People always give me the sideways dog face when I say I love Florida Mountain Biking.
This is followed by “mountain biking in Florida, are you kidding me?”
I’ve ridden some amazing trails across the US and Florida MTB trails are still some of my favorites. There are plenty of trails to choose from because of the diverse ecology throughout the state. That includes old phosphate mines that have been converted into some of the best trails in the area. Look no further than Alafia State Park and Santos. The mines have created elevation throughout those trails which can be like a Roller Coaster experience. Alafia State Park is my favorite and it keeps getting better.
Mountain Biking is a great way to get a workout without it being a “workout”. It’s the most fun I can have on a bike. It keeps the inner kid in me completely satisfied. Mountain biking allows me to ignore all the white noise of daily life while on the trail – I think it’s the closest I’ll get to meditation through maintaining focus on the trails while I maintain my line. This allows me to lose myself while flying through some beautiful Florida landscapes. Riding trails is a therapy for me and costs a lot less than seeing a shrink. I only say this to justify the cost of the bike!
I have been able to meet some interesting people while mountain biking – it’s an amazing community of people who are passionate about the sport with a lot of stories to tell. I’ve also strengthened some friendships through group rides. Riding with friends creates a camaraderie that extends beyond the trails. It’s something that I get to do with my best friend who I met in High School — that was when New Wave was alternative, and not heard at your local Publix.
Florida mountain biking boosts my self-confidence because it allows me to continually take chances and meet difficult challenges. You can test your skills as there are varying levels of difficulty on Florida Trails, from Green to Double Black Diamond. I love the reward of finishing a technical trail for the first time and being excited to go back and try another finger that I might have been reluctant to take the first time.
I now think about where I can mountain bike whenever I’m planning a trip. It’s like visiting an adult theme park that adds a lot to any vacation. This addiction can also lead to destination mountain biking as it did for me. I finally got to go Whistler in British Columbia last year, after watching many hours of MTB porn. It’s a trip that will always be with me and bring a smile to my face as most MTB adventures do.
The sport has grown immensely in our great state of Florida. We have 365 days of access! July and August can be tough for sure, but it’s not bad if you get up early enough. This might take some getting used to by Northerners, though in time you’ll get acclimated. There are trails in every part of the state. You can just about throw a rock and hit one. Which is perfect for a guy like me who has family around the state.
Get out there and get stoked! Are you wondering if Mountain Biking is for you but don’t want to make a financial commitment of buying a bike? No problem, there’s a lot of bike shops that rent mountain bikes so you can test the waters first. You can find all the information and resources you’ll need for Florida Mountain Biking on Stoked MTB.
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