May is National Bike Month

Riding a bike. For some, it brings back childhood memories, for others it’s a great way to unwind and be carefree. The bicycle gives us the opportunity rarely afforded by any another mode of transportation to be active participants in our environment and not merely a spectator. Susan B. Anthony called it the “freedom machine” because of the liberation it afforded women in the late 1800s and that sentiment is still valid today as it liberates all of us from the monotony of car culture. Whatever reason compels you to ride be it exercise, the environment, fun, one thing is certain, this simple machine will continue to shape lives for generations to come.

In honor of national bike month, we put together a list of great bicycle trails in the area. This list is by no means comprehensive. Find more trails throughout the state here.

Withlacoochee State Trail: 46 Miles

Situated between Tampa and Orlando, much of this paved trail follows the Withlacoochee River, which is designated paddling trail in its own right. The trail takes cyclists through the Withlacoochee State Forest and Croom Wildlife Management Area. With seven trailheads and a year-round campground at Silver Lake Recreation Area, it’s possible to make this a day or overnight trip.

Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail: 44.3 miles

One of Florida’s most popular and unique urban pathways, the Pinellas Trail stretches from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, connecting several county parks, coastal areas and communities. From the North you can visit Honeymoon Island, enjoy the breweries in the Dunedin or take in the culture in Tarpon Springs. From the South, you have the city of St. Petersburg at your fingertips.

Fort Desoto Island Park Trail: 6.5 Miles

The Fort Desoto Island Park Trail is a paved path running the entirety of the offshore key. From here cyclists will have access to beaches, fishing, picnic areas, camping and a ferry to Egmont Key. This trail is also known as the gateway to the Great Florida Birding Trail, so make sure to bring your binoculars and Sibley Guide!

Starkey Wilderness Trail: 5.8 Miles

This trail heads through one of the largest natural areas in Pasco County featuring pines, wetlands and palmetto scrub. There are shelters along the trail to provide respite from the heat. The area also provides opportunities for hiking, camping and birding.

Upper Tampa Bay Trail: 12.1 Miles

<a style="font-size: 15pt; font-family: georgia, palatino, serif; color: #008080; text-decoration: none;

” href=”” target=”_blank”>

Widely regarded as Tampa Bay’s best urban trail, the Upper Tampa Bay Trail provides a scenic escape from its congested surroundings. The trail takes you through urban and rural areas featuring native vegetation, Cypress trees and local eateries. There are also restrooms along the trail. It’s a great way to escape the hustle of bustle of Tampa.