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Courtney Campbell Trail Ride

November 30, 2013

20131129_115959I had been interested in riding the Courtney Campbell Trail for months and I finally made it on a lazy Friday after Thanksgiving.  I parked in the Ben T. Davis parking lot, which was a mistake, because there is a fee for parking.  There is plenty of free parking by the new bridge and elsewhere as I discovered during my ride.

My thinking was to ride my hybrid due to the nature of the ride.  I figured 1) it would be a short ride, less than 10 miles and 2) there would be debris on the Pinellas County trail, if there was even a semblance of a trail there.

Although I started the ride heading west, towards the new bridge, I was later surprised to find the trail went further east than I had anticipated.

I was right about the debris on the Pinellas portion of the trail, but I was wrong about the trail itself.  While the Pinellas side wasn’t maintained, I was able to ride west to within a couple of miles of Bayshore Blvd., before it ended, at least for a short distance at a smaller bridge span.

I contacted Senator Latvala’s office to find out where Pinellas County had plans to update the Pinellas side in similar fashion to the Hillsborough side.  They, in turn, contacted the Florida Department of Transportation’s District 7 office, who reported they expect the Pinellas side to be completed by Fall 2015.  The projected cost is nearly $11M.

Upon further investigation, I could have walked my bike less than 50 feet up to the highway (pictured in gallery below), either walked or rode on a wide shoulder to the west side of the bridge span and continued on for maybe 1-2 miles to the Courtney Campbell Beach.

From there, I could have crossed the highway, rode sidewalks and side roads to the East-West Trail  then west to the Long Center on Belcher Road or north to Safety Harbor.

Instead I turned back heading east, back over the new bridge, past Ben T. Davis Beach.  If I was hungry there were several restaurants, including Hulk Hogan’s, Whiskey Joes, the Chart House, and Oyster Catchers in the Hyatt.

Past the Hyatt the trail followed the freeway east past the airport and some low flying jets, all the way to Cypress Street.  The trail appeared to end there, but by riding through Cypress Office Park, I was surprised to find Cypress Beach Park with a nice picnic area, bathrooms and a sprawling beach.

All told RT,  I was able to squeak out 20 miles.  I may try starting out from SH next time and add another 15-16 miles to the ride RT.  It would still be more conducive to ride the hybrid, considering the route, debris, etc. but it would make for 2 1/2 – 3 hr. ride not counting a beer and grouper sandwich at Hogans.  Here’s a link to my Garmin: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/410102071

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2014 10:27 am

    Sequel. As the out of towner dummie, I tried to ride the new bridge from Safety Harbor going east. The mile or a bit more from Bayshore to the end of the first small bridge is not recommended if you treasure your life. The shoulder is too narrow and there’s too much high speed traffic. Once past the first bridge, you have to lug your bike up over the guard rail and then life gets easier and better. The rest of the ride to at least Rocky Point is a delight and trouble free. Some disgruntled soul has put small gray tacks on the trail before you get to the new part and I did pick up two of those producing a flat tire so be ready. Also, it can be windy up there!

  2. January 28, 2014 10:38 pm

    Let’s hope for safer travels by Fall of 2015 per FDOT

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