Life is easier with bike lanes, trails and racks on buses.
Street Magazine ranks Gainesville in top 10 bicycle-friendly cities | read more
Richard Florida says cyclists are “happier, and . . . more creative, too ” while naming Gainesville as the sixth best biking city in America | read more
Bicycling.com names Gainesville in the top 50 bicycle-friendly cities in the U.S. and adds this insight:
“There are many important things a city can do to gain our consideration for this list: segregated bike lanes, municipal bike racks and bike boulevards, to name a few. If you have those things in your town, cyclists probably have the ear of the local government—another key factor. To make our Top 50, a city must also support a vibrant and diverse bike culture, and it must have smart, savvy bike shops.” | read more
Ron Cunningham of The Gainesville Sun, himself an avid cyclist, says:
“In many ways, our greenways and trails have been Florida’s best kept secret. Tourists who have long flocked here for our beaches, theme parks and golf courses haven’t had a clue about our trails. But now the secret’s out.” Read Ron Cunningham’s Staycation on Two Wheels
Check out the seemingly endless list of resources at right as you begin your cycling travels, whether it is a leisurely ride down a quiet trail, a commute to work, or an off-road mountain biking adventure.
Click on the maps below for larger versions:
GAINESVILLE STREETS AND TRAILS COLOR CODED FOR BIKE ACCESSIBILITY
GREAT RURAL BIKE LOOPS CAN BE FOUND AT THE GAINESVILLE CYCLING CLUB WEBSITE
“Grab a pack and hit the trail”
I would be hard pressed to name my favorite Florida trail.
Certainly the Gainesville-Hawthorne Rail Trail, just about five miles from my front door, is the one I use most. It cuts across the northern rim of Paynes Prairie through a hilly expanse of woodlands and meadows before transversing wetlands and pinelands on its way to Hawthorne.
If you want a more urban experience, try the Pineallas Trail and discover how cyclists and motorists can coexist peacefully in Florida’s most densely populated metro area.
I’ve often left Tallahassee headed south on the St. Marks Trail toward an expanse of Gulf coastal wetlands that hasn’t changed all that much since Spanish explorers were chased off by fierce Apalachee indians way back when.
And the ride through Polk County’s Green Swamp on the James A. Van Fleet Trail is not to be missed. You can get back into those quiet woods and never suspect that central Florida’s theme park central is located just beyond the tree line a ways.
And those are only some of our rail trails. Don’t even get me started on Florida’s canoe trails and hiking paths.
Because the thing a lot of people don’t know about Florida is that we have built and maintained an impressive system of greenways and trails. Moreover, the state has an ambitious master plan that envisions eventually connecting many of its recreational trails into a statewide system that can lead outdoor enthusiasts and ecotourists on a Florida adventure of a lifetime.
I only bring this up because October is Greenways and Trails month in Florida, as proclaimed by the Governor and Cabinet. “I encourage everyone to grab a bicycle, kayak or walking shoes and enjoy Florida’s natural beauty at one of the state’s more than 8,000 miles of land trails and 4,000 miles of paddling trails,” says DEP Office of Greenways and Trails Director Jena Brooks.
Want to know more about Florida’s trail systems? Easy, just go to Visit Florida’s newly launched Greenways and Trails web site. www.visitflorida.com/trails
As Brooks puts it, “Florida’s trails are economic engines that welcome millions of visitors each year and we look forward to introducing millions more through the launch of this website.”
In many ways, our greenways and trails have been Florida’s best kept secret. Tourists who have long flocked here for our beaches, theme parks and golf courses haven’t had a clue about our trails. But now the secret’s out. And this month, Greenways and Trails Month, is a good time to discover exactly what Jimmy Buffet was talking about when he advised “Grab a pack and hit the trial.”