January-February 2017 Ride Schedule

January 1 - General James A. Van Fleet Trail ** Note changed departure time in honor of New Year's Day!**
  • Distance ~30 miles
  • Speed: 12-14 mph
  • Meeting Time: 8:45 AM (prompt departure at 9:00 AM)
  • Meeting Location: Polk City Trailhead, 7683 Berkley Road, Polk City, FL 33968 – GPS Coordinates N28⁰ 10.867 W081⁰ 49.662 (Going east on Interstate 4 (towards Orlando), take Exit 38/Polk City and follow Route 33 North to Polk City. The trailhead is at the intersection of Route 33 and Route 655/Berkley Road)
  • Ride Leader: Susie (813) 236-8119 - morning of the ride call or text Earl, (727) 415-8993
Named after General James A. Van Fleet, a distinguised combat commander in both World Wars and the Korean War, the Van Fleet Trail is considered the most remote trail in Florida. It runs 29.2 miles north from Polk City to Mabel (off Highway 50), with an additional, new section, the Teco Trail, 10 miles south to Auburndale. Because it is a former Seaboard railroad line, the path is straight and flat (i.e., no hills), with just one gentle curve. We will ride about 15 miles north in search of that one curve, and then turn around and return to our start. The majority of the trail runs through the Green Swamp, headwaters for four major rivers: the Hillsborough, Peace, Withlachoochee and the Oklawaha. You won't see many people. You will see cattle ranches, lush forests and wetlands. Depending upon the season of the year you could see wildflowers, birds, butterflies, alligators, turkey, deer, bobcats, gopher tortoises, rabbits, the rare Sherman's squirrel, snakes of every variety, and even alpaca on a farm near Polk City. Restrooms and water a mile from the start, and along the trail. We'll eat after the ride, at a restaurant along I-4 on our ways home.

January 8 - Oldsmar Discovery
  • Meeting Time: 8:00 AM (riders leave promptly at 8:15 AM)
  • Meeting Location: Shelter #5, Philippe Park, 2525 Philippe Parkway, Safety Harbor, FL 34695 (first parking lot/pavilion to the right of the park entrance)
  • Distance: 25 miles
  • Speed: Minimum 12, Maximum 16
  • Ride Leader: Earl (727) 415-8993
Beginning with an uphill, "warm-up" loop through Philippe Park we will ride around the northern-most shores of Tampa Bay to discover the hidden parks and trails of Oldsmar. Expect one bridge to climb, along with some spectacular waterfront views of Upper Tampa Bay. Oldsmar was named for R.E. Olds, an early automotive pioneer and founder of the REO Motor Car Company, and R.E. Olds Park on the shores of upper Tampa Bay is one of the first areas we'll pass through. Our journey next takes us to Mobbly Beach Park, then to Mobbly Bayou along the Oldsmar Trail, continuing with a loop through Hillsborough County's Upper Tampa Bay Park before we work our way back to our cars. Restrooms at the start and at Upper Tampa Bay Park, our midway point. We'll drive to breakfast after the ride.

January 15 - Tour de Forest Hills
  • Meeting Time: 8:00 AM (riders leave promptly at 8:15)
  • Meeting Location: Gino's Italian Restaurant, 10006 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa, 33612 (park behind the restaurant)
  • Distance: 20-24 miles
  • Speed: 12 -14 mph
  • Ride Leader: John (813) 613-6047
Come explore the winding streets and picturesque lakes of north Tampa and Forest Hills. The ride begins and ends at Gino's Italian Restaurant, with restroom stops available at the start and along the route. The route will take us through neighborhoods that surround the Babe Zaharis Golf Course, turn north and continue beyond the Tampa city limits, and then return through Forest Hills and "old" Carrollwood. Breakfast after the ride.

January 22 - ***New Ride***Starkey Park, aka Freda's Ride to see the Alligator
  • Meeting Time: 8:00 AM (riders leave promptly at 8:15)
  • Meeting Location: Havana Dreamers, 3104 Town Ave. Trinity Florida 34655 (corner of Starkey Blvd and Town Ave - park on the street or in the dirt lot across from the restaurant)
  • Distance: 25 miles
  • Speed: 12-14 mph
  • Ride Leaders: Freda, 847-714-6860, John and Susie
Beginning in one of Pasco County's sprawling subdivision-towns we'll take the Starkey Blvd. bike path, across the street from Havana Dreamers, and ride 4 miles north to the entrance of Starkey Park. We'll ride the park's 10-mile Wilderness Trail until we reach the Suncoast Bike Trail. There we turn north and go 1/2 mile to see a pond with a resident alligator. We return the same way we rode out, adding a one-mile loop in Starkey Park for a water and restroom stop. While in the park we may see white-tailed deer, fox squirrels, sandhill cranes, and numerous varieties of other birds. Restrooms are also available before the ride at Havana Dreamers where we'll enjoy coffee, pastries, breakfast and/or lunch after the ride.

January 29 - Safety Harbor to the Clearwater Ream Wilson East/West Trail
  • Meeting Time: 8:00 AM (riders leave promptly at 8:15 AM)
  • Meeting Location: Shelter #5, Philippe Park, 2525 Philippe Park, Safety Harbor 33625
  • Distance: 24 miles
  • Speed: 12-14 mph
  • Ride Leader: Les (813) 598-4944
We begin near the entrance to Philippe Park and ride next to the waters of Upper Tampa Bay, the Safety Harbor Spa and downtown Safety Harbor until we connect with the Clearwater Ream Wilson East/West Trail. On the Trail we'll enjoy the twists, turns and short "hills" of this scenic bicycle pathway as it winds through several of the area's prettiest parks, across a boardwalk into a wildlife sanctuary, down the middle of a Frisbee golf course and a jaunt past the Phillies Spring Training facility. Following the ride we'll have breakfast in downtown Safety Harbor.


February 5 - Pinellas Trail to Tarpon Springs and Fred Howard Beach
  • Meeting Time: 8:00 AM (leave promptly at 8:15 AM)
  • Meeting Location: Parking lot behind Dunedin Historical Museum/Old Train Depot, 349 Main Street, Dunedin 34698 - the lot is just beyond Douglas and Main Streets and the intersection with the Pinellas Trail (Note: there is a small fee for parking - $1.50 for 3 hours. Credit cars are accepted.)
  • Distance: 29 miles 
  • Speed: 12-16 mph
  • Ride Leader: Wayne Green (801) 520-0350
From the Old Train Depot in Dunedin we will ride north on the Pinellas Trail through Ozona, Palm Harbor and Crystal Beach to Tarpon Springs and then out to beautiful Fred Howard Park and Beach. The Pinellas Trail is considered by many to be Florida's premier trail, and this section its prettiest. The route is scenic and shady, with one pedestrian bridge over Alternate 19 to add a small challenge for your legs. We leave the trail in Tarpon Springs to ride past the sponge docks and Spring Bayou (where the traditional Epiphany cross is thrown). Then we're out over the causeway to the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico at Fred Howard Beach. We'll return to Dunedin via the trail and walk to breakfast at a bike-friendly cafĂ© after the ride. Restrooms at the train depot and at the beach.

February 12 - Davis Islands Ride

  • Meeting Time: 8:00 AM (prompt departure at 8:15 AM)
  • Meeting Location: Sandra Freedman Tennis Complex Parking Lot, 59 Columbia Drive, Tampa 33606 (next to Tampa General Hospital)
  • Distance: 14-16 miles
  • Speed: 10-12 mph
  • Ride Leader: Les (813) 598-4944 (call or text)
We'll tour waterfront homes, the airport, dog park and seaplane basin as we ride a circuitous route around and then up the middle of Davis Islands. We'll end up at a coffee shop where we can enjoy food and conversation. This is a good ride for new riders because the pace is relaxed, the roads are quiet and traffic is minimal. For those who want to add 10 miles to the ride, there will be a group riding down from Seminole Heights to the start. Call Les (813) 598-4944 if you want to join them.

February 19 - Downtown St. Pete to the SkyWay Bridge
  • Meeting Time: 8:00 AM (riders leave promptly at 8:15 AM)
  • Meeting Location: Parking lot next to/east of the North Shore Pool Dog Park and St Pete Softball field, junction of 7th Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL, 33701 (Vinoy Park, 701 Bayshore Dr NE, 33701, is on the southeastern side of this parking lot, North Shore Pool is to the north)
  • Distance: 29 miles
  • Speed: 12-14 mph
  • Ride Leader: Susie (813) 236-8119 or Earl's cell (727) 415-8993 morning of ride
Be forewarned: this is a long ride, but the views make it worth it! From just south of the Vinoy Hotel we'll ride through downtown St. Pete to pick up the beginning of the Pinellas Trail at Tropicana Field. Shortly after passing Gibbs High School we'll turn south onto the SkyWay Trail which winds south through multiple small parks, including the particularly scenic Clam Bayou section, to end near the southern end of Pinellas County at the BayWay. We'll pass under I-275 and then take to the streets until we reach Maximo Park and the bike trail heading out to the SkyWay bridge. This trail parallels I-275 and offers dramatic views of Tampa Bay and the SkyWay bridge, as well as having two short (one a bit steep) bridges to climb. Our turnaround point is the I-275 rest area just before the main SkyWay bridge span. It features restrooms and the memorial to the U.S.S. Blackthorn. We'll return to our start via Pinellas Point and its famous pink streets, then head north following the South Bay Bike route on 4th, 3rd and 1st Avenues S. We'll pass by USF's beautiful Bayboro Campus, then swing over for breakfast at a local downtown restaurant before returning to our cars.

February 26 - Weedon Island to St. Petersburg
  • Distance 26 miles
  • Speed: 12-14 mph
  • Meeting Time: 8:00 AM (prompt departure at 8:15 AM)
  • Meeting Location: Weedon Island Cultural and Natural History Center parking lot, 1800 Weedon Dr. NE, St. Petersburg 33702 (Gandy Blvd west, turn at San Martin and follow the signs)
  • Ride Leader: Don (813) 964-9193
The ride begins at the Weedon Island Cultural and Natural History Center at the end of Pinellas County's Weedon Island Park. We'll wend our way to downtown St. Petersburg via roads that feature the mansions of Snell Isle, Old Northeast and Coffee Pot Bayou. After cycling along the city's waterfront we'll circle the Dali Museum and the Mahaffey Theater complex as we ride into downtown St. Pete and our breakfast stop, midway through the ride. After breakfast we'll ride by the Pier and then return to Weedon Island. Restrooms and water are available at the kayak launch near the starting location if the museum is closed.

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