Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spring Break on the Ocala Mountain Bike Trails

Spring break is in full swing in Florida. As the crowds began to swarm around Orlando, we headed a bit north to Ocala. Santos Campground and bike trails, part of the Florida State Parks system, was our home for a few days. We have been interested in trying it out as it is located close to Doug's parents. I, however, wasn't too sure about the idea of mountain biking ...

Spring break 2007 ... are mountain bike trails supposed to be this sandy??
You see, my previous experience on this bike trail was during spring break in 2007. After getting lost and ending up on a very sandy horse trail for a mile or two, my husband and son lead me to the "expert" area ...
Adam assures me that this is OK ... even though the sign says "for experts only"!

This time around, Doug promised to take it easy on me! And I am happy to say that the years of work by the Ocala Mountain Bike Association has increased the quality of the trails and improved the signage.

The Santos Trailhead, a part of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, is adjacent to the campground, and it was apparent that the majority of campers were here to bike. And being spring break, these bikers were all ages. Fun to see kids enjoying the great outdoors!

Like skiing, I learned that there is a certain color trail marker that I need to follow ... and yellow was the color for me! No venturing onto the black diamond "experts only" area for me this time!

Doug took me out each day for short seven mile loop in order to get my confidence built up for in anticipation for a longer ride to the Land Bridge. During these rides I learned: 

...To make sure to look for sticks that move as you approach them as those can turn out to be a snake.

...That somehow, we will still get on the "expert" trail.

...That being the faster rider just means that Doug gets a LOT of time to "rest up" as he waits for me to "catch up".

...That our Origami folding bikes, while not as "cool" as all the fat tire mountain bikes, did well on the unpaved surface. Doug did have a few issues, but I just think that he just secretly wants a new bike!

...That a leisurely ride through the woods, even if it involves dodging rocks, sticks, and snakes, is FUN!

On Tuesday, we took advantage of a gorgeous day to ride out to the "Land Bridge". 

After we left the busy loop near the campground, we were able to have the trails almost all to ourselves ... only had to yield to a group of horseback riders.

The trail was a beautiful combination of live oak and pine forest, with occasional palms interspersed just to let you know that you are still in Florida!

Ten miles down the trail, the hum of traffic became louder. We had arrived on the land bridge that spans over Interstate 75.

Watching the traffic below us, we saw ... a not-so-good day for a fellow RVer. It is a welcome reminder to give thanks for fun times like today!

We enjoyed returning to Ocala for spring break and learning to enjoy mountain biking fun with bikers of all ages! 

And I am glad to be able to give this new type of RVenture a thumbs up!

Until next time ... try something new ... and enjoy the adventures in your life!
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    1. Thanks for following along! We love the Greenway mountain bike trails across Ocala and the easy access from the Santos trailhead. Fun for all ages!