Blue Highway Bicycle

The term blue highway refers to the back roads on a road map, the kinds of roads made for bicycling. However, instead of riding on those blue highways, we took a leisurely bike ride through the neighborhood to downtown and then to Tuscawilla Park before riding to Blue Highway, a pizzeria, for dinner.

IMG_7889On a rare cool September evening, we sat outside on the porch and ordered the Micanopy Tossed Salad and the week’s pizza special…five cheeses, chicken, bacon…delicious!

This wasn’t a first trip to Blue Highway, but it was by far the best. Good food paired with a bike ride makes for a relaxing way to spend an evening after work. With the cooler fall weather around the corner, we may be frequent visitors to the porch at Blue Highway.

Fresh Food + Exercise = Good Start to the Weekend

Found a new way to start the weekend on the right foot. Instead of getting up and fixing a big breakfast (delicious, but lots of extra calories), take a bike ride to the farmer’s market.

Enjoy an apple and a muffin, turnover, or other baked good for breakfast. (The bike ride will burn off those calories.)IMG_2111

Buy fresh fruits and vegetables for the week.IMG_2110

Add some shrimp hauled in from the Gulf the previous night and your weekend’s off to a good start.

A bike ride is a sure way to make the routine special.

Old Cutler Biathlon

Sunday’s adventure included participating in the Old Cutler Biathlon in Miami. The event started at Cocoplum Circle where the Commodore Bike Trail meets the Old Cutler Trail. We rode along the trail shaded by the fichus trees and banyans that line the road. The numerous roots which ripple the road insured our pace would be leisurely.

Two miles later we parked our bikes and began the walking phase of the biathlon at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden where we strolled through the grounds taking pictures and enjoying the Chapungu exhibit of more than 80 stone sculptures displayed throughout the grounds.

After walking the garden for over an hour we managed to finish the final leg of the adventure riding back to Cocoplum ready for the drive back to Ocala. No competition, no awards, no hurried pace, my kind of biathlon. Maybe next time we’ll tackle the Old Cutler Tri stopping at Matheson Hammock Park for a quick dip!

Run, Ride, Work Out on the Pinellas Trail

After my bike accident last summer on the Mission Trail in San Antonio, John thought I’d given up on bike riding. With skinned arms and legs, the inability to ride back to the rental company, and a bruise that lasted over six months he was confident my days on a bike had come to an end. So when I agreed to add a bike ride to our 13 in 13 list, John was pleasantly surprised. The ride on the Pinellas Trail convinced me I’ve still got a few good years of riding left

Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Clearwater, Largo, and St. Petersburg a few of the destinations on the Pinellas Trail and while I’m not a true bike enthusiast, I discovered I still enjoy riding short distances if there’s a purpose in reaching a certain destination. Visiting local eating establishments is my favorite reason for biking, but the Pinellas Trail passes through historic train stations, county parks, beaches, ball parks and even breweries.

 

We spent time riding and exploring the portion of the trail running from Downtown Dunedin to North Clearwater on Saturday stopping at the Green Market and the old train depot. The Toronto Blue Jays minor league baseball stadium is located right on the trail only a couple of miles from downtown. Unfortunately, no game was scheduled. A little further down the trail we watched the boats departing the harbor. We even rode past the Scientology resort I’d heard about…but we didn’t see John Travolta or Tom Cruise. What better way to end the ride than with a couple of scoops of ice cream at Strachan’s Homemade Ice Cream!

The maps on the Pinellas Trail website clearly label restaurants, restrooms, water fountains and points of interest from Tarpon Springs to Downtown St. Pete. On future trips I look forward to visiting the following places:

  • In North Largo – The Belleview Biltmore Resort, opened in 1897, the largest continually occupied wooden structure in the world
  • In South Largo – an Amish Country Store
  • In North Seminole – Florida Botanical Gardens and Gulf Coast Art Center
  • In Downtown St. Pete – The Chihuly Museum, the Dali Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of History, as well as the St. Petersburg Pier, and Tropicana Field

 

And the news from Florida’s legislative session is good when it comes to additional bike trails. Legislation passed allocating money to link trails from Pinellas County on the Gulf to Titusville on the Atlantic. Good news for those who enjoy exercising on the trails, but also good news for the communities that will benefit from the runners, cyclists, and walkers who use them. Even good news for people like me who enjoy riding to eating establishments. If they build it…I’ll come.