This post has been in the pipeline for weeks. The Pinellas bike trail was my get-acquainted ride, and I am more and more pleased with Florida’s bike trails since I first drafted this.
One of the best urban bike trails I’ve ever seen is the 34-mile stretch between downtown St. Petersburg, FL and Tarpon Springs. It is built on an old railroad right-of-way. Welcoming signage marks one’s progress through Seminole, Largo, Clearwater, and Palm Harbor. See the online map at http://www.pinellascounty.org/trailgd/PDF/all-in-one-map.pdf
The egret seemed comfortable in his habitat.
To the best of my knowledge, the gorillas were not native to Florida.
The paved twelve-foot-wide path includes a separate lane for pedestrians. Bridges carry cyclists over the busiest multi-lane cross streets. Stop signs stand where the path crosses quiet neighborhood streets. In a remarkable display of driver etiquette, absent everywhere else in Florida, autos stop for cyclists at these intersections and wave the bicycles across.
Along the bike path are several county and city parks complete with rest rooms, picnic tables, and parking areas.
Of course, local gourmet delicacies are available when you pass through town.
Over several days I parked at different points along the trail so I could ride out an hour and then return. Little by little, the leg muscles quit their bitchin’ and the butt quit its shrieking.
I was feeling good, topping out at over 30 miles one day. Good, that is, until I met up with my pal, Harry, from years gone by. Harry is one day older than I. He told me that he once started from the Tarpon Springs terminus and did the entire trail to St Petersburg and back in one Olympic effort. I was even more deflated when he told me he rolled the whole sixty-eight miles on roller skates.
On my first New Year’s Day in California, I joined the Mount Tamalpais Interpretive Association in their annual hike to the top of Mt. Tam and commenced a tradition I repeated most years since.
It seemed like a sign from the Universe to send me an opportunity to open 2012 with a vigorous 25-mile bike ride on a glorious New Year’s Day with temps in the 70s.