In the recent article The best places to ride a bike in the Tampa Bay area,” Tampa Bay Times staff member Bernadette Berdychowski created an easy map of the friendliest places to ride bikes in the Tampa Bay area.

Below is an excerpt from the article. To read the full story, click here.

This Times map shows what planners have identified as the easiest places for a cyclist of any skill level to find a nice stretch to pedal without encountering too many cars. Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties all have long paths. Some, like the Upper Tampa Bay Trail, have a mix of scenic rural pastures in eastern Hillsborough and safe urban spurs like the section that transports you over busy Gunn Highway on a beautifully constructed pedestrian bridge.

Within a few years, most of these trails will be connected to their counterparts on the east coast as part of the Coast-to-Coast Trail. It’s an ambitious statewide effort that began in 2014 to connect these paths across nine counties so that you could conceivably ride a bike from St. Petersburg to the Atlantic Coast.

The 50-mile Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, which runs the length of Pinellas County, jumped from an average of 70,000 users per month pre-pandemic to more than double to 180,000 per month in 2020, according to sensor data. And it hasn’t coasted much in 2021, with more 1 million users on the Pinellas Trail by June of this year, or 130,000 a month on average, said Angela Ryan, principal planner with Forward Pinellas, the planning council and metropolitan planning organization for Pinellas County.

“One of the benefits of having this huge increase in people cycling is people are more aware,” Ryan said. “When people cycle themselves, they become more aware of cyclists. If we are accustomed to seeing more bikes on the road, and if are more accustomed to seeing them cross the trail, we will be more compliant with roadway laws.”

People for Bikes created a free iPhone and Android app to locate safe bike paths across the country. Just enter your location and you can find bike routes nearby that other cyclists have posted. Check the app store for their Ride Spot app or go to peopleforbikes.org. Bike/Walk Tampa Bay has lots of resources, including a list of maps with routes and trails from around the Tampa Bay region at bikewalktampabay.org. The site also highlights local events and area activities for cyclists.

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