While Sarasota, FL, has a lot to offer for recreation, one of the most enjoyable activities is to go mountain biking and savor the outdoors. Here is a guide to some great areas to explore on your next bike ride near Sarasota.
1. Fort De Soto Recreational Park - Easy
Fort De Soto Recreational Park is perfect for a fun, sunny family day together. This is an easy level, paved trail of 4.8 miles point to point. There are often cyclists, walkers, and joggers on the trail. You can even bring your dog as long as it is on a leash.
You can expect a constant, beautiful, beach views throughout the ride. You may even want to end your day with a swim in the ocean.
The Rec Park is part of the remnants of the old De Soto Fort, so you may want to explore other areas of the park to see old military relics. There are also picnic areas, campgrounds, and good fishing spots. Fort De Soto Recreational Park is near a bird reserve as well, so keep an eye out for some of Florida's native birds.
It makes a good half-day ride. This trail is about 55 minutes from Sarasota.
2. BoldlyGo Loop - Intermediate
The BoldlyGo Loop makes for a great day trip. It is an intermediate trail that’s great for beginners and the experienced. The single rider path is flat, with a few mounds and roots mixed in, and the trail itself is well-maintained. The 12-mile loop is well marked with green arrows.
Keep your eyes open for the two footbridges, and you will also pass by scrub, swamps, palmetto groves, and pine flats. There are a lot of trees and groves for shade, but the trail has some open, sunny clearings too.
The trail gets very muddy during the rainy season, so you will want to approach this one on a dry day and avoid it during the rainy season (generally May through October).
No dogs are permitted in this area. There is a parking lot and a restroom for public use. BoldlyGo is about 30 minutes from Sarasota in the Myakka River State Park.
3. Ridgeline Trail - Difficult
Ridgeline Trail is a fast, exciting trail for riders confident with a difficult challenge and those who are looking for a roller coaster ride. The single-track trail is 1.6 miles from point to point, and it’s a smooth route, full of intense ups and downs. Watch out for the side trail that takes three extreme descents. This joins back with the main trail and is a very fun addition for any rider that wants speed and excitement.
Ridgeline makes a great short or half-day ride (if you want to do it several times). You can enjoy plenty of shade on this path and little to no solid sun. The trail is typically closed during the summertime because of rain and the erosion that can result. Ridgeline is about 55 minutes from Sarasota and part of Boyette Bike Park.
As with any successful biking trip, make sure to pack the essentials: snacks, lots of water, good shoes, sunscreen, and appropriate or protective clothing. Remember to check trail and weather conditions before you head out on your trip so you know what to expect and can be totally prepared. Pick a trail with something new and fun to see and that has the appropriate difficulty level for your biking experience.
If you need a new or better bike to aid in your biking adventures, check out Sarasota Cycle for the best selection of high-end bikes and quality accessories.