Your Wellness Guide: Biking in Florida
Hit the bike trails in Central Florida!
Bruce Chamberlain hops on his bike at least once a week to ride miles of Central Florida’s hiking and biking trails. He’s spotted alligators and hawks and even run into a wild turkey.
“It’s just a fantastic way to see Florida,” he says. “I love the exercise, and there’s nothing like being on a bike and discovering something new.”
Chamberlain co-owns Bikes & Blades rental shop at the West Orange Trail’s Killarney Station with his wife, Julie. They’ve seen a 60 percent uptick in their business this past year as homebound Central Floridians have sought safe outdoor activities.
Breathing fresh air and connecting with family and friends for a bike ride are just two of the many benefits of cycling, says Chris Denney, a Winter Park doctor of physical therapy.
You can get a good cardio workout without stressing your joints, while at the same time strengthening leg muscles, building core strength, improving balance—and you can ride a bike well into your later years, she notes.
“The more you move your joints, the more lubricated they’ll stay, and that can delay arthritic changes,” Denney says.
Denney and Chamberlain both advocate buying a bike that fits your frame to avoid tendonitis and other physical problems. Most cycle shops will fit you for the right size bicycle.
Florida boasts 1,300-plus recreational trails, many suitable for biking excursions, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s online trail guide. Around Central Florida, the West Orange Trail, the Seminole-Wekiva Trail, Cady Way, Little Econ Greenway and more offer easy and challenging stretches of paved paths.