Bicycle riding in Florida ?
When I first came to Orlando my thoughts were that you cannot cycle
on the roads because of the traffic and how ignorant car drivers are
But joining the
Freewheelers bicycle club in Orlando showed me the difference. After
cycling since 2002 many many Miles (kilometers) on Florida roads I can
say that Florida has excellent bicycling possibilities and that
throughout the year.
Unfortunately the car drivers did not change, but I found areas with
lower traffic. I did rides during day and night and around the clock. On
the remote areas you need to watch out for dogs.
I don't know what time of the year and what daily distance you are
Anyhow here some information. I hope you find some valuable information
and enjoy your stay in Florida.
General areas of good cycling I have experienced:
- West and north of Orlando
- You can use maps from the Florida Freewheelers:
Freewheeler Orlando Area riding maps
- Mount Dora would be in general a good starting point
- Or the "Inn of the Green" in Tavares (ask for the West Palm
Beach Bicycle Club rate)
- In this area you will also find some hills e.g. our Horrible
Hundred (160 km) includes 3 700 ft of climbing
Trails from Rails
- Gainesville Area:
- Cocoa Beach Area:
- Satellite Beach Brevets
- Between Madison and White Springs in North Florida
- Along A1A between Cocoa Beach and Miami Beach
- In general you can cycle along the east coast. There will be
stretches with higher traffic. In some areas you will cycle along
multi million dollar Villas with nice scenery.
- You can cycle the from the east e.g. Hobe Sound towards Ft.
Myers around the south side of Lake Okeechobee. But be warned not to
do this is in the hot season (between April and September). There
are stretches of 40 - 50 Miles (60 to 80 km) without any Convenience
Stores (Tankstelle mit Einkaufsmoeglichkeit) or any possibility to
refill water. This with temperatures of > 100F (40C) is not
recommended for somebody just coming to Florida for a vacation.
- Here is a cue sheet example of the
1000km Brevet 2003.
- Other than that I would recommend not to go much further south
or east of Sebring/Orlando because of traffic.
- Come by to Orlando and join one of our organized club rides.
Look at the
Florida Freewheelers schedule. We have rides each weekend that
have a ride leader, who is handing out maps.
- In Orlando, you can join one of Hal's rides that leave each
Saturday at Lakemont Elementary School for a 25 or 41 Mile distance.
- Look at the Florida
Bicycle Touring Calendar for organized rides (like RTF in
- Buy a county map after your arrival that shows the smaller
- The Disney area:
Kissimmee and International Drive is good for holidays (e.g. not far
from Disney), but unfortunately not the best for cycling. The
North/West side of Orlando would be the better choice if cycling is
your primary goal e.g. Clermont, Tavares, Mt. Dora.
For the Kissimmee area look at the website of the Florida
Freewheelers for the "Pedal Thru Polk" and "Poinciana South" ride:
Freewheeler Orlando Area riding maps
- Florida Keys:
You can cycle from Kissimmee towards Cocoa Beach and there along the
coast line all the way to Miami (I did this before).
Friends were telling me that you can keep going from there on south
all the way to Key West. From Key Largo to Key West there is only
one road and usually a lot of traffic. To what I remember they even
mentioned a side lane for part of it. If you don't mind the wind and
the traffic you might want to consider it.
In early 2004 we had a lady from Germany over the weekend, who was
cycling through the US for two years (14000 Miles, 22000 km) and was
in Key West several times. She enjoyed it there.
If you are in the Orlando area and are up for some leisurely riding
to see the "REAL Florida" you might take a look at this:
- You will notice that this is not low priced and it might be
better to bring the bicycles via airplane to Orlando
David's World bicycle rental
- Another option could be the County Line Station of the West
Orange Trail. They rent bikes, but I think they do not rent road
bikes. You might call them to find out: 407 877-0600.
- Bed & Breakfast places are not like Germany or Austria on the
lower end of the budget. They are actually something more exclusive
and on the higher end.
- Recommended are Motels of Chains that you usually find in
Florida between 40 $ and 100 $ per night per room.