We are smack dab in the middle of National Bike Month, and it's also currently National Bike to Work Week. If you plan on riding to work, be safe and wear those helmets! Also, check your area for local paved rail-trails that may happen to be situated along your route to work and ride those. They make for great commuter pathways.
If you are looking for places to ride during National Bike Month or are planning summer trips, I've got five suggestions for trails you should explore. These range from rail-trails that weave through towns to wild rides on off-road trails. Whatever type of bike you ride, Florida has plenty of trails for you to enjoy. Here's the list:
Blackwater Heritage State Trail (Paved) - Located in Milton, the Blackwater Heritage State Trail follows the route of the former Florida and Alabama Railroad (F&ARR) that was constructed in the early 1900s. The trail extends 8.1 miles from Milton to the NAS Whiting Field Trailhead, with an additional connector trail leading to the front entrance gate to Whiting Field.
Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail (Paved) - On this trail, you'll ride 16 miles from Gainesville's Boulware Springs Park, through Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, ending up at the Hawthorne Trailhead. This is a fantastic ride through natural lands – take some time to explore the La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park along the way.
Mala Compra Trails (Off-Road) - Head over to Flagler County and ride 5.5 miles of technical singletrack trail, with rock gardens, switchbacks and climbs. It's a moderately strenuous ride, and is also close to the beach. Parking is located at Bings Landing on A1A between St. Augustine and Flagler Beach.
Soldier's Creek Mountain Bike Trail (Off-Road) - This is a terrific short loop trail (1.5 miles) that's great for riders of different levels. There are bridges and some short downhill runs, making this an awesome quick ride if you are in Seminole County. For a longer outing, the Cross Seminole Trail can be accessed from Soldier's Creek Park, giving you the option of riding both paved and off-road trails from one location.
Shark Valley, Everglades National Park (Paved) - Take a 15-mile ride and see the Florida Everglades by bike. Alligators? Yep, you'll see them along (and sometimes in) the trail. The ride takes about two to three hours, and bike rentals are available at the Shark Valley Visitor Center. Bring along plenty of water and sunscreen, and remember that afternoon showers are common in the summer months.
Need more trail ideas? Make sure to check out the trails section of VISITFLORIDA.com for plenty more paved and off-road pathways around the state. Have fun!