Choose Your Own Adventure

The rides we do around Tallahassee generally follow one of three directions, North, East, or South of town. All can be done as “door to door” rides, no shuttle required, and each direction offers distinct pleasure to pain opportunities. Here, I’ll sketch it out for you…

North- After some breakneck commuting maneuvers, you find yourself at the entrance to the Live Oak Connector, a rough and gnarly singletrack
that crosses a deep ravine. Numerous log-overs and some steeps make this 2 mile urban trail a challenge. A quick jog up to Timberlane Road and you are on your way to Lake Overstreet via the Computer Tutors trail. From here on out, it is fast red clay, with some of the most flowing singletrack in town. Lake Jackson (mostly dry now) offers more wandering miles, and the oft-ignored Redbug trail presents a rooty smackdown option late in the ride.

Round trip: 16-25 miles depending on your choice of linkage.

East- It all starts and ends on the Fern Trail going east. From my house it is about 5 miles to this grand dame of a trail that snakes through urban commercial district and some neighborhoods. Used mostly as a “getting somewhere” trail, it doesn’t get it’s due as a destination trail, but believe me it is fun. Also in the area is the Pine Beetle, or Albertson’s trail. This path leads to Tom Brown Park, where most sanctioned mtb events take place. The terrain is steep and rugged by local comparisons and the line is difficult to follow. Numerous options and washed out areas guarantee group separation, but it all spills out in the same place. It is called the Magnolia Trail, but I have never, ever heard any rider use it’s proper name.
From here there are great options, singletrack it on the Cadillac trail for tight, technical singletrack on hard pack dirt, or blast out the multi-use Lafayette Heritage Trail to get somewhere fast. On big ride days we take it across the tracks to the Pedrick Greenway trails (Coup de Ville trail) and cross a housing development to the Miccosukee Greenway trails. At this point mileage is moot so we usually go to the magical, peaceful Miccosukee Land Co-op for a tour of the enlightened.

Round Trip mileage: 35-50 depending on route selection.

South- Depart through Frenchtown, the historically black neighborhoods, and cross two major Universities (Go ‘Noles, Strike ’em Rattlers!) and pick up the Rails to Trails project, the St. Marks Trail to teleport directly to the National Forest. Paper Cup trail and Granddaddy Munson await as well as some newly developed trails that are almost ready for public consumption. If you are angry with yourself and need to be punished, then you go deep into the sandy heart of the forest where cold water sinkholes are hiding, as well as some fairly ungroomed terrain, but that is another post.

Round trip mileage: 18-25 depending on route selection.

West- West lies the forest again, the airport, and the Cascade lakes region. Plenty of riding can be found this way, but no “designated mtb trail” so I’m skipping it.

So, as training for the Monster Loop, I think it is time to start tackling two out of three of these options on occasion. South, then North. North, then East, it doesn’t matter.

Choose your own adventure!


18 Responses to Choose Your Own Adventure

  1. Just today I was riding some dirt roads that will allow you to get from Fern to Munson with less than 3 miles of pavement. It also includes a bit of singletrack, through Indian Head Park, though it also trespasses through Blairstone Forest neighborhood. Do you have any friends there who we can say we’re guests of? It also goes right by the Southwood Publix, for an easy lunch stop.

    This ride is much in the spirit of the Tour de Gainesville, an annual weekend before Easter romp through the ghetto trails of the aforementioned town, though only with real trails. Call it the Tour de Tally and you may get a bunch of yahoos to come up from Hogtowne.

  2. Ok. Everyone send me $100.00 and I’ll get right on it.

    I’m mainly interested in doing it as an epic soul ride in tribute to my local trails and regular riding troop (unless I drive them all off with my summer insanity.) S’quatch brought it to my attention that I inadvertently pitched it as an “event”. That would be awesome, but I’m going to shoot it in a more clandestine way the first time, then I could talk about doing it public. Of course, I’m not in control of what happens ultimately.

    I’d love to do the Hogtowne ride, I have to say it sounds very cool.

  3. Notso, my experience of those Blairstone folks is that they just figure if you’re in there you’re connected in some way.

    I’d like to know the route you’re referencing. I was just imagining getting to Blairstone and taking Blairstone to Park and jumping on the Fern trail around there, but the more dirt the better.

  4. My aqua-colored beach cruiser is waiting for you! You can take the route from Lahaina’s to the Coaster Saloon and then finish off at the Lung Cancer Lounge (aka “Champs”). Cruiser Crawl San Diego 2006!

  5. I’m trying to stay in the spirit of the Monster Loop and its architect.

    However, keeping up with the spirit of its architect is a bit tricky these days.

    I’m not sure San Diego knows what it’s in for.

  6. Come back to Bike Church sometime and I’ll show ya how to finish the loop around the Western half and connect your S trails to your N trails via powerline/Oclocknee River Forest. You should also check out the “English Property” and tree farm segment that connects your E and S trails with almost ZERO pavement.
    You’re not the first to tie it all into ONE big loop all the way around, We’ve plotted out a route about 60-70 miles with less than 4-5 miles of pavement. I’m game.

  7. I’ve ridden the tree farm/ English property connection before, but it has been years. As for Bike Church, I’m more of a bike agnostic these days.

  8. One big loop all the way around and less than 70 miles?

    I’d love to see a map of that. Do any exist?

    When you did it was there a Pedrick area or a Miccosukee Greenway involved?

  9. Who are “Brenda,” “Newman,” and “Cliff”? Careful, man! There’s a war on. Loose lips and all that. Anyway, I’m loving the route brainstorming.

    Pseudonymously yours.

  10. libbyllama, I like the way you think! Forget the dirt, just crawl the pubs!

    We’ll do a pub crawl here in late Oct/Nov after the conclusion of training season and kickoff of beer season.

  11. While the English property is really cool, I’m trying to do a loop with minimal trespassing (at least trespassing where it’s obvious that I’m trespassing). It’s actually really easy to avoid the English property, there are plenty of ways around it.