Have you ever biked in Tampa? I am in training for a 300 mile bike ride from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, D.C. in September. The official name of the ride is the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Tour. Several of our friends who completed the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike came up with this idea. Sounds like fun, right?
The average trip per day is about 50 miles, although there is a 70 mile day and a 35 mile day. I am hopeful that the sag wagon will be close by when/if I need it. Nevertheless, we are in training, attempting to put over 30 miles per day in the saddle and then repeat the following day. My butt is in training.
Our training motto is to find protected bike paths to ride on, skipping the thrill and danger of riding on the streets. Our favorite places for longer rides include the Courtney Campbell Causeway into Safety Harbor, and the Pinellas Trail from Dunedin past Tarpon Springs. I sought out a longer trail closer to home and remembered seeing a bike path along the base of the Selmon Expressway. Today, I explored that path and have two rants.
I left my home on Davis Island, went down the Bayshore through downtown, around the Aquarium, and picked up the path at Channel Drive at SR 60. I rode a beautiful section of 10 foot wide paved sidewalk, trimmed with historic Hyde Park-style street lights. Once I hit 22nd St., I found myself zigzagging through parking lots in an attempt to find the next section of the trail. The folks at the Circle K there have no idea there is a bike path in the neighborhood.
I circled to the south, backtracking to 19th Street and back up and around to SR 60. I saw signs for a bike path, although it went south along 19th/22nd St. and I wanted to head east. I rode up along the sidewalks in front of IKEA and was grateful for the sidewalk in this commercial area along SR 60.
Rant #2 refers to the additional need for sidewalks everywhere. If Tampa is indeed going to support biking around town, the minimal requirement will be sidewalks. In my development world, I used to find the requirement to add sidewalks along high traffic roads absurd and expensive. Today I learned just how valuable sidewalks are to our walk-ability index.
I finally found the next section of trail, at 34th Street. I dodged a few trash trucks that were coming to the refuse station there. This portion of the Selman Greenway, extends 1.7 miles. It is a beautiful trail, riding bayside along the marshy shore, an area that also serves as a bird sanctuary.
My dream is to ride from my home along the Greenway to 50th Street, and then along Palm River Road to the Thai WAT for the Sunday market festival. That dream will have to wait as the entire path will be completed sometime in the next few years.
That’s rant #3: hurry up and finish the paths!
Near Completion: Cass Street Green Spine. See plans for on street bike lanes that are protected from adjacent car/truck traffic.