Intro to Road Touring - Florida
As the experts on self-contained bicycle travel, we’d like to share our knowledge by offering our Introduction to Road Touring (IRT) course. Two days of open-air, informal campground discussions will be followed by four days and three nights of field work where we’ll not only have a chance to learn more about the theories and skills specific to bicycle travel, but we’ll also apply all that we’ve learned in a practical way. We will travel and live as a group would on any Adventure Cycling self-contained tour: sharing meals, campsites, and friendship.
Note that you’ll need to come to this intro course with some cycling and camping skills as well as experience riding on paved and gravel surfaces. After finishing the course, you’ll be ready to hit the trail on a loaded tour, whether it’s a solo outing, a trip with friends, or another Adventure Cycling group tour. Upon completion, you will qualify for our Learn and Earn tour incentive!
"I loved the scenery and meeting other riders. I always learn something new riding with other people. I love all the new friends I made!"
Day 1. Tallahassee, Florida, 0 miles
We’ll begin our class with an orientation meeting to introduce you to your course advisors and the classmates with whom you’ll share your six-day adventure. There will be a discussion of the course schedule and general housekeeping rules. Once we are all acquainted and have a general idea of the course framework, we’ll prepare dinner and begin learning how to live on the road in comfort and style. After sharing our first meal, we’ll cover the week’s daily schedule, cooking rotations, group gear, and budgeting, among other topics essential to bike touring. Once we know the basics, it will be time to hit the hay.
Day 2. Tallahassee, Shakedown Ride, 23 miles
At 7:00 AM sharp, it’s up and at ’em! Your leader will cook up breakfast before we all delve into discussions about group travel, equipment, and what we can expect to find on the road.
Following lunch, we’ll talk about how to buy and prepare food for a group, and then we’ll put some of this newly acquired knowledge to work on a short ride — a warm-up for our multi-day adventure that begins tomorrow. We’ll also stop at a grocery store and buy food for the next day. Learning what food to purchase and pack will be an important lesson; there’s almost nothing worse than a hungry cyclist! Returning to camp, we’ll enjoy an evening meal before settling in for discussions about the crucial skills of map reading, trip preparation, and preparing for inclement weather and roadside repairs. After another full day, it’s time to catch a few winks before we head out on tour tomorrow.
Day 3. Tallahassee to Newport, 33 miles
Today, we'll load up all our gear, leave our campsite and head south. We leave the city and get to spend a large portion of our day on the St. Marks Trail bike path. We'll shop for our food along the way, but if you're feeling like you have some extra energy for the day, a 9 mile round trip ride from our campsite will bring you the town of St. Marks where you can visit the San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park.
Day 4. Newport to Ochlockonee River, 50 miles
We're up and at it early today, putting our morning skills into practice as our cooking group sets out breakfast and lunch and we break down our camping gear and load our bikes. Leaving the campground, we'll start with an out and back ride through the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge to the St. Mark's Lighthouse, the second-oldest light station in Florida. After taking some photos, we'll backtrack a bit and ride some of the bike path along the Big Bend Scenic Byway Coastal Trail. We'll overnight alongside the Ochlockonee River.
Day 5. Ochlockonee River to Sopchoppy, 45 miles
We'll enjoy our ride today by taking the long way to our next campsite. To get there, we'll first head south towards the Saint George Sound before turning east at the coast. We'll take a detour to Bald Point State Park to spend a bit more time by the waters edge, then turn back north and find some more bike paths as we make our way to Sopchoppy.
Day 6. Sopchoppy to Tallahassee, 49 miles
On the last day of our tour, we'll head back to Tallahassee, but not before the option of riding to Wakulla Springs, the world's largest and deepest freshwater springs. We can have lunch there and perhaps go for a swim or a boat tour. The boat ride will reveal alligators lounging on shore and on logs, and we may be able to catch a glimpse of a manatee or two. After field-testing all that you have learned on this four-day loop, you'll arrive back at the starting point a seasoned bicycle touring veteran, ready for your next adventure.