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  1. #1
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    Central Florida trails

    I'm going to be in the lakeland area in mid February. Is that trail on Carter road worth bringing my mountain bike for? I normally ride in middle tn. We travel to Florida to see family a couple of times a year.

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    Carter(aka Loyce E Harpe Park) is a fantastic trail system. Definitely bring the bike. They just hosted a 6 hour race yesterday and the trails are in perfect shape.

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    I have never been to carter road or whatever the name was changed to, loyce harpe park or something of that sort. Anyhow, Santos in ocala, as well alafia and balm boyette near Tampa/Brandon are pretty awesome trail systems. Alafia has some really nice flowy trails with some cool features in them. There was a whole bunch of new wooden trail features built at Santos in the vortex section, and they are pretty awesome for sure. The trail system is in good shape there for sure now, and the new features were designed by Ray, the same one who built the indoor mountain bike parks. The work he and the others that helped him do was pretty incredible to say the least. There are like 70 total miles of trails ranging from easier faster xc style trails to rock gardens and drops and ledges. Here's a video from some of the new features.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSso...e_gdata_player

    It really isn't a far drive to either Santos or alafia from the lakeland area as well.

    Sorry I can't help with carter road however, but I hear the "fingers" trails there are really good and pretty tough.

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    Re: Central Florida trails

    I'll likely only have time to hit Carter road once. Driving in on a Friday, wedding on a Saturday, disney on Tuesday, and a day without kids one day, and then driving back on Thursday.


    What's the likelihood of seeing a gator out there?

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    Definitely bring your bike! Carter Road is one of my favorite trails. I even brag about it while riding up here in the NC mountains (where I live now). It is a very unique trail that I miss living near.

    I have seen a gator at Carter practically every time I have been out there (all sizes). Whether it is in the water, or on the trail. It is winter so it might be a little less likely, but if it is a good sunny day you have a pretty good chance of seeing one catching some rays. They will be moving pretty slowly in the cold.

    I don't know if you question spawned from excitement or concern, but as long as you use common sense you won't have a problem with them.

    ~Kirby

    PS: If you are planning on riding on Wed, it will be "Wacky Wed", which means the trail direction is reversed. I personally prefer to ride regular (clockwise). Maybe somebody can chime in on whether it is a big deal to ride regular on these days (There are definitely some spots that would not be good to come up on a rider going the opposite way, but it should not be a problem as long as it is not busy)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 722ish View Post
    I have never been to carter road or whatever the name was changed to, loyce harpe park or something of that sort. Anyhow, Santos in ocala, as well alafia and balm boyette near Tampa/Brandon are pretty awesome trail systems. Alafia has some really nice flowy trails with some cool features in them. There was a whole bunch of new wooden trail features built at Santos in the vortex section, and they are pretty awesome for sure. The trail system is in good shape there for sure now, and the new features were designed by Ray, the same one who built the indoor mountain bike parks. The work he and the others that helped him do was pretty incredible to say the least. There are like 70 total miles of trails ranging from easier faster xc style trails to rock gardens and drops and ledges. Here's a video from some of the new features.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSso...e_gdata_player

    It really isn't a far drive to either Santos or alafia from the lakeland area as well.

    Sorry I can't help with carter road however, but I hear the "fingers" trails there are really good and pretty tough.

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    Wow. Is that back behind the 20 ft'er.

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    Re: Central Florida trails

    Quote Originally Posted by OffCamber View Post
    Wow. Is that back behind the 20 ft'er.
    Yes, the three ladder drops or whatever you'd call them back there have now become this. There is supposedly a corkscrew type wooden structure being built soon as well.


    And to the op, I didn't mean to make it sound as if I'd go to the others instead of carter park, just that if you found you didn't like carter park there were other relatively nearby alternatives that are pretty good and worthy of a visit and dragging a bike around. Good excuse to make another visit with the bike then.
    10 Gary Fisher Cobia - 13 Trek Madone 5.2 - 14 Trek Fuel Ex8

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    Re: Central Florida trails

    Quote Originally Posted by 722ish View Post
    Yes, the three ladder drops or whatever you'd call them back there have now become this. There is supposedly a corkscrew type wooden structure being built soon as well.


    And to the op, I didn't mean to make it sound as if I'd go to the others instead of carter park, just that if you found you didn't like carter park there were other relatively nearby alternatives that are pretty good and worthy of a visit and dragging a bike around. Good excuse to make another visit with the bike then.
    Np. I've always thought about renting one from that bike shop near Carter road. It's tough to find room in the car with 3 kids. I don't have a bike rack for the van because I'd rarely use it. I normally throw my bike in the back of my truck.

    The weather has been too crazy for trail riding in middle tn lately. The freeze thaw cycle is being brutal, so I've just been riding the road a lot. Cold all week and then up to 50 on Fridays and Saturdays means the trails are muddy messes.

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  9. #9
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    +1 for Carter Rd. I just raced in the 6hr last weekend and its a fun fast flowy trail system with some nice tech sections.

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    Can anybody recommend a LBS to rent from in the Lakeland area? Coming down that way the last week of Feb. from VT. Looking forward to some warm weather and time in the saddle.

  11. #11
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    Re: Central Florida trails

    Quote Originally Posted by RSPvideo View Post
    Can anybody recommend a LBS to rent from in the Lakeland area? Coming down that way the last week of Feb. from VT. Looking forward to some warm weather and time in the saddle.
    There's one on south Florida avenue that looked nice the last time I was in town. http://www.bentscycling.com/

    I can't speak to how good their service is. They let me test ride a couple of bikes around the neighborhood.

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    Cool, thanks! I'll give them a call.

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    I will agree with 722. Alafia & Santos are not extremely far from Lakeland. Those are very good options as well (If you are willing to make a little longer drive). Their benefits are that there is more trail system than Carter, which has just over a 9 mile loop.

    Alafia River State Park is very well marked & has some trails by water as well (Just incase you a really wanting to see a gator)

    Santos, near Ocala, has 70+ miles of trail with all different difficulties & terrain. It too is well marked. No chances of seeing any gators there though

    You will be happy with any of those three that you choose!

  14. #14
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    Bents is a good shop I bought my sons bike there, but check out Leroys for your rental they have a beautiful fleet of Scott, Orbea, and Niner's I believe. They are a lot closer to Carter. Leroy is one good dude he literally let me borrow a pair ofhis personal shoes to ride in when I went to carter in my crocs and forgot my riding shoes. He is just plain out awesome.

    BTW- Carter road is a great place to ride probably about a 10-12 mile loop all told. I love Santos, and Alafia too but I have just as much or more fun at Carter its just smaller the other places. Enjoy!!!

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    XC - awesome, thanks for the recommendations. Will definitely check out Leroy's. Nothing better than a LBS with a passionate owner.

  16. #16
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    Re: Central Florida trails

    I'm likely riding on Wednesday. My mother in law said there is another trail called circle b. Is that greenway or real trail?

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  17. #17
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    Re: Central Florida trails

    It's only 15 minutes further to go to alafia as opposed to Carter road. Might go there instead.

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    I don't think anyone has mentioned Boyette in this thread but that is right by Alafia as well.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by drwx View Post
    I'll likely only have time to hit Carter road once. Driving in on a Friday, wedding on a Saturday, disney on Tuesday, and a day without kids one day, and then driving back on Thursday.


    What's the likelihood of seeing a gator out there?

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    Stephen
    Definitely worth bringing your bike and making the trip, Carter road is a great ride and probably much different than what you've ridden in TN.

    Gator you say, they're out there...


  20. #20
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    Will probably see more hogs than gators

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    If you want to see Gators and a ton of other wildlife, with or without the bike, stop by Circle B. It is a preserve with a lot of hiking trails.

  22. #22
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    Re: Central Florida trails

    Quote Originally Posted by pwomble View Post
    If you want to see Gators and a ton of other wildlife, with or without the bike, stop by Circle B. It is a preserve with a lot of hiking trails.
    Are those greenway/paved trails? Or mountain bike trails?

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  23. #23
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    Wondering about trails in the Ocala area for mid next week. A buddy and I were originally planning on making out way to FATS mid-next week, but apparently the recent ice storm was particularly devastating, so we are looking for alternatives.

    We are driving down from the Cincinnati area, so want to make sure that our destination results in some ridable trails and warmer weather. Noted that there is some rain in the forecast for the Ocala area, but I am assuming that you have some sandy soils that recover pretty quickly. Am I correct in this assumption, or is it just wishful thinking on my part?
    All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best...William of Ockham

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpick915 View Post
    Wondering about trails in the Ocala area for mid next week. A buddy and I were originally planning on making out way to FATS mid-next week, but apparently the recent ice storm was particularly devastating, so we are looking for alternatives.

    We are driving down from the Cincinnati area, so want to make sure that our destination results in some ridable trails and warmer weather. Noted that there is some rain in the forecast for the Ocala area, but I am assuming that you have some sandy soils that recover pretty quickly. Am I correct in this assumption, or is it just wishful thinking on my part?
    You should be fine. I've been wanting to head up for a couple nights also. The only rain in sight is next Thur. and that will probably help out more that anything.

    Also, I'm not trying to steer ya from Santos but I understand the drive. I do it from South Fl. all the time. You might want to check out Chattanooga, Birmingham, and Anniston area. Some really good trails. I've never ridden Coldwater Mountain in Anniston but have heard nothing but good thing. Might want to check the conditions there also. Just a thought.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by drwx View Post
    Are those greenway/paved trails? Or mountain bike trails?

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    They are not mountain bike trails. Most are rock/crushed shell or dirt/grass primarily for people to walk but plenty of room for bikes.

    Circle B Bar Reserve

    Circle B Bar Reserve ? Northwestern Polk County, south of Lakeland

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