Many hundreds of miles of paved bicycle trails criss-cross Florida from Key West to Georgia and Alabama. Sure, I’m an off-road mountain biker at heart, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy riding these non-bone-jarring trails. I’m no bike snob — a chance to ride is a chance to ride, no matter the surface…or the bike.
Some stretches run through beautifully scenic countryside, while others snake their way through urban areas. Occasionally, though not quite often enough, bridges and tunnels allow riders to enjoy the flow without having to deal with traffic, but you’ll almost certainly have to take care with road and driveway crossings.
These trails are excellent for family rides, as well as all manner of human propulsion and in some places, horseback riding. Some people are walking (with or without pets), some are running, some are casually bicycling, others are serious cyclers (often in a pack), while still others are skateboarding. There are young children, teens, mid-lifers and senior citizens. With all these variables in play there are many opportunities for things to go wrong if you don’t play nice and pay attention.
Please remember that cyclists yield to pedestrians and everyone yields to horses. Keep right, except to pass. When you do pass, pass on the left and let whoever you’re passing know in advance that you’re about to pass. Make sure you check behind you on the left before you swing out to pass — someone may be about to pass you without warning. Much like driving, you have to be on the lookout for those who aren’t.
That being said, I highly recommend that you check out some of these trails. I’ve had the pleasure of riding on several paved trails within the greater Orlando area lately, including the Little Econ Greenway, Seminole-Wekiva Trail, the Spring to Spring Trail and the West Orange Trail. I rode about 100 yards on the Withlacoochee State Trail as I was crossing to ride the Croom Mountain Biking Trails. I’m definitely coming back to ride this paved trail through the Withlacoochee State Forest.
Chances are that you live near several paved trails. Check out Where-to-Go for links to maps and other local resources, such as your county parks and rec, who often have outstanding paved trails of their own. Looking for great places that I’ve hiked, biked or paddled? See the Bucket List…it’s growing weekly! Go on — get on your bike and ride.
The growing list of those I’ve ridden:
East Central Rail Trail and Spring to Spring Trails (West Volusia)
More on the way!