Top 10 Paved Bike Trails in Florida

Thanks to the growing popularity of bicycling, Florida now offers some of the finest off-street, paved bike trails in America. For recreational cyclists who enjoy smooth, safe rides, with clean air in a natural environment, here is our list of the Top 10 Florida bike trails — listed geographically from north to south.

1. Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail-Trail

Although just outside Jacksonville, Florida, this is an enjoyable 14.5 mile rural trail and very well maintained (kudos to the Florida Department of Transportation and Jacksonville-Baldwin Trail volunteers). While there are some open areas at either end, most of the trail is tree-lined, with little or no traffic noise.

2. Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail

The trail stretches 16 miles from the City of Gainesville’s Boulware Spings Park through the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park and the Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area and ends in the small town of Hawthorne. Mostly wooded and quiet, one small section includes a few winding curves and mildly challenging hills (for Florida). A paved spur leads to a scenic Paynes Prairie overlook.

3. Town of Cedar Key

This is our top choice for small town bike rides. Listed on the National Historic Site Register, Cedar Key is what Key West was 75 years ago. For the laid-back traveler, this is the perfect stop – a step back into Old Florida. Bikes are a great way to get around.

4. Withlacoochee State Trail

This is a 46-mile paved rail trail that goes through small towns, the Withlacoochee State Forest and other natural areas. It offers a variety of recreational opportunities, with parks, river and lake views. Food and drink is available in the small towns along the trail. For a taste of “old Florida,” stop at the Istachatta General Store, south of Floral City.

5. West Orange Trail

Popular for all types of biking, the West Orange trail is a world-class rail trail through urban and suburban sections of Orange County, FL. Winter Garden is a prime example of how a well-maintained rail-trail can revitalize an “old Florida” downtown. Bike rentals are available at a Trail Outpost, and at this writing, two bike shops in Winter Garden. This trail is close to Disney and other area attractions.

6. General James A. Van Fleet State Trail

Totally rural and mostly within forest, the Van Fleet trail 29 miles with one curve and no hills. The rail-trail runs on an old Seaboard Air Line Railroad right-of-way through the Green Swamp, the headwater of Florida’s aquifer. While crossing three bridges over the headwaters of the Withlacoochee River, check for alligators and other wildlife.

7. Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail

An urban rail-trail with about 100,000 users each month, this popular 38 mile bikeway links some of Pinellas County’s finest parks, scenic coastal areas, and residential neighborhoods. The Pinellas Trail is a member of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.

8. Legacy Trail

The Legacy Trail runs from south Sarasota to Venice along an old Seaboard Air Line Railroad corridor. The bike trail passes through Oscar Scherer State Park, continuing on to Venice, where it connects near the historic Venice Train Station to Venetian Waterway Park. Popular with bikers, joggers, walkers, and rollerbladers, together these recreational trails have something for everyone – scenery, forest, waterways, parks, beaches and history.

9. Sanibel Island Bike Paths

Sanibel Island features 22 miles of paved trails, including the Rabbit Road Trail, Dixie Beach Road, Middle Gulf Cemetery Route, and Bailey Road-Dunes Circle. Cyclists also can ride Wildlife Drive, a 4.3-mile limestone road through the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Stop at the Sanibel Visitors Center and pick up a biking brochure. Trails lead to the lighthouse, beaches, restaurants, and shopping. Rental shops are popular. Sometimes there are more bicycles than cars plying the Sanibel Island.

10. Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

The American alligator is a symbol of Florida. On this ride, you literally bike with (and around) many of these awesome symbols. You’ll also see a variety of birds, turtles, and small fish. Located off the Tamiami Trail (US 41) near the Miccosukee Indian Reservation west of Miami, Shark Valley is a 14.5 mile paved loop. Bikes can be rented at the information center, or bring your own.

Picking just 10 wasn’t easy. Our criteria include paved surfaces, fresh air, unique scenery, and wildlife. Most trails listed are ideal for comfort bikes and cruisers, hybrids, recumbent bicycles, and tandems. Other than occasional road crossings, most avoid motor traffic, noise, and fumes. Bicycle repair shops and rentals have sprung up along many of Florida’s urban bike trails, along with restaurants catering to hungry bikers. Enjoy the ride.

Ford Release E-Bike Concept

The Frankfurt motor show takes place each year and attending motor companies often use the exhibition to showcase new releases and even concept models to delight the crowds. The Ford motor group are often behind many of the new releases at the show and this year has been no exception. Alongside the many additions and new models at the car giants stall in Frankfurt, a very different sized prototype was on show, with Ford’s latest concept, an “E-bike”.

The project has been designed to show how Ford as a company can translate their design language to a bike rather than a larger 4 wheeled vehicle. Sadly, Ford have stated that they do not have any plans to produce the bike but will continue to study and work on the concept as it may well help with future mobility issues.

The design of the bike was undertaken by a team of people led by Martin Smith who is the executive design director of Ford and ran in partnership with the company “Cyber-Wear”. The bike is designed to appeal to both male and female riders by the team behind many of Ford’s top lifestyle collection ranges. The frame is a trapezium profile and is constructed from both aluminium and carbon materials giving it a lightweight mass but with also an impressive strength. The wheel design features six spokes that give the appearance of them floating around the frames body,

As mentioned the bike is powered by electricity and utilises cutting edge technology to deliver a very minimalistic profile. The drive system is hidden within the workings of the front wheel and is powered by a lithium power cell that is stored within the bikes frame. The e-bike has been tested and is noted for being able to travel 85 kilometres (50 miles approx.) before requiring to be recharged.

Not only have Ford developed their concept bike using engineers and designers from the motor sector, they have also incorporated hardware from already leading cycling companies such as Shimano.

Electric bikes have become extremely popular and are overtaking traditional bicycles in some markets. With over 120million e-bikes in china alone you can certainly see how fast and rapidly the market is developing. Depending upon which country you live in you will find that laws differ when it comes to e-bikes; in some countries they are classed as just normal bicycles meaning they do not have very much legislation attached to them regarding road use.

4 Ways to Ensure You Get the Right Courier Van Insurance

Finding the right courier van insurance is relatively simple if you use the internet to your advantage. Gone are the days of walking down the high street to go from door to door to find which high street insurance company is offering the best deals.

Now search engines have taken over, with a simple search online you can find the right courier van insurance policy for your needs. Just fill out the application form and send it off and with hours you will find quotes in your mailbox.

Here are a few key points that you need to consider when finding the right insurance for your courier business:

  1. Ensure you buy the right insurance for your business. As courier bike insurance is very different from bike insurance even though you are using the same bike the coverage you require will not be the same.
  2. If you are carrying goods on behalf of your clients then you will need goods in transit insurance included with the policy. Having this insurance will ensure you are covered but there will be a financial limit to these goods and certain restrictions on what you can carry.
  3. Obtain more than one quote before picking your courier van insurance policy. By comparing the quotes you will see which insurers will give what type of coverage and of course the premiums involved. By using an online courier van insurance broker you can save time and money as they will do the work for you and find the best quote to suit your needs. Comparison websites will do same thing as brokers and are an ideal tool to search websites too.
  4. Understand the level of insurance in your policy. Minimum level is third party and this will be the cheapest level of insurance but this will not cover your van if you have caused the accident. The next level is Third party fire and theft which is basically the same as third party but covers fire damage as well. Finally you can get comprehensive insurance which covers all of the above and repair of your vehicle if an accident happens.

By using these key points above you will be prepared with the information required to find the right courier van insurance for your business. Just remember to use the search engines to your advantage and carefully compare all quotes for your courier insurance for your van before choosing the right policy for your business.