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Ride Info

Ride Overview

Florida's Suncoast and Nature Coast Winter Defrost Tour

  • Arrival
  • 1/19/2025
  • Departure
  • 2/1/2025
  • Ride Director
  • Roy Brubaker
  • Ride Co-Director
  • Kristi Brubaker
  • Driver
  • Glenn Rudolph
  • Starting Location
  • Tampa, FL
  • Finishing Location
  • Tampa, FL
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $2400
  • Deposit
  • $1000
  • Number of Riders
  • 24 (min. 16 /max. 24)
  • Space Available
  • 0
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating

1B  Warning - Read the Description Carefully

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† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $85 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Director Comments

This ride is currently full, as all slots have been filled. If you are interested in joining the tour, please submit a request to participate so that you can be added to the waitlist. It is not uncommon for spots to open up as we get closer to the ride.

Ride Description

OVERVIEW:  If you’re looking to kick off 2025 in a sunny, warm weather riding destination with a variety of sights, including pristine white sand beaches, crystal clear spring fed rivers, and some of the state’s most scenic natural areas, this is the tour for you! The tour starts and ends in Tampa, and provides the opportunity to visit both Florida’s “Suncoast” and “Nature Coast”. Florida’s Suncoast encompasses the Tampa Bay area and beaches and the Nature Coast is the area just north of Tampa, famous for spring fed rivers, manatees, and pristine forests. While visiting the Nature Coast, you’ll be able to rent kayaks in Weeki Wachi and Crystal River where you’re almost guaranteed to see manatees. For the adventurous, you can join a guided tour to swim with the manatees. Beyond the great weather and sights, you’ll also be riding mostly on Florida’s expansive bike trail system, with 65-75% of the miles on bike paths (depending on the route options you take), including the Pinellas Trail, Suncoast Trail, and the majestic Withlacoochee Trail.

·         We’ll meet in Tampa on Sunday, January 19th, in a hotel near Tampa International Airport.

·         Monday we’ll ride across beautiful Tampa Bay on the Courtney Causeway Trail, then north along the west coast of the bay through the quaint town of Safety Harbor before taking bike paths on our way to Clearwater Beach. For baseball fans, the route goes right by the Philadelphia Phillies spring training complex.

·         Tuesday we’ll take the beach route south on Gulf Boulevard, riding along the white sand beaches and through the beach towns of Indian Rocks Beach, Treasure Island, St. Petersburg Beach, and Pass-A- Grill Beach. Notably, the beaches along this route are considered some of the prettiest and best beaches in the US. Once through Pass-A-Grill, we’ll take a network of bike paths east to the vibrant city of St. Petersburg.

·         Wednesday and Thursday we’ll stay in St. Petersburg, where you’ll have the option to visit the numerous sights there, including the many museums and galleries, highlighted by the Salvador Dali Museum, the Chihuly Collection, and Museum of Fine Arts. If museums aren’t your thing, you can visit the St. Petersburg Pier, the Sunken Gardens, or arrange for some on the water adventures like a kayak tour, boat tour, or you can take the ferry to downtown Tampa and enjoy the Tampa Riverwalk. And of course, you’ll have plenty of options for loop rides in the area, including a visit to historic Fort DeSoto.

·         Friday we’ll take the Pinellas Trail all the way to the historic Greek fishing village of Tarpon Springs, known as the “Sponge Capital of the World”. On our way there, you’ll have the option to take a bike path to visit beautiful Honeymoon Island. Once in Tarpon Springs, you’ll be able to visit the sponge docks, where you can see docked sponge boats, numerous shops selling sea sponges, and restaurants serving up authentic Greek cuisine.

·         Saturday we’ll continue north on our way to Weeki Wachi and Florida’s Nature Coast. We’ll hug the coast on our way north, passing through several small towns and plenty of mangrove shorelines and coastal marshes.

·         Sunday we’ll spend the day in Weeki Wachi where you’ll have the opportunity to visit Weeki Wachi Springs State Park and/or visit Weeki Wachi Gardens and it’s fabulous kayaking and manatee watching. Famous as a symbol of yesteryear Florida tourism, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has been entertaining visitors since 1947. You can watch the iconic Weeki Wachi mermaid show, take a boat tour, swim in the crystal-clear waters of Buccaneer Bay, or kayak down the pristine Weeki Wachi River, enjoying crystal clear water and the very best of Florida’s Nature Coast scenery. Weeki Wachi Spring is a first-magnitude spring, and includes the deepest known freshwater cave system in the US.

·         Monday we’ll continue north to the town of Crystal River, known as the “Manatee Capital of the World”. The day’s route takes us on the Suncoast Trail.

·         Tuesday we’ll spend the day in Crystal River. The town of Crystal River surrounds Kings Bay, which is fed by over seventy springs that feed 600 million gallons of freshwater a day into the incredible body of freshwater. It is a first magnitude Florida springs system and a leading winter refuge for the Florida Manatee. A visit to the Three Sisters Springs Boardwalk, renting kayaks, or swimming with the manatees on a boat tour is a must.

·         Wednesday we’ll ride east until we meet the Withlacoochee State Trail, where we turn south towards Brooksville, a historic and charming small town. The Withlacoochee State Trail is a rails-to-trails bike trail that parallels the Withlacoochee River and crosses the Withlacoochee State Forest and Croom Wildlife Management Area. The trail is considered one of the most scenic in Florida and offers rich opportunities for viewing Florida’s lush forests and wildlife, including an array of birds and the distinct possibility of seeing alligators in the waters near the trail. Withlacoochee State Park was named one of the “Top 10 Coolest Places You’ve Never Seen in North America” by the World Wildlife Fund.

·         Thursday we’ll head to the town of Odessa after getting back on the Suncoast Trail, then passing through beautiful Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park.

·         Friday is our last day of riding as we continue south back to Tampa. We’ll get back on the Pinellas Trail where we exited it on the way north, but we’ll head the other way and head south along the east side of the trail before going back over Tampa Bay on the Courtney Causeway Trail.

HEALTH & SAFETY: Vaccinations for Covid are recommended, but not required. Participants are expected to come to the tour in good health and ready to ride. Should someone’s health become compromised and the group’s health and safety placed in jeopardy, a plan will be developed by the ride leaders and communicated to all individuals. The expectation is for the group to work together to mitigate any spread of infection or illness as a means to ensure the tour can continue as planned.

RIDE RATING: The ride is rated 1B with an average of 42 miles and 667 of climbing each day. There is one day with 57 miles of riding and 1350’ of climbing (yes, there are some hills in central Florida!). There are eight days of required point-to-point riding and four days with optional loop rides.

CUE SHEETS and GPS FILES:  All routes will be available in RideWithGPS and printable route sheets and GPS files will be emailed to attendees.

WEATHER: The temperatures in west central Florida average in the low 70s with lows in the 50s.  However, if a strong cold front passes through, highs could only be in the mid-50s and lows could reach freezing. These cold snaps usually last two to three days before temperatures go back up. There’s also a very good chance to see days in the low 80s. Winters in Florida are typically dry, but there is always a chance of getting rained on for a day or two.

LODGING & MEALS: The tour will include stays in an assortment of hotels, with most considered mid-range, nice, but not luxury. Seven breakfasts will be included, and all hotels not offering complimentary breakfast have restaurants on-site or within close walking distance. There will be three group dinners included.

BIKES: Tandems and pedal assist e-bikes are welcome on this tour. For bicycle rentals, contact City Bike Tampa,, 208 E Cass St., Tampa (813-225-1777).  We highly suggest reserving the bike well in advance. All arrangements for bike rental are between the participant and the bike shop. The tour leaders cannot guarantee bike rental availability or quality.

LOGISTICS: The tour starts and ends at the DoubleTree by Hilton Tampa Rocky Point Waterfront (3050 N Rocky Point Dr N, Tampa, FL). We’ll meet at the hotel (location to be determined) on Sunday, January 19th at 5:30 PM, before heading out for a group dinner. The hotel is only four miles from the Tampa airport. Anyone flying in will need to use a taxi or Uber to get to the hotel since the hotel does not have a shuttle bus. The trip ends Saturday morning, 1 February. Cars and bike boxes can be left at the hotel free of charge for the duration of the tour.

COST & ADMINISTRATION: The cost estimate of $2200 per person plus the $50 BAC fee, includes 13 nights lodging double occupancy, luggage van, Happy Hours, three group dinners, and seven breakfasts. Deposit will be $1000 with the balance due November 1, 2024. The solo supplement is estimated to be an additional $1360.

SINGLES & SOLOS POLICY: We recommend that singles who want a roommate try to find their own. However, after receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the ride and given until November 1, 2024 to find a roommate. If they are unable to find a roommate, they will have the option to receive a full refund (minus the BAC fee and payment processing fee) or pay the $1360 single supplement and stay on the ride. If a single pays the supplement, they may continue to seek a roommate, but must plan to participate without a roommate if necessary. The Ride Leaders will assist by attempting to match singles who apply for the ride.  Solo supplement payments need to be sent to the BAC office by November 1, 2024. Checks should be made out to BAC” with a notation of the tour name included on the check.  They should be mailed to:  Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego, CA 92193.

CANCELLATION POLICY:  The BAC ride registration fee and payment processing fee is not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled because the number of participants is less than the minimum established for the tour. Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the cancelling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time. If the cancelling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed. If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped, the cancelling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour.  BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Ride Participant Responsibility: Please remember that BAC ride leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the tour well trained, in good health, and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles. All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from the ride leaders. While on the tour, support your ride leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and clean-up. Please do not interfere the tour by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the tour. Please keep the ride leader(s) informed of any special request you may have and respect the ride leader’s decisions.

Before participating in any BAC tour, members should review their medical coverage and assess whether what they have is sufficient. If it isn’t, participants should purchase additional travel medical insurance. BAC maintains a policy that provides limited coverage for medical expenses associated with accidents incurred by US residents when on tours in the US. The policy maintained by BAC does not cover costs associated with self-quarantines that may be government mandated. Members should also ensure that vaccinations are up to date (e.g., COVID, annual influenza, tetanus, etc.). If members are traveling outside their home country, they may wish to consult with a travel physician or nurse to ensure the appropriate vaccinations are up to date.

SIGN-UP: To register for this tour, use the sign-up link displayed just above this Ride Description.  After preliminary acceptance, you will be moved to the pending list and receive an email requesting you to go back to the BAC website to digitally accept the terms of the Release of Liability (ROL) and pay the non-refundable BAC ride registration fee and tour deposit by credit card. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List.  BAC members with questions may contact .

Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510

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