/St Pete bike friendly options, check them out.

Exploring the Tampa/St. Pete area bike trails on your next vacation

by Russ Lowthian
Everyone needs a break, especially after the weather turns cold here in the upper
Midwest. Recently I attended a bicycle tourism conference in Florida. Having
heard many good things about the bike friendly options in the Tampa/St. Pete area,
I wanted to check it out for myself. It also helped my decision learning that these two cities have
spent several million dollars improving their bike friendly infrastructure.

Using the areas bike friendly lanes to safely get up to the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail.

Using the areas bike friendly lanes to safely get up to the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail.

Compared to my visit several years back, cyclists today will find dedicated or protected cycling lanes and more bike trails. These bike lanes make it easy to connect to many popular trail systems. With many improvements in place, I found several safe routes perfect for any family bike outing. As you will note below many of the trails link up with parks, museums, aquariums, beaches, etc.!

Bike rental options in the Tampa/St.Pete area

Like most of the southeast coastal region of the U.S., the area here is pretty flat and the only hills are pedaling over bridges. That said, wind can be a factor and unless you are hanging around the beach, look for a rental bike, that fits you with multi-speeds. If you are going
to the rental shop, understand they usually operate on a first come first serve basis, so be sure to get there early if you are trying to ride on a busy weekend. Googling bicycle rental in St. Petersburg, I found numerous options. Many would deliver and pickup from my
hotel and were competitively priced.

Trails in the Tampa/St. Pete area to explore by bike

On my last trip to the area, here are some of the bike paths and routes I have briefly checked out. I look forward to a return visit to explore these trails further and find other hidden jewels I missed.

Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail

Riding the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail from St Pete to Clearwater.

Riding the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail from St Pete to Clearwater.

From St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, this 38 mile trail system lets you explore a scenic blend of bustling downtown areas and residential neighborhoods. Here palm trees shade the trail inbetween the parks. With several cities that dot the trail, you will find many options for beaches, breweries, dining and shopping along the way. This trail also gives you the option to visit Honeymoon Island State Park where you will find a beach. Nearby, a half mile off the trail, you will also find the children’s museum at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center. It is a 20 mile bike ride up the trail from St. Pete to Clearwater. Here in this progressive downtown area, with a beautiful waterfront, enjoy breweries, restaurants and shopping.

The North Bay Trail

Enjoying the North Bay Trail

Enjoying the North Bay Trail

This trail picks up in the southern part of St. Petersburg, where the Pinellas Trail ends. A 6.3-mile-long trail it curves along the waterfront in downtown St. Pete and takes riders out to the Gandy Bridge, near Weedon Island Preserve. I hear this trail gets pretty busy, especially along the southernmost reaches that meanders through Vinoy Park and a few small, sandy beaches.

The Tampa Riverwalk

In downtown Tampa, the Riverwalk hugs the Hillsborough River. Only 2.6 miles long this is a great thoroughfare for bikers and a place you might see manatees and dolphins. The River Walk starts at Curtis Hixon Waterworks Park and stretches 2.6 miles to the intersection of Channelside Dr. & Beneficial Dr. If you want to make a day of it with the whole family, the Riverwalk connects to the Florida Aquarium and to the Glazer Children’s Museum, not to mention many restaurants and beautiful parks.

Bayshore Linear Park Trail

Home to Gasparilla, the third-largest parade in the U.S., the Bayshore is billed as the longest sidewalk in the world, clocking in at 4.5 unobstructed miles of pathway. The sidewalk runs along the eastern coast of the Tampa peninsula, offering a view of the bay to the east and some of Tampa’s most stately homes to the west. This Bayshore also connects easily to the Tampa Riverwalk, via the Platt Street Bridge, if you’re looking for a longer ride. Starting at Platt St. this trail ends at W. Gandy Blvd. where there is a dedicated bike lane, if pedestrian traffic is heavy.

Selmon Greenway

Riding on the Selmon Greenway Trail

Riding on the Selmon Greenway Trail

This Greenway starts where the Selmon Expressway crosses over the Tampa Riverwalk (just south of Brorein Street). A shady trail, less than two miles long. From Tampa’s historic district it follows the shadows of the expressway rolling northeast to the outskirts of Ybor City. Along the way you will find plenty of breweries and restaurants to visit when not biking.

Preparing to climb up to the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail

Preparing to climb up to the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail

 

 

 

 

Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail

This trail system, over Old Tampa Bay connects the city of Clearwater to Tampa. If you are on a single speed bike, this 11 mile trail system can be brutal if you are not in shape. First you will need to pedal your bike up onto the bridge. Then, the wind coming across the bay can be strong. That said, the Courtney Campbell Trail makes for a scenic and fun bike ride. From Tampa, this is the perfect bike route to visit the Ream Wilson Clearwater Trail or ride up to Safety Harbor.

Ream Wilson Trail (back in Clearwater)

On the Ream Wilson Trail riders will follow Alligator Creek and end in Coachmen Ridge Park

On the Ream Wilson Trail riders will follow Alligator Creek and end in Coachmen Ridge Park

Back in Clearwater/St Pete, from the Courtney Campbell Trail over Tampa Bay, checkout the Ream Wilson Clearwater Trail. If you take the trail that parallels North Bayshore Blvd., at the middle of the trail system you have two options. Continue up the Bay and you will hit the charming downtown of Safety Harbor. There check out the Whimzey Bowling Ball House. If you ride the trail to the west, from Bayshore Blvd., the trail doesn’t make it all the way to the Pinellas Trail. It will only get you about halfway across riding along Alligator Creek and ending in Coachmen Ridge Park.

Have fun enjoying the trails I have covered so far in the Tampa/St. Pete area. If you discover another route or an interesting experience riding in the area please, let us know – Thanks!