Is this a great trail town or what?

Day 1 of our great Florida coast-to-coast trail ride saw us navigating the swamps, palmetto scrubs and backwoods of rural Volusia County. Day 2 was quite a different cycling experience: A ride through the heart of urban Orange County.

More cars. Check. More concrete. Check. But an enjoyable ride nonetheless, thanks to the West Orange and South Lake trails.

I mean, seriously, do we look worried?

If you’ve been to Apopka you know that it has its problems. But trail designers seemed to go to great lengths to show off the city’s best face.

Plus they provided a very impressive brick-and-steel bike-ped bridge to get us up and over the worst of Apopka traffic.

I won’t lie to you. A lot of the West Orange and South Lake trails follow streets and roads. But there are also long stretches of tree canopy and green tunnels.

And listen, if you take this ride and still can’t get it touch with your inner child, you need to seek help.

Orange County in particular does a wonderful job of providing trail stations where you can rest, refresh and remember why you are on the trail to begin with.

And don’t be in such a hurry. There are always interesting and wonderful things to engage the imagination along the way.

Urbanism 101: If they build a trail, someone is going to put town houses on it. It’s a no brainer.

Here’s something funny. On Day 1, riding through rural areas, we saw lots of “No trespassing” signs…as though the locals hated and feared trail users. On the South Orange Trail homes sidled right up to the trail and nobody seems to be in a sweat about it. Can it be that a trail is a good neighbor?

Winter Garden is a community that has reinvented itself at a Great Trail Town. They put the trail right down the middle of the downtown drag and used tactical urbanism to slow the cars. People flock there to ride, stroll, dine, see and be seen.

And co-exist.

And of course, a great trail town demands a great brewery.

What? You say a honkin’ great turnpike is in the way. No, it’s not.

No bike? no problem.

Basically a trail is a just way to get from point A to point B with the least fuss, muss or bother. It is the journey and there is a destination.

In this case our destination was Lake Minneola.

And the destination was definitely worth the journey.

But never mind all that. Day 3 is dawning, and we’re pressing on with a great Florida trail ride from Inverness to Brooksville.

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