Sunday, April 4, 2010

Biking in Tampa Bay, Florida



When the paddle plans fall through and demo days aren't really demo days, it's time to give up on hitting the water with a paddle and hit it with some wheels.

Getting a bike around here is way easier than getting into a boat (sea kayak) you have to rent, especially on an Easter weekend. Paddling will come later. Bike shops abound and some of them are pretty sweet! OutSpoken Bicycles in Clearwater, Florida!
When you ask about bike trails in the area, most shops will point you to the Pinellas Trail and hand you one of the best guides of the entire trail that I've ever seen. It's a 34-mile trail that runs north and south of the western Tampa Bay area. It's a super convenient trail if you're using it for transportation, like heading to the quaint town of Dunedin (Dun-ee-din) for restos and the marina.

The bike trail was not very scenic on the (recommended by locals stretch) I did from Dunedin heading north. Very urban and often runs along busy roads and smelly stuff in parts. It's an old railway route with a level plane all along the path.

But . . . BINGO! You can ride down the long strip of hard-enough sandy beaches on the western coast of Tampa Bay in what is called the barrier islands on the Gulf of Mexico. They are the first line of defense for the mainland when the hurricanes slam through the Gulf. And this area is a mandatory evacuation zone!

More on riding on the beach later. It rocks!

The BaffinPaddler

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