When I decided it was time for me to bike my age, I decided to do it on the Withlacoochie Trail in Central Florida. Why, you might ask, would I want to bike my age anyway? Well, it’s a “guy” thing. I can’t golf my age like some of my golf buddies, and I doubt that I will live long enough to ever do so. Heck, I probably can’t bowl my age. But biking 72 miles is possible.
Florida has some nice rails to trails, mostly in the central part of the state. In the past, I have biked the West Orange Trail near Orlando; the Nature Coast Trail west of Gainesville; Pinellas Trail by Clearwater; Gainesville to Hawthorne Trail; and the VanFleet Trail at Polk City. My favorite is the Withlacoochie which I first biked with my son, Mike, as part of a 353 mile fund-raising adventure for the Bonita Assistance Office.
I drove to Inverness Sunday afternoon and checked into the Central Hotel, an old but clean hotel 20 yards from the trail. I was on my bike before the sun was up, and and back in my room 6 hours and 73 miles later. I headed South to the terminus 28 miles away; then returned North for about 36 miles, then back “home”. Along the way this trail is a linear state park that is a total of 46 miles long. There are lakes, parks, picnic tables, water fountains, rest rooms, farms, industry, and the largest Walmart Distribution Center I have ever seen.
Parts of the trail were deserted, but other parts had walkers, joggers, and bikers of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Lots of recumbent bikes. Trail users are a very friendly, helpful group of people. A volunteer took my picture and told me it would be posted on their website and newsletter. Made me feel like a celebrity.
Tomorrow it’s a short 40 mile ride before I load the bike on the car and return to Bonita Springs. Maybe it’s a good thing that we do not have a similar trail near home. I might not get any work done.