Three Florida Bike Events You Should Know About

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Over the years, I've ridden just about every pedal-powered form of transportation out there. I've gone through a bunch of different phases, and continue to dabble in several disciplines of cycling. It's hard to say for certain if I'll ever settle into a particular style, but it's been a blast learning the ins and outs of all of them.

If I had to choose, I'd say I enjoy mountain biking the most. As I've gotten older, the falls hurt a little more and the bruises take a lot longer to go away, so I don't really go for the aggressive stuff like the Vortex at Santos these days and have opted for longer cross-country trails. I still ride my Yeti AS-X regularly, though.

I've become increasingly interested in bike touring and bikepacking (off-road lightweight touring) lately. Earlier this year, I retooled an older Giant bike for touring with racks and panniers, and have been experimenting with taking longer distance rides. I'll post more on bike touring later - I've got a couple of rides planned later in the year that you'll want to follow along with!

Florida is a great state for all forms of cycling. We've got great spots for road biking, rail-trails that are perfect for a family ride, long-distance touring trails, and off-road trails that are as good as you'll find anywhere. With all these opportunities for riding, it's a no-brainer that we'd have tons of annual bike rides, too - here are a few that you'll want to check out:

Zimmerman MS Bike Ride - this is a HUGE event that takes place this year on May 14 and 15. 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. Take two days and ride up to 150 miles from the Homestead-Miami Speedway to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. Meals, rest stops, SAG support - the MS bike ride has all the bells and whistles.  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.

Off-road riders, you'll love the Suwannee Bicycle Association's Ididaride in White Springs. This 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 singletrack trails. The Ididaride takes place in January, so you have plenty of time to get out there and train.

Bike Florida's Spring Tour takes riders through some of the most scenic spots in North Central Florida on a 300-mile ride. The tour is fully supported, with meals, SAG support, and bike mechanics along for the whole ride. 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.

Take some time to learn about those rides, and I'll share some more soon! Happy riding!

Got a favorite trail or cycling event? Share it with with me on the VISiT FLORIDA Outdoors and Nature Facebook page.

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