2020 Florida Gulf Coast Hub and Spoke

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  • Leader: Linda Graupner 613-825-8873
  • Co-leader: Tim Musclow 613-825-8873
  • Co-leader: Peter Wood 613-820-7618
  • Co-leader: Chris Hayes 613-762-1470
  • Trip Dates: Mon, 16 Nov 2020 -- Mon, 23 Nov 2020
  • Trip Classification: Intermediate
  • Trip Fee: $25 CAD
  • Trip Numbers: minimum 8 , maximum 24
  • Trip Registration Opens: Tue, 18 Feb 2020 5:00 PM (pacific time)
  • Registration Lottery Ends: Thu, 20 Feb 2020 5:00 PM (pacific time)
  • Trip Registration Closes: Thu, 15 Oct 2020 5:00 PM (pacific time)
Ride Description:

This 7-day hub and spoke is centred in St. Pete Beach on the sunny shores of the Gulf Coast of Florida. The area has a reputation for its sunshine, soft sand beaches and dedicated bike trails, including the famous Pinellas rail trail, an 80 km urban multi-use pathway. We will explore the Pinellas Trail and other dedicated bike paths such as the Suncoast Trail, Legacy Trail, Clam Bayou Trail, Pinellas Bayway Trail, Fort de Soto trail and more, with stops at some of the famous beaches and nature preserves. Sampling the local seafood and gelatos is a bonus! Some of our rides will start at St. Pete Beach while others will feature remote starts enabling us to branch out to see a bit of Sarasota and the north Tampa area.

Travel:

The nearest airports are Tampa International Airport, as well as the smaller Clearwater/St. Petersburg airport. You will need a rental car to carry you and your bike to the remote starts. Bike rentals are widely available, including at Dave’s World Cycle in Seminole https://www.davidsworld.com/about/bike-rental-pg320.htm

Please note that many roads in Florida are toll roads, including some of the bridges we will need to cross to get to the start of certain rides. There is no toll for bicycles.

You will be required to provide confirmation of out-of-country medical insurance for this trip.

Accommodation Reservations:

Each participant will be responsible for their own accommodation bookings. There is no group rate or block of rooms being held for this tour, but there are plenty of options and no shortage of rooms, as this is “off-season” in Florida. It is recommended that participants stay at or near the Gulf Beach Resort , where we will begin most of our rides. This is a small building with a pool, hot tub, BBQ’s and deck area with picnic tables. Each condo unit has 1 bedroom, 1.5 or 2 baths, full kitchen and living room with pull-out sofa bed. Another option is the Gulf Gate Resort which is right next door and offers similar 1-bedroom condos, as well as a number of 2-bedroom condos. The prices in these two condo buildings are different for each unit, and range from $100 to over $200.  Both resorts charge a one-time cleaning fee and require an upfront deposit of $400-450 when you make your reservation.  In case of cancellation, the deposit is non-refundable, hence you may wish to consider trip cancellation insurance.

Gulf Beach Resort  www.thegulfbeachresort.com  Note:  participants will be given a 5% preferred guest discount at this resort.  Mention Linda Graupner when making your reservation.

Gulf Gate Resort www.gulfgateresort.com

If you prefer a traditional hotel room, there are many different options all along St. Pete Beach. Camping at nearby Fort de Soto park or the St. Petersburg KOA campground is also an option.

Riding Conditions:

The daily rides will be approximately 50 km, with plenty of time to stop and enjoy historical sites, nature preserves and local seafood restaurants. For those who prefer to spend more time in the saddle, there will be longer ride options (65-100 km) most days. We will divide into 2 or 3 groups each day to accommodate different riding speeds and distances, with each group having a leader and a sweep.

Each ride will feature one of the region’s dedicated paved bike paths, and most will be “there and back” routes. We will also be riding on roads in order to get to these bike paths – these roads are typically quiet residential roads or busier roads with a paved bike shoulder.

The only hills in Florida are the bridges! Strong winds can present an additional challenge.

Weather:

November is Florida’s best kept secret. The summer heat has subsided and hurricane season is over, but the sun is still warm, and temperatures are perfect for cycling. Daily average highs are in the 20-25 C range, but there may be an occasional cold spell requiring long pants and jackets for cycling. Bring sunscreen!

Fee Includes:

The Cdn. $25 fee will cover the organizational costs, as well as provision of route maps and cue sheets, and supplies for our first happy hour.  The fee is non-refundable.

Fee Does Not Include:

Accommodation, meals, bike rental, park admission costs, or individual expenses of participants.

Itinerary:

Monday November 16, 2020

2 pm:  Short familiarization ride to the quaint Pass-a-Grille beach town, followed by 5:00 happy hour.  

Tuesday November 17 to Sunday November 22, 2020

The following is a tentative list of rides, with approximate distances. The order in which we do these rides, and our daily start times, will depend on weather and wind. Routes will be confirmed several weeks before the tour, and will be available on Ride with GPS, through the CCCTS route library. Written cue sheets will be available too.

  1. Gulf Beach Resort to Fort de Soto and back, using roads and the Fort de Soto bike path. Tour the fort and enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the park’s beautiful soft sand beaches. 50 km
  2. Pinellas Trail through Clearwater and Dunedin to Tarpon Springs. Tour the sponge docks and enjoy some fresh seafood. 65 km or 80 km with remote start; 120 km option for those wishing to start at Gulf Beach Resort.
  3. Gulf Beach Resort to St. Petersburg, following the Pinellas Bayway Trail, the Clam Bayou Trail and the Pinellas Trail. A longer ride option will head north out of St. Petersburg to Weedon Preserve on bike path and quiet roads. Return to St. Pete Beach via the Pinellas Trail and Treasure Island. 50 or 80 km
  4. Remote start Sarasota ride. We will offer one or both of 2 options: 1) the Legacy Trail from Sarasota to Venice (50 km) or 2) a ride starting in the Robinson Preserve, touring Anna Maria Island and riding along Longboat Key to Sarasota (75 km)
  5. Remote start Suncoast Trail. We will ride part of the long and straight Suncoast Trail, with optional rides into Starkey Wilderness Park and the Upper Tampa Bay Trail. 50 km or 80 km or 100 km
  6. Gulf Beach Resort to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Opportunity for a short walk at the Nature Preserve to look for alligators and shore birds, or to do a longer ride using the separated bike path along the Skyway Bridge to the old fishing pier. 40 km or 65 km

Mon. Nov. 23, 2020

The Hub and Spoke will end early afternoon after a morning ride.

Registration and Participant Selection:

Registration will be on the CCCTS website on the date shown. A computerized lottery system and waitlist will be utilized in the event that the ride is over-subscribed. A $25 CAD payment is required at the time of registration. The lottery signup will run for 2 days, after which time the leaders will review the results.

The selection process will consider the following criteria in evaluating candidates:

  • fitness and riding ability and experience required for the tour,
  • a history of demonstrating safe riding practices,
  • acceptable social behavior.

The leader may interview riders or others who know them to verify their suitability for the tour.

The leader will notify registrants of their selection status. If the ride is not filled to capacity, registration will continue until the closing dates shown. Registration Fee payments are considered non-refundable in the event of cancellation. Wait listed cyclists who don't make it to the Ride's "Go List" are eligible for refund of their registration fee unless they request removal from the wait list.