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Cycling in Florida?(20 posts)

Cycling in Florida?trout_bum
Jun 12, 2003 1:40 PM
Recently the opportunity has presented itself to relocate from NYC to Florida-Hollywood-Ft. Lauderdale area. Economically it would be a good move for me, however my inner cyclist is reluctant to move to a completely flat state. What is the riding/local racing scene like in Florida? Besides a nice long season, what does Florida offer the recreational/racing cyclist?
I just picture riding past strip malls, no shade, into a steaming hot headwind and I'm not liking the idea! (no offense to FL riders)
My bro lives there...eschelon
Jun 12, 2003 3:25 PM
He says it is so hot and humid during the afternoon that he can't and won't ride his bike unless it is early morning or dusk...otherwise no go...I wouldn't believe him...but another friend of mine says all the golf courses are dead during the aftnoon-day time because of the heat and most people golf only in the morning.
re: Cycling in Florida?Picshooter
Jun 12, 2003 3:45 PM
I live on the other side. It's a different lifestyle. A slower pace compared to the east coast.Flat is relative because you will always have that steamy headwind. A lot of group rides are either early am or pm. I sometimes will ride nto the day. It's hot but still bearable.
We also get several months when a lot of people are on trainers or freezing outside.
As far as racing goes there are some very fast riders here. I have heard more than once about always keeping the cranks turning because of the lack of hills compared to where they moved from. Florida also has plenty of quiet backroads.
re: Cycling in Florida?TUT2222
Jun 12, 2003 5:02 PM
I'm on the west coast also. Yes, it's hot and humid here. I melt, and my wife can't get enough of the heat, so it sort of depends on how you yourself can put up with it. I generally ride around 6 at night or weekend mornings to avoid the worst of it. Try this link to see if it tells you anything about what you are looking for.
re: Cycling in Florida?african
Jun 12, 2003 7:15 PM
I am on the other coast and do my riding in the St Pete area. Yes flat, yes hot. I know there is lots of riding in West Palm and Miami, so I am sure there is a lot of riding in Ft Lauderdale. And I am sure you would love to kick butt up any bridge you come accross. There are hills inland that you can ride. You will get about 2 months of really cold weather (for Florida that is).

The heat, you get used to it. I ride at 5pm till 7:30 about 50 miles in the heat, hard fast rides or from 7am up. Do the move, LIVE HARD, see you in Florida.
re: Cycling in Florida?amex420
Jun 12, 2003 8:25 PM
I live in Hollywood myself. There are quite a few club rides on the weekend mornings in different areas. Sometimes the rides go out west toward the Everglades where there is nothing around. Other times the rides go east on the beach. The heat is bad, but as long as you drink, you will be fine. The wind, well it's a unique training oppurtunity. There is also a velodrome very close to the area. If you are into mountain biking, there are a few trail systems around as well. If you have any other questions, you can shoot me an email at amex420andrew at bellsouth dot net.
re: Cycling in Florida?moo2
Jun 13, 2003 8:49 AM

I live in Fort Lauderdale. Do you ride with a club? I ride with the South Broward Wheelers most of the time, and sometimes go on the Big Wheel weeknight rides. Maybe we can ride together sometime.
re: Cycling in Florida?amex420
Jun 13, 2003 9:05 AM
No, I don't ride with a club. I actually just got my roadbike in Dec. I've got about 2800 miles on it so far. Most of my rides are solo. I actually race mtb, so most of my weekend riding is on the trails. I work at night and do most of my riding during the day. I'd be glad to hook up for a ride. Send an email this way and we can try to work something out.
re: Cycling in Florida?rkalik
Jun 12, 2003 8:54 PM
Last year, I moved to NYC from Hollywood/FTL/ I did the reverse move. I still ride in Florida during the winter months, but it's not as scenic in Florida as it is up north. The heat is a relative issue, I can't stand the winter here - but the heat in Florida doesn't bother me. And yes, the golf courses are quiet in the summer afternoons.

Go to FLA, you'll love it and cycle plenty!
re: Cycling in Florida?scary slow
Jun 13, 2003 4:36 AM
I live in Orlando and also travel relatively often down to Ft Lauderdale for work. There is plenty of cycling here in Florida with lots of back roads and little traffic. You may have to travel a bit to get to those back roads in Lauderdale. The race scene is alive and well here, although we were joking the other night at the local practice crit that local racers are like an underground cult. I am heading to Lauderdale on Sunday and and plan to ride the Velodrome on Sunday and race the practice crit on Tuesday.
re: Cycling in Florida?tarwheel
Jun 13, 2003 4:47 AM
My wife is from Pensacola and we visit there most summers. I take my bike and do a lot of cycling along the coast from Pensacola Beach to Navarre and Fort Pickens. It's best to ride in the early morning -- less traffic and heat. Lots of thunderstorms in Florida, and I have been caught in them several times.

I also used to live in south Georgia -- Valdosta (about 10 miles north of the FL line) and Savannah, which is on the coast with weather not much different than FL. We loved living in south Georgia and adapted to the weather. What you begin to realize is that summer is your limiting season, like winter is up north. You go for rides early in the morning or late afternoon, and take it easy when it's really hot and muggy. The upside is that you can cycle year-round, with the best weather in fall, winter and spring. You really have no excuse not to ride right through the winter months. As far as hills, the central and northern part of Florida has lots of rolling terrain -- not mountainous or hilly, but not flat either. That's my favorite part of Florida and fortunately the least developed and crowded.
Ft. Lauderdale Racing/Training Linkchaquefois
Jun 13, 2003 6:52 AM
re: Cycling in Florida?netso
Jun 13, 2003 10:40 AM
I originally came from the Manahattan area (Harlem). I have found Florida a great bicycling State. The Clermont, Mt. Dora area has hills like Sugarloaf and Thrill hill which are quite difficult. I also am able to ride year round. I bicycle primarily in the morning averaging about 50 miles per day. I Luv Florida!
How is Sugarloaf these days?russw19
Jun 13, 2003 2:02 PM
Last time I rode that hill was in the 93 State Road Race Championships. I know that area was growing at a really fast rate. Can you still ride that area or is it residential now? Last time I was there, I think there were about 4 or 5 houses on the roads on the hill and the descent to the lake on the other side... but they were clearing a bunch of lots and I know they stopped doing the road race there for a while. Is that race back there? And can you still ride there or is there a lot of residential traffic?

What part of the state is Sugarloaf located?rkalik
Jun 13, 2003 6:25 PM
So where in FLA is Sugarloaf located?
Sugarloaf Mountain InfoDaveLobster
Jun 13, 2003 6:53 PM
Sugarloaf Mountain, which is the second highest point in Florida, is located north of Clermont, or more precisely between Ferndale and Astatula. The road is simply "Sugarloaf Mountain Road." You get to it from SR 561, which is what we locals consider the going up the "front side." If you go that way, you finish up on SR 561A. I hope to be riding in that area myself this Sunday.

Russ, as far as races go, I don't know if any USCF races that go over Sugarloaf. However, the longer Tri's out of Clermont hit it. There are also a number of centuries that hit Sugarloaf, the most well established of which is the "Horrible Hundred" put on by the Florida Freewheelers in November. Hope to see you out there sometime. -Dave
my memory of that race and my jersey from it!russw19
Jun 14, 2003 1:53 AM
Dave, I have done the Horrible Hundred before. It's a fun but painful ride!

I think 1993 was the last time the Florida Road Championships went over that course. It's a shame because it really was a tough course. I think we did 10 laps over Sugarloaf. I don't know the roads (I actually still have the course map somewhere, but I don't know where) but we started on the long mile and a half rolling hill road on the back side of Sugarloaf. Turned right and went up a long gradual hill that curved off towards the right. That was were the feedzone was. Crested that hill and went downhill for a while hitting towards the upper 40's and made a right on a two lane road that lead up to the the right hand turn right up the steep (front?) side of Sugarloaf. I assume the road before the turn up the Loaf was 561? Anyways, what I remember most was that Sugarloaf goes up and then almost flattens out (falsely!) before turning right and going up some more. Then you turn left, climb some more and then get that really fast downhill that was (at the time) a two lane road that made a sharp 90 degree right hand turn directly at the bottom of the hill onto that rolling hill road that the start finish line was on. From the top of that hill I think (memory is hazy cuz I was always suffering at the top of the hill) that you looked out to a really big lake.

Anyways, I did that race in 92 and 93 and I won it in 93. I got dropped 4 laps in a row going up Sugarloaf but I refused to quit. I felt like turd but kept catching the back of the pack on the feedzone hill. The last lap I was up with the first 10 guys to get to the top so I just hammered as hard as I could down that last descent. I knew if I hit the sharp turn at the bottom alone I could go thru it at 40mph while the pack would be going thru it at more like 25. I almost ran myself right off the road, and I was almost caught at the line. If the finish would have been 5 meters further up the road, it would have been a photo finish for me and the guy who came in 2nd.

Here's a fun photo of all I got left from that race.... and the thing is I can never wear it because it's way too small now. It's a large jersey and I was wearing an XL then at 6% body fat.. I am like 50 lbs heavier than my racing days now.

Orlando / ClermontIan
Jun 14, 2003 12:51 PM
If you made turns going up Sugarloaf, you must have been going up the back side and then down the front. The front is 1/2 mile long, dead straight and tops out at a 13% grade. I have never heard anyone describe that side as a "false flat". I really would not want to go down the front in a pack though. I have hit 53 mph on that section before.

For you other guys from central FL, where do you ride? I do the Windermere rides on Wed, Sat and Sun. And usually ride in Lake Mary from Out-spoke'n on Fri mornings. Maybe we have seen each other before.

And for you the out-of-towners wanting more info, here is a website And for you locals, there are also some maps on there.

What part of the state is Sugarloaf located?netso
Jun 16, 2003 3:58 AM
Just North of Orlando in the Mt.Dora-Clermont area.
How is Sugarloaf these days?netso
Jun 16, 2003 3:56 AM
It is still on the Mt. Dora Bike Festival rides. It still is a great ride!