If you prefer to explore nature on two wheels during your Central Florida vacation, Polk County offers diverse cycling trails in both urban and wilderness areas.
Bicycle Friendly Community
The City of Lakeland has been recognized by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) as one of the only 242 Bicycle Friendly Communities in the United States. When designating a community as bicycle friendly, the LAB considers many factors including the physical accommodations that have built or engineered within the community for cycling use, the availability of cycling education for adults and children, promotion of cycling events, programs and materials, enforcement of cycling-related laws and implementation of practices for evaluating current programs and planning for future improvements.
Lakeland's abundance of cycling friendly accommodations, availability of cycling safety education, the promotion of cycling programs and events helped the city to earn a Bronze Level status from the LAB.
Those wishing to explore the city of Lakeland can ride along the Lake-to-Lake Bicycle Route which covers twenty miles and connects Lakes Parker, Wire, Morton, Hunter, Hollingsworth, and John. This route also explores Lakeland's scenic downtown and historic districts.
Road & Trail Bicycles in Lakeland offer bike rentals for those looking to ride around town or just log some miles during a Central Florida vacation. Both road and comfort bikes are available to rent by the day or by the week. Swan City Cycles Bike Share, powered by Zagster, has seven rental stations throughout the downtown area.
Mountain Biking Trails
Off-road enthusiasts looking for adventure can visit Lakeland's Loyce Harpe Park, home to a network of several rolling, narrow ridge mountain biking trails. The trails cover more than 7-miles of varied terrain including technical single track. Most of the trails winds through old phosphate mine land providing riders with a very good variety of terrain.
Paved Bike Trails
Other popular cycling destinations in Lakeland include Fort Fraser Trail, which is a paved, multi-use trail that covers 7.75 miles between SR 60 in Bartow and CR 540 in Lakeland. Fort Fraser Trail also offers picnic tables, restroom facilities, water fountains and plenty of shade to recoup after a day’s ride.
The TECO Auburndale Trail extends 5.5 miles north of Auburndale and transitions into the James A. Van Fleet State Trail. This 29-mile paved, multi-use trail winds through the heart of the Green Swamp with pine forests and cypress swamps lining the path. Some areas of this trail are quite remote, so plan to take extra water.
The James A. Van Fleet State Trail is considered one of Florida's Top 10 Bike Trails, according to Bike Florida.