Follow Florida cycling enthusiasts during these recurring favorite events. Please verify with event organizers before scheduling travel.
This endurance challenge is a fully supported off-road ride on 50 miles of trails complete with rolling terrain and stream crossings. Most of the ride takes place on single-track trails along the Suwannee River outside the town of White Springs. Rolling hills and varied terrain make the ride both interesting and challenging, and bail out points are available for those who don't want to do the whole route. Call 386-243-0115 for more information.
Bike Florida: Spring Tour
Every spring, the organization Bike Florida hosts an immensely popular multi-day event. Past programs have included natural springs tours, beachside cycling and more. Routes generally total 300 miles or more, with 1,000 riders taking part. Local lodging establishments offer packages to riders, but to really mingle with the locals, try camping in a local gymnasium. The tour is fully supported, with meals, SAG support, and bike mechanics along for the whole ride. Entry fees cover all the basics, including camping, and riders can add meal plans. The event fills up fast, so call Bike Florida at 352-224-8602 for more information.
Bike Florida also puts on a tour in the fall and winter, so there's plenty of chances to sign up and see Florida on a long-distance ride. For information on additional events, visit www.bikeflorida.org.
Royal Palm Classic
This laid-back event, usually taking place during the first week of March, begins at Buckingham Park in Lee County, outside of Fort Myers. In addition to the loops of 30, 45 and 54 miles, the local cycling club, Ft. Myers Caloosa Riders, will lead a 15-mile "no one dropped" route. Burgers, dogs and vegetarian options are included as part of the event, which attracts close to 200 riders. Visit www.caloosariders.com for more information.
Zimmerman MS Bike Ride
This huge event took place on April 21, 2012. Over 3,500 riders take part in the annual MS Bike Ride from Homestead to Key Largo. This ride keeps getting bigger and better, and this year they've added a kids and family ride on the first day. Over two days, the ride covers 150 miles from the Homestead-Miami Speedway to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. The MS bike ride has all the bells and whistles, including meals, rest stops and SAG support. This is a charity ride, and in addition to the registration fees, riders have to raise at least $400. Visit www.msbikeflorida.org for more information.
Bike MS: PGA Tour Cycle to the Shore
Double up that sense of accomplishment by enjoying a great ride and supporting a worthy cause. The Bike MS: PGA Tour Cycle to the Shore offers 150K and 150-mile options, both beginning at the St. Augustine Airport in St. Augustine and ending at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort in Daytona Beach. This well-supported ride benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Cycling teams and organizations are encouraged to join in. Call 904-332-6810 for more information.
Kevin Mims contributed to this article.