Yes—I’m a cyclist.
Unfortunately I’m not an elitist cyclist (not yet?). I can’t go 10 miles without taking a break nor keep a consistent 20 mph speed, but I love my roadie and paved trails.
And this past weekend my roadie and I took on 25.5 of trails in Central Florida over a few hours. (Avid cyclists are probably gawking over my distance and time and pondering over my turtle speed)
The weather was begging to be enjoyed—light breeze, blue skies, and temperatures in the high sixties. As much as BF Shoes wanted me as his personal cheerleader during an Ultimate tournament in Winter Haven, FL I wanted to fly solo among the trees. You can’t get that same feeling from jogging or riding in a convertible. I wanted the triumph of my butt hurting from a bike seat and my legs feeling sore.
I entered the Teco-Auburndale Trail from the busy Lake Myrtle Sports Park and had to pass many running shoes before it became just me and the power poles. After five miles, the Trail entered a tiny park where I saw many people busy unpacking bicycles from cars or getting helmets tightened. I was entering the Van Fleet Trail— almost 30 straight miles of paved biking bliss following a former railroad. I never had to stop and look both ways before continuing.
I underestimated the scenery I’d pass. I’ll admit the Teco section was regular and somewhat boring but contained a few areas where the trees grew thick enough to shield the pavement from the sun. But there was a huge difference in maintenance once my tires hit the Van Fleet area. Painted road markers displayed every tenth of a mile and small restrooms near the entrance catered to the many joggers and families on bikes.
The trees were thick enough here to make this a great place for biking even in summer. The Trail also contained many benches for resting as well as boardwalks shooting away from the trail so you could step over the swamp land and admire around. There were many peaceful fields and swamp land to see. At the 1.3 marker I glanced right to see… a ranch full of llamas! Further down the trees separated to reveal a windmill gently spinning over a field. In other areas thin, tree trunks rose from bright green mossy waters.
I stopped several times… make that MANY times. There were many times on the trail where it felt like I was alone. To further decrease my average miles per hour, I spent too long attempting to find Geocaches hidden among the branches. (I found two and gave up on another two). Eventually hunger forced me to u-turn at Van Fleet’s 7-mile marker. I wish I had packed more energy-rich food and water because the final four miles made my mind wander all over the Teco Trail.
Someday I plan to finish up the Van Fleet Trail and see what other cool sights there are around. I felt especially safe away from suburbia. These Trails are great for joggers and bike lovers—make your way over there and experience it as well.
Have you experienced the Teco-Auburndale or Van Fleet Trails before? Let me know what you think!