Central Florida has a number of paved and well maintained bike trails. Just about every trail is 12-foot-wide asphalt, with an occasional concrete area. In this post, Guest Contributor George Felegy shares his favorite Central Florida bike trails with us, and tells us how he discovered his “happy place” on a recumbent trike!
Discovering the Central Florida Bike Trails, by George Felegy
When I moved to Central Florida from New York almost 13 years ago, I was sure I would be spending a lot of time on the beaches, but then I discovered the wonderful assortment of safe and beautiful cycling trails, many that I could ride right from my home! I quickly went out and purchased a bike from my neighborhood bike shop.
My first bike was a seven-speed beach bike called a Mango and built in Key West. I thought that it would be an appropriate bike for Florida, especially if I ever wanted to ride on the beach. I did use it a few times on Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach. But I had fallen for the trails, and eventually started riding them four or day days a week.
Looking for a Great Trail Bike
A few thousand miles and about seven years on the Mango, and I thought I would treat myself to a more appropriate trail bike. I decided on a Cannondale Adventure 1, which is a hybrid comfort bike. With front and seat suspension, 700C wheels and 24 speeds, it was a lot of fun, and I was ready to ride plenty more miles.
But like most cyclists, I was always looking ahead to what my next bike would be. Well, as it turns out, it would not be a bike at all.
Trying Out Recumbent Bikes
Out of curiosity, I wanted to try a recumbent bike, so I went to Trailside Bikes in Floral City, which is about two hours from my house. They have a reputation for having most brands of recumbents, and are happy to let folks demo them.
I tried a number of recumbent bikes, including long and short wheelbase, and above and below seat steering. I found below-seat steering completely baffling, and I was only able to go about 20 feet before doing a slow motion fall onto grass. I called that: “The great under-seat steering experiment comes to an abrupt end.”
None of the recumbent bikes felt right for me, mostly because in the laid-back position I did not feel that I had full control of the steering. I am sure it is something you can get used to, but I was not willing to spend big bucks on a bike I was not in love with.
Trying Out Recumbent Trikes
Gary, the salesman at Trailside, then pointed to a recumbent trike and said, “Why don’t you try one of these?” I looked at the three-wheeled “bike” and said, “I don’t think I am ready for that, I am not that old yet.” I was kind of kidding, since I was 66. Well you may have guessed that I tried the trike, and then another, and then rented one for four hours. And I was hooked!
My ICE Adventure Full Suspension Recumbent Trike
I ended up purchasing an ICE Adventure Full Suspension 26” rear-wheel black beauty, which I call the Batmobile. A funny side note is that I didn’t realize until after I had bought the trike that both my bike and my trike were the Adventure models of their respective brands.
Well, a wonderful two years later on the trike, and I truly do love it. Sitting in that comfortable “lounge” seat is my happy place. I still ride my bike, but not nearly as often as the trike. They are two different experiences, and it is fun to switch vehicles at times.
The bike is more of a zoom around and get to where you’re going vehicle, and the trike is a lay-back-in-comfort and enjoy the view as the world glides by machine.
Well so much for my two and three wheel history – let’s get onto the subject of the trails of Central Florida. My two favorite trails are the Cross Seminole Trail and the West Orange Trail.
The Cross Seminole Trail
The Cross Seminole Trail is 23 miles of asphalt, and along the trail are hundreds of murals done by a Longwood local artist, Jeff Sonksen.
Jeff is on Facebook at Paint the Trail and has done numerous wall murals on buildings in Sanford. Jeff adds new murals every week and has stated that his goal is to have five miles of murals on the trail.
The Cross Seminole Trail has two tunnels and crosses the I-4 with a bike bridge. The trail also connects, via a few wide sidewalks, to the stunning 17 mile Spring to Spring Trail in Volusia County to the north, and connects with the Black Hammock Trail to the south. It appears that the Spring to Spring Trail and the Cross Seminole Trail are destined to be part of the C2C Trail (Coast to Coast Florida Trail). The C2C trail is in the works now. Many trails are being connected to form a 250 mile trail that connects the East Coast of Florida at Titusville to the West Coast of Florida at St. Petersburg.
The West Orange Trail
One of my favorite Central Florida trails is the West Orange Trail. It is 22 miles long, 14 feet wide, and is asphalt and concrete. The wonderful thing about this trail is the diversity of landscape. The trail meanders through wooded areas, old structures, a golf course, and a quaint new little village.
The West Orange Trail has four trailheads and five really nice outposts, with rest rooms and rental bikes available.
My favorite part of this trail is when it goes right down the middle island of the lovely town of Winter Garden Station. This is where you stop for lunch, an iced tea or coffee, or visit the brewery for a local made beer.
Safe and fun riding my friends,
Thanks to our Guest Writer!
Guest Writer George Felegy hails from Central Florida and enjoys riding his trike and his bike! We hope you get a chance to get out on the Central Florida trails. Look out for George in his Batmobile and say hi! Maggie and I have put these trails on our “Definite Bucket List”!
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