It takes a little extra effort this time of year to get motivated to get outside and jump on the bike in August Florida heat. But once you do, the wind in your face is the reward. Since moving to the Tampa area almost 10 years ago, these are my five favorite places to ride.

#5: Fort Desoto
Just park down the street and ride right by the booth where the cars have to pay to enter! Be sure to bring a lock so you can enjoy some beach time, rent a kayak or just stay on your bike and ride because there are a lot of smooth paved trails throughout.

#4: Downtown St. Pete
I’m not talking about the Pinellas Trail (yet). I’m talking about the areas through Central Avenue over to the water near the new pier and up through the Old Northeast neighborhoods. This stretch has lots of personality and variety.

#3: Bayshore in Tampa
I like the Upper Tampa Bay Trail, but my favorite spot on the Hillsborough side to bike is along Bayshore. Great view of the Tampa skyline. I just wish they closed traffic more often. That’s the one big thing I miss about Boston. I loved biking along Memorial Drive in Cambridge so you could have the entire Boston skyline to your side. I’m sure you don’t like my idea if you live there, but if you have enough money to live along Bayshore, it’s your driver’s problem anyway.

#2: Clearwater Beach
I like to park my car in a free spot downtown Clearwater and ride over to the beach. You get to avoid traffic and the nightmare of trying to find parking. Sure that ride over the bridge is a workout, but it’s a great payoff once you get over to the beach.

#1: The Pinellas Trail
Kind of a no-brainer right? We’re so lucky to have this trail. It’s makes a giant loop around Pinellas County. The specific stretch I like to ride is from Clearwater up to the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. Lots of good views along the route, including Dunedin. There’s Lane’s Lemonade stand right on the trail itself as you come into Dunedin. Grab some Greek food once you get to Tarpon Springs and on your way back, Dunedin also has Strachan’s ice cream shop.

Written by Geno Knight

Hear more about the top five bike trails in the Tampa Bay area (:50) on the Experience Tampa Bay in 10 Minutes or Less podcast. We also introduce a new series of monthly street festivals called Second Fridays in Oldsmar (3:48) and how to experience sunset horse ride on the beach (6:31). 

Look at that. Even a story about exercise ends up revolving around food. Here are some of my favorite biking pics I’ve snapped along my rides mentioned above.

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Photos: G. Knight for BBGI

Produced by Micaela Figueroa