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Rentals?


Original Post
Randy Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 0

My son and I will be in the Tampa/St. Pete area in two weeks and would like to ride some trails but -- we need to know where to rent bikes, helmets, etc. We're looking for an adventurous trail with some hills, but we're noobs.

Suggestions?

RLS

Randy Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 0

We are now renting from City Bike in Tampa. Still looking for a trail, however.

We will be coming from St. Petersburg and through Tampa to pick up the bikes. Wondering if anyone recommends Balm Boyette Scrub Preserve or Flatwoods Wilderness Park as a single-day somewhat hilly adventure for us?

We are looking for a 3-4-5 hour trail ride. We are both physically fit.

Thanks,
RLS

Paul Harris · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 0

Here's how I would suggest for the best half day mountain bike experience in the Tampa area (some may say the best in all of Florida).
Change your plan and line up rentals from AJ's Bikes and Boards in Valrico (I have no affiliation with them other than being a customer). The guys who work there ride Balm Boyette and Alafia River State Park all the time. I'm sure if you ask for pointers they will help you find your way.

If you are looking for excellent cross country with plenty of thrills, you should definitly do Balm Boyette. The layout of the trails is very tricky for first-timers, that's why I suggest talking to locals before you head in. There's a 2-mile sandy road from the parking area to the start of trails. The system is made up of lots of short trails carved into the former phosphate strip mining site. Some like Ridgeline are continuous steep descents that can be very high speed. Very easy to get a couple of hours in there.

Then.... I would load up and head over to Alafia. This is a top-notch facility. All trailheads start very near the parking lot, so you can come back to the car to refuel, use the excellent restroom facilities, etc.

If coming from St. Pete, you'll probably want to take the Gandy Bridge to Tampa and hop on the Crosstown Express to shoot out toward Brandon. It's a toll-by-plate road, so make sure to look for your toll bill in the mail when you get home.

Paul Harris · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 0

btw, all of these trails I've just mentioned are in excellent condition right now. This is imo the best time of the year for riding, and the local bike club goes above and beyond to keep these trails in awesome condition.

Flatwoods is nice but there is almost zero elevation change there.

Randy Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 0

Thank you, Mr. Harris!

I stand to lose a $20 deposit, but it may very well be worth it. I will check with AJ's on availability.

Much appreciated!
RLS

Paul Harris · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 0

Good luck, and be safe. There are advanced trails at both locations that should be avoided by beginners.
Enjoy!

Randy Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 0

Unfortunately, it appears AJ's is quite a ways from where we are staying (it would take us an hour to get to them from our hotel on the boardwalk) and they are about 30% more expensive for rentals. Their knowledge would have been awesome to have, but I will have to take a pass on renting from them this time.

If our vacation was all about mountain biking, I would go to them, but this is just a few hours out of a week. Who knows? this short foray into this sport may ignite a new passion for us and change future vacations.

I appreciate your suggestions, though, and will definitely bring your notes about the trails with me!

If there is anyone else in the Tampa area who can add to Paul's trail information, I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks again!

RLS

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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