The southern part of the Sunshine State has many public lands, parks and seashore, providing a considerable list of places where environmentally friendly riders can do some eco-biking. There is a wide variety of wildlife, wildflowers and other interesting species along the different eco-friendly biking trails. One can explore the biologically rich pinelands while enjoying all the sights and sounds of nature. Riders can enjoy the fresh air as they stand by the beautiful mountains.
Here you can find two of the most appealing options for the eco-aware bikers when it comes to doing some eco-biking in South Florida.
Cross Florida Greenway
Properly named the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, this eco-friendly biking trail extends 110 miles. The entire route is located in the northern part of South Florida and goes from the St. John's River to the Gulf of Mexico along the former Cross Florida Barge Canal.
Some of the Cross Florida Greenway trailheads provide parking, restrooms and drinkable water. Nevertheless, it is important for you to bring your own water in case you decide to start at a place with no access to drinkable water.
Along the Cross Florida Greenway, there are at least 244 miles of biking trails. 36 of those 244 miles are a segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail, which is a federally-designated, non-motorized, recreation trail with some of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in the entire country.
The biggest area of the Cross Florida Greenway is suitable for mountain biking, but you can also find flat or paved areas where more casual riding is possible. Many biking areas in the eastern sections of the Cross Florida Greenway have marks to identify the level of difficulty from “easy” to “most difficult”. This helps riders to know which trails they want to take according to their abilities.
Some other recreational options in the Cross Florida Greenway include hiking, horseback riding, hunting, camping, and fishing. There are also several nearby state parks, state forests, and rivers that may have yet more recreational options.
This unforgettable location is home of one of the most important symbols of Florida: The American alligator. On this trail, you can literally bike with -and around- many American alligators. You are also able to see a vast variety of birds, turtles, and small fish along the entire trail.
The Shark Valley Trail is located off the Tamiami Trail, near the Miccosukee Indian Reservation west of Miami. It is composed of a 14.5-mile paved loop where bikes can be rented at the information center. This trail is divided by a tram route and bikes must stop when the tram passes. It also has a 65-foot tall observation tower which offers a panoramic view of the landscape.
Shark Valley can be one of the most amazing eco-biking rides in America. It offers a huge variety of possible routes to take, leading south to the observation tower and on the western side is straight with a canal on the right. If you choose a path close to the canals, you will for sure see numerous alligators, birds and other local wildlife. Sometimes you just need to show off your biking skills when trying to avoid a sunbathing alligator.
The eastern side of the Shark Valley is, for the most part, curvy, and has no canals running alongside the trail, so there are usually fewer gators to be seen. Instead of the canal, you can find three small lakes near the end of the ride, which also offer a wonderful view while you are biking.
If you want to witness an outstanding view, you should ride your bike to the observation tower and watch the sunset. If you choose a clear night with a full moon you will not need a light to ride back to the trailhead. As the moonlight reflects off the river of grass like a mirror offering a natural spectacle, local bike clubs usually meet here for moonlight rides.
Some Important Recommendations for Riders
It is important for you to remember that the Everglade State is usually hot and sunny, that is why bringing water and sunlight protection –such as sunscreen, hats and sunglasses – is always important.
Also, you must keep in mind that some trails are bumpy and might be difficult to ride on your bike, keep in mind that you may want to use your car to pass those rough areas and move to a different path.
As we are talking about eco-biking, finding a place to grab a snack can be rather difficult. Bringing you own food to the parks is the best option. Just remember to carry a bag with you so you can keep your trash with you and throw it away later.
Last but not least, light and comfortable clothing are the way to go when it comes to practicing some eco-biking. Wearing closed-toe shoes can also make your trip more enjoyable.