Van Fleet State Trail – Top Florida Eco-Bicycling

The General James A. Van Fleet State Trail is one of the jewels of bicycling in Florida. Built on an abandoned rail bed, the bike trail is entirely paved in asphalt approximately 12 feet wide. Except for a single curve, the trail runs straight for 29 miles, crossing a few unpaved forest roads and only two sparsely traveled paved roads. The Van Fleet Trail is one of the most rural bike trails in Florida – isolated and quiet.

Because of its length, remote location and straight path, the Van Fleet Trail is a destination for serious cyclists to train and ride uninterrupted by traffic. Those same attributes make it an attractive ride for the recreational biker or those with small children who don’t want to deal with car traffic. Hikers, joggers, in-line skaters, and horseback riders also enjoy the trail.

For those who are willing to slow down, the Van Fleet Trail goes through one of the most diverse and abundant wildlife habitats in Florida. On any given day, the rider might see gopher tortoises, alligators, snakes, bobcat, deer, otters, osprey, wild turkey, quail, eagles, butterflies, squirrels, and more.

The trail traverses several ecosystems along its 29 mile path, including swamp, cypress and hardwood forests, pine flatwood, prairies, and sandhills. On private land along the trail, cattle can be seen grazing. The trail runs through a portion of the Green Swamp, the headwaters for the Withlacoochee, Little Withlacoochee, Hillsborough, Ocklawaha, and Peace Rivers. Second only to the Everglades in its environmental importance, the Green Swamp is critical to the maintenance of Florida’s aquifer and groundwater supply.

Facilities along the Van Fleet Trail are limited. There is one water fountain and one restroom between the two terminuses. During the mid-day, the trail is mostly unshaded. This is Florida and even in winter the ride can be hot, so riders should use sunscreen, bring lots of water, and pack food. Since the trail runs through the Green Swamp, insect repellent is also important. Covered benches are located along the length of the trail, offering both shade and scenic views.

From the southern-most trailhead at Polk City (junction of routes 33 and 655), the Van Fleet Trail runs north to the tiny hamlet of Mabel (route 50, west of Clermont). The Polk City trailhead offers plenty of parking, picnic tables, and restroom facilities. The first five miles north are the busiest sections of the trail, passing farms and pastures. Near the 5 mile marker is the lone curve in the trail.

At the Green Pond Road trailhead, near the 10 mile marker, are parking, restrooms, a covered picnic pavilion, and water fountain. While gopher tortoises can be seen along the length of the trail, they seem particularly abundant along the trail north of the Green Pond trailhead. The habitat here also changes, from pastureland to pinewood forest and cypress swamp.

Slightly less than two miles north of the Green Pond trailhead, the trail crosses the first of three short bridges spanning the headwaters of the Withlacoochee River. This is a great area for spotting wildlife; a big gator can usually be seen at the second bridge. Particularly scenic here are the cypress strands draped in Spanish moss lining both sides of the trail. Late afternoon is probably the prettiest, with the sun shimmering off the moss and reflecting in the water (during rainy season).

At the Bay Lake trailhead, near the 20 mile marker, full facilities are planned for the future. Presently however, this trailhead only offers parking. From here, a scenic ride brings the rider to the Mabel trailhead at 29 miles; here are parking, a picnic pavilion, restrooms and water.

Whether a casual bicycle rider or a serious cyclist, the Van Fleet State Trail is a Florida treasure that holds a myriad of wonders for to all.

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Self Guided Bike Tour

Self guided bike tours are a great way to visit a foreign country. It takes a certain spirit of adventure to attempt a self guided bike tour, but many riders already have this kind of confidence and adventuresome spirit.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of tour versus one that is guided? Of course not having the guides along with a support van is certainly the most obvious drawback. The guides can essentially “take care” of the guests during the sejour. They can up to a point, that is. If they have a large group it is hard to give everyone individual attention. For people who do not wish to ride their bicycle the entire route or for part of a day, for example, they can hitch a ride in the support van, if there is room. Also, some people just like to be part of a group and follow along behind whoever is in front without having to try and read directions and figure out where they are on the day’s itinerary. Normally the guides will speak at least a bit of the language of the country they are in, so having someone available to translate can come in handy from time to time. Also, if you are single, especially a single female in a foreign country, a group tour is probably a better choice.

The biggest fear when taking a self guided cycling tour is getting lost. But here is a secret known only to bike riders who have gone on guided tours. People get lost on guided bike tours as well! This happens all the time, and it is unusual for an entire day to go by without someone taking a wrong turn and having to double back and find the rest of the group. On the other hand cyclists who know they themselves are responsible for following the directions they have been given and who have nobody else to rely on in any case are more likely to be attentive and normally won’t make too many wrong turns.

On self guided bicycle tours you will be given a suggested itinerary, and of course you are free to go wherever you like. You can stay as long as you want visiting quaint villages, wineries, interesting shops, castles or museums, and you aren’t obligated to keep up with the group if a few people have other interests and want to move on before you do. You can eat all your meals whenever you want and don’t have to worry about meeting times with the group.

But the biggest advantage of self guided biking tours is the cost. The price will typically be about half that of a similar guided tour. In these days of the weak U.S. dollar, that is a big advantage, as some guided bike tours cost upwards of $5,000 per person or even much more. With self guided tours you can stay in the same luxury hotels, eat the same great meals, and see the same sights. If an adventurous vacation experience sounds appealing, self guided bike tours are worth considering.

4 Ways to Ensure You Get the Right Courier Van Insurance

Finding the right courier van insurance is relatively simple if you use the internet to your advantage. Gone are the days of walking down the high street to go from door to door to find which high street insurance company is offering the best deals.

Now search engines have taken over, with a simple search online you can find the right courier van insurance policy for your needs. Just fill out the application form and send it off and with hours you will find quotes in your mailbox.

Here are a few key points that you need to consider when finding the right insurance for your courier business:

  1. Ensure you buy the right insurance for your business. As courier bike insurance is very different from bike insurance even though you are using the same bike the coverage you require will not be the same.
  2. If you are carrying goods on behalf of your clients then you will need goods in transit insurance included with the policy. Having this insurance will ensure you are covered but there will be a financial limit to these goods and certain restrictions on what you can carry.
  3. Obtain more than one quote before picking your courier van insurance policy. By comparing the quotes you will see which insurers will give what type of coverage and of course the premiums involved. By using an online courier van insurance broker you can save time and money as they will do the work for you and find the best quote to suit your needs. Comparison websites will do same thing as brokers and are an ideal tool to search websites too.
  4. Understand the level of insurance in your policy. Minimum level is third party and this will be the cheapest level of insurance but this will not cover your van if you have caused the accident. The next level is Third party fire and theft which is basically the same as third party but covers fire damage as well. Finally you can get comprehensive insurance which covers all of the above and repair of your vehicle if an accident happens.

By using these key points above you will be prepared with the information required to find the right courier van insurance for your business. Just remember to use the search engines to your advantage and carefully compare all quotes for your courier insurance for your van before choosing the right policy for your business.

Tips And Hints For The Purpose Of Selecting The Ideal Bike Carriers For Cars

It seems like like a straight forward issue to wish to carry your cycle on your car. If you’ve ever started the procedure of choosing a bike carrier, you already know just how many choices that you have. Here are a handful of ideas to help select the best cycle or bike carriers for cars.

Certainly, there is a great selection of bike carrier varieties and range of prices which are often used to your advantage. First you really do need to do a little analysis reviewing the selections of cycle or bike carriers for cars to make sure you obtain the one that will be best suited to your preferences.

The best bike rack needs to fit your car or vehicle properly. If not the carrier would not only be considered a safety threat but it can also cause damage to your vehicle. There is always the possibility that if the bike carrier doesn’t match your vehicle, it could make it easier for anyone to take the bike, or you’ll drop it whilst traveling which also brings about harm to your bike. So this is an important consideration when purchasing a bike carrier, it may be an extremely important judgment. Here are a couple ideas to make your choice a lot easier.

Contemplate The Needs You Have for your Cycle or Bike Carrier

1. How frequently will you you will use the bike rack
2. How many bikes will be carried
3. Can the bike carrier fit all your existing automobiles
4. Budget for your Bike Carrier
5. Security and safety of the Cycle Carrier
6. Can your bike or bikes be picked up comfortably to put up onto your carrier
7. Is the cycle a tandem bike or other unusually sized bicycle
8. Does the vehicle have a rear-mounted spare tire rack
9. How many other sporting activities would you have a carrier for to combine use together with costs

Varieties of Bicycle Carriers

Cycle or bike carriers usually fall under about three specific designs:

* Strap-on trunk rack
* Hitch-mount carrier
* Rooftop rack

There are actually advantages and disadvantages to all the different kinds and not all sorts are suitable for every automobile. Although it may be the most economical, a strap-on rack can be the least secure.Then you’ve the most costly currently being the hitch-mount carrier but the pro is that it will be the most basic to operate. Plus last of all is a roof rack carrier which can be the most versatile, but in addition probably the most tricky to utilize.

To be able to dig a little bit further there are several several other options to take into account. Specialty bike rack carriers that should suit pickup trucks or additionally that are placed inside a van or Suv. You will discover pickup truck cycle racks that are used above the bed, giving more storage area underneath. While some include custom made brackets intended to affix to rear-mounted spare tires along with the rear ladders which are typically situated on conversion vans. Regardless of the kind of auto or truck you might have, there is without doubt a bicycle rack which is the perfect fit for your personal automobile as well as way of life.