Monday, April 14, 2008

Biking in Orlando - West orange Trail

We rode parts of the West Orange Trail two different days for a total of 35 miles. Although it was not the most scenic ride we have ever done, it was really nice.

Most of the trail is a 'rails to trails' project (according to their website) which means that the trail should be about 14 feet wide with gentle slopes that a train can climb. For the most part we found that this was the case, even using an old converted train trestle to cross the Interstate! However, there were many sections that were clearly NOT railroad beds, especially the hardest section to pedal that involved two sharp bends, steep hills, and the crossing of a road that prevented the use of momentum to roll up the other side. That was really the only hard section.

There were a few long, slow climbs that made us sweat a bit, but most of the trip was pleasantly flat (this IS central Florida). Several of the miles went through quiet towns with sandy roads (the path was paved) and through tree-lined paths. A few miles went along the sides of roads, but almost all roads were of the sleepy type with very few cars. We probably crossed 30 or so roads on the path and only a couple required a complete stop to let a car pass. We SHOULD have stopped at every crossing, but it was easy to see that the way was clear and the other bikers were skipping them too.

There were a few other bikers on the trail. We encountered 60-yr-old couples, 20-something speeders and many 30- and 40-somethings getting exercise at our pace. It was rare to go more than 5 minutes without seeing another biker. There was also a big group of about 20 bikers traveling the other way.

The West 1/2 of the trail has most of the towns and stops along the trail. Most stations were about 2 miles apart. The trail also passes right through the middle of [winter town name]. The East 1/2 only has one station and just a few rest stops, and these were all at least 4 miles apart.

Both days ended in Winter Garden. We first wanted bar-b-que at one of the local restaurants, but we found that it was closed. My wife noticed the big group of 20 bikers we saw earlier at a restaurant called the Moon Cricket Grille.

We ate the fish appetizer, followed by a fish dinner. Very tasty! I also had a Guinness and a Blue Moon the first time. The first time we had the best waiter ever. He ran all over the restaurant and took care of our every need. We gave him a huge tip because he was so nice. The second time we were graced with a 'normal' waitress which seemed crappy by comparison. The restaurant had several coolers of many different beers, but I just stuck with the Guinness and Blue Moon on tap the first time. We had tea the second visit.

We encountered a big tortise our second day. I stopped to take a picture while my wife pedaled on. She was booking it because it took me a long time to catch up.

Overall it was a nice way to spend a few hours in Orlando. My wife and I agreed that this was better than the days we spent in the theme parks.

1 comment:

Jill said...


Looks like a lot of fun. We need to find something like that around here. The restaurant looks cool too.