Orlando is joining four local cities to help residents discover biking routes throughout Central Florida.
The City Beautiful has come a long way since Bicycling Magazine ranked it as one of the worst cities in the nation for bicycling. That was 27 years ago and now Orlando is proclaiming itself “Orlando Bikeable.” Orlando’s Planning Transportation Division developed a biking master plan that now includes more than 300 miles of bike trails, signed routes and lanes. The city has added wayfinding signage, bike racks and repair stations to encourage cycling for both recreation and commuting.
Orlando is teaming up with Bike/Walk Central Florida and Healthy Central Florida to help residents learn about safe cyclying routes. Bike 5 Cities is a family-friendly ride along 28 miles of scenic bike trails and slow-speed residential streets.
The free event allows riders of all ages to navigate paved routes and trails at their own pace in Orlando, Winter Park, Casselberry, Maitland and Eatonville.
The ride includes four neighborhood pit stops, which will offer activities like face painting, food, drinks and bike maintenance support. The Cities of Eatonville and Casselberry are giving away helmets, which are mandatory for the ride. Casselberry is also sponsoring a Bike Rodeo at Wirz Park. Other stops include the Cady Way Trailhead, Maitland Community Park and Life Center Church in Eatonville. The first 100 participants to register will receive a free t-shirt.
Bike 5 Cities kicks off National Bike Month and is “designed for novices, no spandex allowed,” said Amanda Day, executive director of Bike/Walk Central Florida. “We get a lot of phone calls asking where are the trails and how do I use them? Families want to ride to the park and find a route to avoid busy streets. We’ve put it all together in a multi-tier event.”
Volunteer bike ambassadors will guide riders through the Bike 5 Cities route beginning at 8:00 a.m. May 6 at Mead Garden in Winter Park and roll through Orlando, Casselberry, Maitland and Eatonville before returning to Mead Garden. Maps of the route will be posted and riders can choose to bike the entire route or just cycle a couple miles through their city.
For starting times and a list of activities, go to: bikewalkcentralflorida.org.
The City of Orlando’s most recent trail expansion was a 10-foot-wide multi-use path opened April 15th along Bumby Avenue that connects Corrine and Colonial drives in the Audubon Park Garden District. It’s all part of a long-term plan to create an 8.25 mile Downtown Loop that will encircle the city.
“We’re providing the amenities – maps, bike repair stations and Juice Bike Shares (short-term rentals) – to get people to use the system,” said F.J. Flynn, Orlando’s deputy transportation director. “Data collected from Juice Bike Share is used to target future investments to improve our system.”