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  1. #1
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    Tampa Riding?

    We are fleeing the snowy mountains of New Mexico, heading for Tampa. I normally ship my bike to a LBS, have them rebuild it and look for trails. Any suggestions? What to ride? I am an XC type with a Giant Anthem 0 or a Scott Scale hard tail. We will be there from the 27th to the 6th or so. I would really appreciate any help. Thanks.

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    I live in Tampa and believe it or not, there is some sweet trail systems in the surrounding area.

    If only riding one day............I highly suggest either Alafia and/or Boyette. Both places are in souteastern Hillsborough County. If riding alone, I would ride Alafia due to better marked trails, located within a state park, map found on site, etc. Alafia is the more technical of the two offering a variety of XC trails for all skill levels. You'll be impressed the technical riding available.

    Boyette offers over 20 miles of trails with a wide variety of trail difficulty. It's a beautiful preserve that offers plenty of chances to view nature,etc.........Make sure you take a map with you though or a tour guide.

    In Tampa, you'll find the Morris Bridge/Flatwoods/Trout Creek trail system. Plenty of trails traversing near the Hillsborough River.........sweet singletrack but lacks some of the more challenging trail features of the other two.

    Croom is another option............roughly 50 miles of XC trails with some moderate climbs (for Florida). Very scenic with plenty nature due to the fact you're riding all throughout a state forest.

    If wanting to ride more than once/twice, I might opt to head up to Ocala (90 minutes north) and ride Santos.........Often considered 'the place' for mountain bikers in the state. It has an area called the Vortex which offers difficult trails with an array of freeride feartures.

    I'm available to ride on Mondays and Fridays so if you're looking for someone to show you around, let me know.

    Jason

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    Don't forget Loyce Harpe, fka Carter Rd, in south Lakeland. Depending on where you'll be coming from in Tampa, the driving time is about the same as Alafia. Like Boyette, you may need a guide.
    Worked at Trek/Fisher dealer 2008-2013. Only a little biased.

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    Thanks for bringing that up, Loyce Harpe park is another great choice. If your an advanced rider, it's a worthwhile visit........many of the trails have you riding small peninsulas on ridges about 20 -30 ft. above the water with many of the trails riding right on the waters edge.........(don't fall !!) ......many respectable sized gators call the place home !!

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    I guess I wont be bored

    Oh wow, more than I would have thought. I guess living in the rockies it is easy to turn a blind eye to what is out there. Anyone have a bike shop that they love? I pretty seriously like my bikes and hopefully can find a bike guy there that will like them just as much. I need to let the timing flesh out but I may be able to get a Monday group ride together if anyone is game, otherwise we will be there all weekend and into the next week. Thanks a bunch!

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    There is an array of bicycle shops around the area.

    AJ's
    Bike Works
    University Bike Center
    Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium

    AJ's is possibly regarded as the one that caters to mountain bikers more so than any of the others.

    Keep us posted as your timing details become more clear.

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    AJ's it is, just called and they were more than helpful. Right near where our place is. Bike will be up and running Saturday morning and we shall be there until the 4th of Jan. I will probably ride in the morning 4 or 5 days, it has been cold here for what seems like ever. 21F right now. -2 this morning, the skiing is great but not so good for the bike.

  8. #8
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    Its a bit chilly here at the moment. It was 38 when I left for work this morning. Thats a far cry from -2, but hey, its Florida.
    Worked at Trek/Fisher dealer 2008-2013. Only a little biased.

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    mtbjk
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    Greg Saturday the 29 at Boyette normal ride time is 9:00 am. normal ride is 30 plus miles of everything at the park and some things get doubled up for more milage lots of great twisty single track and lots of great rollers and drops there are over 30 miles of trail and has lots to offer. though Alifia is also a very good spot to ride allso. but my personal favorite is Boyette for there is a lot more milage and lots to offer. Just need to bring a full camel back and maybe a couple of powerbars or gel . I drive a white dodge dakota and ride a blue IronHorse hollowpoint and my other ride partners ride specialized fsr's and could possibly be a few others. sounds like a good group ride day. hope to see ya and you can pm me if you are interested.
    Jan R
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    That is cold, but we haven't reached 38 for a couple of months so I will be the fool in shorts and hawaiian shirt. As the kids would say, "That's swimmin' weather!" So.. I am putting in my order now for unseasonable hot, is that OK with you all? I have earned it.

  11. #11
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    AJs is a terrific shop. Check out www.swampclub.org for the local MTB club activity calender. There is also a "shoutbox" in their forums that anyone can post to. Use that to let us know when and where you plan to ride and some people might show up to ride with you.
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  12. #12
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    If you are going to be in Tampa check out Loyce harpe park and Alafia state park. have a loohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZquT9gyLu8k.

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    If you only get to ride once or twice

    Choose Alafia, or Santos. The other parks metioned have some good qualities, but Santos is probably the best park in the state. If you are used to riding in the rockies and are looking for technical cross country than you will be disappointed by Carter, Croom or Boyette. Santos has over 50 miles of trails from beginner to expert black diamond. The trails span two abandoned limestone quaries and offers sweeping flowing trails. Alafia is awesome but it is very very small and gets crowded. The other parks are mostly double track jeep/fireroad with some great elements thrown in here and there. I am not trying to "dis" the other parks but with your limited time do yourself a favor and ride something that makes Florida a decent MTB destination.

    BTW I will be riding both of those parks over the holidays. PM me and I can tour guide you.

  15. #15
    Its got what plants crave
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    Ride Santos, all others pale in comparison.

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    Eat some locally grown Honey Bell oranges after your ride they are the best, I spent two weeks there last January didn't ride but there was lots to do and the weather was perfect.

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    While I agree Santos is probably the best due to the variety of offerings but to say all else pales in comparison.....that would be a stretch.

    While Alafia is small, there's a respectable amount of variety/ difficulty to choose from.

    Don't forget, the vast majority of Santos 50+ miles is just flowing single track thru the pines offering little challenges.

    All trails running in/out of the two rock quarry areas are certainly advanced offering up a challenge to most.

    The Vortex rim trail is top notch..........clean that trail and take a bow......you're in elite company !!

  18. #18
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    Agreed. Now if he had said Reddick...

    Santos definitely is a must see, but honestly, you can see everything worth seeing in the course of a nice morning ride. If you've got plenty of days, some of the other local spots are awesome. Yes, even Loyce/Carter. .... If you can do everything there without clippin out, you're a badass in my book. It is almost entirely singletrack, and the difficulty varies from pretty easy to pretty hard.
    Worked at Trek/Fisher dealer 2008-2013. Only a little biased.

  19. #19
    Its got what plants crave
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    Quote Originally Posted by scubastud
    While I agree Santos is probably the best due to the variety of offerings but to say all else pales in comparison.....that would be a stretch.

    While Alafia is small, there's a respectable amount of variety/ difficulty to choose from.

    Don't forget, the vast majority of Santos 50+ miles is just flowing single track thru the pines offering little challenges.

    All trails running in/out of the two rock quarry areas are certainly advanced offering up a challenge to most.

    The Vortex rim trail is top notch..........clean that trail and take a bow......you're in elite company !!

    There's plenty of red trail to ride, and unlike Reddick or other XC destinations there's actually technical jumps and freeride stuff there.. something for everybody.


    Also, I can ride everything on the Vortex rim trail aside from one of the skinnies that's basically a couple of 2x4s nailed together


    I may be a bit biased tho.. I helped IMBA build several parts of that trail. The section that goes over that big rock pile towards the end was designed by myself and a couple of my friends

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim311
    There's plenty of red trail to ride, and unlike Reddick or other XC destinations there's actually technical jumps and freeride stuff there.. something for everybody.
    True, true. If OP had said he was into jumping and freeridey stuff, then no question, Santos is where its at. (now, RIP Toe) But hey, the dude's bikes are serious XC machines, so...
    Worked at Trek/Fisher dealer 2008-2013. Only a little biased.

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    What a pain in the ass to send a bike. The airline wants almost as much as another passenger and the shipping companies want $200 bucks. I think I am just going to tuck it under my arm and try to carry it on. That should go over well. If I have to buy it a seat, so be it, it will be safer with me anyway, the wife and kids can sit somewhere else. I want to sit next to my bike! Are your guys kids bouncing off the walls? I think they need more sugar!! I personally like the threat of Santa not coming or worse COAL! peace.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim311
    There's plenty of red trail to ride, and unlike Reddick or other XC destinations there's actually technical jumps and freeride stuff there.. something for everybody.
    Jim, you still riding reddick?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim311
    Ride Santos, all others pale in comparison.
    With what we have left Santos and Alafia are the best rides in FL. There is no freeride in Alafia, but the drops and technical riding at these two parks are awesome. (haven't tried Markham yet)
    "'I refuse to prove that I exist,' says god, 'for proof denies faith and without faith I am nothing'"

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  23. #23
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    Thats BS....I brought my bike with me to Australia for $85 in 99'...The airline industry is so F'ed!!!

  24. #24
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    You could always rent a bike at AJ's. Depending on how many days you are going to ride it might end up being cheaper
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live. --Mark Twain

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    Last time I rented a bike it fell apart in the middle of the desert, 20 miles from the nearest anything, bottom bracket cracked and no more pedaling. I was so excited about getting to ride a Scalpel, but when I got there my reservation turned into this Wal-Martesque thing, you get the picture. I think it will be worth it, bringing my bike, I just cant wait to ride. It snowed another 6 inches last night and it is 12 degrees right now. The skiing is out of this world, but I would much rather be on the bike.

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    Do you guys think it's a good idea to go out to Alafia for my first ride (ever) by myself? Nobody I know has a bike nice enough to go or wants to or is in town or some other problem. I just got bike all ready to ride and I wanna! I live in Tampa as well (USF). Oh and on the subject of the bike shops...I had a bad experience with University Bicycles in case u wanna stay away from there. At least for repairs.

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    Go!

    Bring a tube and some water, you'll be fine. I ride by myself quite a bit way out in the mountains and find it really enjoyable, no testosterone contests, my own pace, that is when I get the most out of my ride. Have fun.

  28. #28
    mtbjk
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    holyhangernade you could be allright at alifia cause there are allways plenty of people out there on the weekends from about 8 am to 3 or 4 pm and you would not have a problem finding someone to show you around. I will be out there in the morning about 9 am or so.

    And now to greg if you rent a bike at aj's they do rent higher end bikes and quality bikes and see alot of giants that come out of there for rentals it would not be a disapointment for you to rent one for a couple of days cause they have a nice rental line.

    that being said road boyette today and the trails are in great shape and lots of excellant single track road 30 miles and actually did not ride everything. my opinion best to offer single track close proximity to tampa and second best in the state next to santos and maybe better in ways due to the way the quads are layed out cause it is turn after turn after turn and still have some good technical stuff to offer also and did get to check out some new trail layout today doing a hikeabike and it is going to get even better more stuff that looks like alifia and carter still needs alot of work and is just in the ruff cut stage right now but is all marked. swamp is going to need some help and I do plan on giveing some hours after what I got to see today . will be worth your while to make the journey in from the trail head but be prepared to do 20 to 30 if rideing all the techy stuff because you will have to ride a good ways in to get to it but will be worth it, as for alifia nice techy stuff but not the milage that boyette offers but a very well layed out trail system just not enough cross country style trails.

    greg hope this helps you out in whatever you decide either renting or bringing your on ride but like I said you will get a quality bike from aj's and would save you some money on shipping if it is that expensive. and dont forget to bring your pedals and shoes so you can be comfy on the rental if you go that route and make sure you dont forget the helmet and the camelback cause you will need it here.

    Jan R
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  29. #29
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    Well, I really appreciate all the help. We had a great time in Tampa, mostly really warm until the last few days and the riding was great.
    I really liked riding without the mountains, super techy fun with out climbing half of the day. We rode at Alafia two days including a Saturday morning with tons of people around. Hotter than hell (at least for a mountain guy) really fun to see all the different bikes and meet some great people. Rode one of the cold days with no one there, that was fun too, I liked how the trails were laid out like a ski resort, made it easy to ride with the family and everyone have fun. Checked out Santos one day and enjoyed that as well.
    Really cant wait to come back. We now have taken possession of Grandma and Grandpa's house in Pinnelas Park and we will be back often. AJ's is a rockin' bike shop, in all my travels they are about the friendliest around. Great rental bikes, my gal wanted to take hers home. I hope you guys can support them and keep them goin'! Thanks again I will make sure to ride with a bunch of you locals next time I am in town. Happy New Year!

  30. #30
    Praise Bob
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    Second that opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by Holyhandgrenade
    Oh and on the subject of the bike shops...I had a bad experience with University Bicycles in case u wanna stay away from there. At least for repairs.
    No kidding! That place totally sucks. I had the wost LBS experience ever out there. They totally trashed my wife's MotoLite and cost us a few hundered $$$ to get it fixed somewhere else. I am totally amazed about how little they know about bike repairs for such a big shop

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    Glad I stayed away from that one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scubastud
    I live in Tampa and believe it or not, there is some sweet trail systems in the surrounding area.

    If only riding one day............I highly suggest either Alafia and/or Boyette. Both places are in souteastern Hillsborough County. If riding alone, I would ride Alafia due to better marked trails, located within a state park, map found on site, etc. Alafia is the more technical of the two offering a variety of XC trails for all skill levels. You'll be impressed the technical riding available.

    Boyette offers over 20 miles of trails with a wide variety of trail difficulty. It's a beautiful preserve that offers plenty of chances to view nature,etc.........Make sure you take a map with you though or a tour guide.

    In Tampa, you'll find the Morris Bridge/Flatwoods/Trout Creek trail system. Plenty of trails traversing near the Hillsborough River.........sweet singletrack but lacks some of the more challenging trail features of the other two.

    Croom is another option............roughly 50 miles of XC trails with some moderate climbs (for Florida). Very scenic with plenty nature due to the fact you're riding all throughout a state forest.

    If wanting to ride more than once/twice, I might opt to head up to Ocala (90 minutes north) and ride Santos.........Often considered 'the place' for mountain bikers in the state. It has an area called the Vortex which offers difficult trails with an array of freeride feartures.

    I'm available to ride on Mondays and Fridays so if you're looking for someone to show you around, let me know.

    Jason

    Don't mean to bring back a dead thread, but I just moved down to the tampa area. I just bought my bike a few months ago and I ride everyday. Its great. These trails fully accessable throughout the day or just during certain hours? And do I have to worry about getting eaten by animals lol

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by JdMoN
    Don't mean to bring back a dead thread, but I just moved down to the tampa area. I just bought my bike a few months ago and I ride everyday. Its great. These trails fully accessable throughout the day or just during certain hours? And do I have to worry about getting eaten by animals lol
    Yes, and Yes. Gators. Stay out of the water
    Worked at Trek/Fisher dealer 2008-2013. Only a little biased.

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    water??

    Don't just stay out of the water, keep your eyes open in general. We saw a 9 footer right off the entrance to the rabbit ears area in alafia last week, he was chilling in the bushes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eclark7
    Don't just stay out of the water, keep your eyes open in general. We saw a 9 footer right off the entrance to the rabbit ears area in alafia last week, he was chilling in the bushes.
    Umm...I dont remember much water around the rabbit ears. Is there a nest around there?

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    jgarcia,
    the gator was right where you go left to hit roller coaster/ moonscape or right towards the ears. The water is down in the gully on the right, the gator was 20 feet away from water and about 10 feet above it. He got all tangled in vines and growth when he headed back down.

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    Thanks for the info. I guess I have to meet up with some of you guys to ride these areas. Im coming off of SR56 off I75. Shouldn't be too big of a ride to get to these trail systems. You said AJ's caters towards MB more? Where exactly are they located?

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    AJs is on Bloomingdale in Brandon, within 20 minutes of Boyette and Alafia. I ride sunday mornings and whenever else I manage to make time, I would be glad to show ytou around alafia. you can ride there without a guide, as the signage is out there and the maps are good.

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    I'm just getting back into riding after a few years. Anyone want to meet up in Alafia shout.

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    I'll be out of town this weekend otherwise I would.

    I've heard that Alafia and Boyette are pretty wet and muddy in the low spots.
    Tampa Florida

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    traildawg

    hey traildawg,
    we ride every sunday someplace, 70% at Alafia probably, also I ride some weekdays if I have no work. What is your riding schedule like?

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