Assessment and Opinion - Stranger in a Strange Land - CycleBlaze

Assessment and Opinion

    The trail is a work in progress. Signage or symbols are inconsistent or not present. A GPS router  or drawn map route is essential in certain areas. The “Florida’s Coast-to-Coast Trail Guide” is the best resource for travel and nearby sites on and off the trail. Sections of the trail are alongside busy roads; other parts are rural and tranquil. There are a variety of landscapes from, urban, suburban, corporate, ranch, forests, lakefront and I encountered swamp. The route you plan around the SR 50 Gap should be well prepped. My misadventure through the Green Swamp would have been fine if not for the snapped derailleur hanger. There are about 17 miles I didn’t complete between the Van Fleet Bay Lake Trailhead and Clermont.

   I realize using existing trails is the quickest way to get the trail completed, but some of the choices for new trails are bad. No one would want to ride alongside SR 50 if given a choice, unless efficiency is your goal. Some directional signs, circles with arrows, spray painted on the sidewalks or bike paths in a consistent color symbolizing the C2C would be helpful. I believe they are called Dan Henry Symbols.

  Florida has a thing about fencing, maybe it is a Sate law to prove ownership, I don’t know. Floridians also love “Posted No Trespassing” signs, sometimes they have a sheriff's name and cite some statute, every twenty feet. One gets the impression that Floridian’s are scared of each other and everyone else, but the Floridians I met were pretty nice.

   The beauty of the trail is the ever-changing landscapes and insight into evolving Florida, the State is being built out quickly. The "scraped earth" building style is disconcerting and some of the natural areas are getting hemmed in. Those undeveloped areas are beautiful and much different from my native northeast.

  Around 40 miles a day was my sweet spot, Betsy may not have been the best bike for this trip--she has a relaxed geometry and a seat that may be too wide for efficiency. The two-inch tires were perfect for the hard-packed, dirt roads of Withlacoochee State Forest. I carried some snacks, a repair kit, a FAK, a wind breaker, a powerbank to supplement the phone GPS app and extra water in the front basket. It worked well.

   This trip would not have been as pleasant without the physical and emotional support of my partner Cathy. The best SAG operator ever. Cathy rescued me twice. Joe, the Van Fleet Trail Angel, rescue-towed me. Pierre kept me moving, fed, and hydrated me on the Pinellas Trail. The men at Clermont Bicycle repaired and upgraded my ride. Betty opened her home to us and showered us with love and hospitality. I also want to thank the taxpayers of Volusia County for renting and maintaining the Port-O-San on Maytown Road.

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