There is surely gold to be found in the inter tidal zones off Florida’s Treasure Coast. Peruvian gold and Mexican silver, in fact, given up by any of the 11 Spanish treasure ships that went to bottom more than three centuries ago. But the real bounty of the Sunshine State’s central-east begins with water: from ocean to rivers, inlets and lakes to wetlands. To a region known for barrier islands, aromatic citrus groves, boating and sport-fishing, we’ve found onto an uncharted and original cycling destination.
|Road bike, hybrid bike, E-bike
|min. 6 max. 13
|January, February, March, November, December
|States or country
|Orlando Int. Airport
|Orlando Int. Airport
*Please note the prices are subject to change depending availability *
Today we shuttle two hours to Vero Beach (pop. 16,919), nicknamed Hibiscus City; Atlantic-facing beach community set on a barrier island. The first ride of our tour sweeps north, between the coast and I-95. On that note: It’s said that Florida is the only state in the US where the further north you go, the further south you get. All subtext aside, that direction delivers rich visual history, optimum cycling routes and abundant wildlife. Leaving Vero Beach, our route hugs the Atlantic, and more figuratively, what’s called the Treasure Coast. (An entire Spanish fleet was lost here in 1715, swept to the bottom by a hurricane. Estimates place two trillion dollars’ worth of booty and sunken riches within 60- miles of Florida’s coast.) Our routing resolves into a warm, tropical embrace, and a trifecta of wilderness: the St. Sebastian River State Park; the adjacent 21,000-acre Fort Drum Marsh and 6,500-acre Blue Cypress conservation areas. The route wends us past 30-46 ft. tall Cypress trees, most 6-9 ft. at their base, though some reach in excess of 36-ft in diameter. On this stage, we’ll also gain an up-close sense of the region’s unique geology. As Lake Okeechobee retreated, it left great spans of fossilized mollusk that clung to limestone. These ancient clamshells bore and nurtured gems (called calcites). With a triumphal surge across a handsome cyclist- pedestrian dedicated bridge, we drop into Captain Hiram’s Sebastian Inn, our stay for the night. Named for an American GI who perished at Normandy, Captain Hiram’s is nothing less than Jimmy Buffett’s vision of paradise, or island escapism: an inviting resort of old Florida charm, albeit with a subtle Bahamian vibe. Set alongside Sebastian Inlet, which opens onto the Intracoastal Waterway, the gentle waters here are frequented by manatees, Bottlenose dolphins and pelicans if not all manner of colorful waterfowl.
Total Easy Mileage | 35 Miles Feet Gain | 301
Total Moderate Mileage | 41 Miles | Feet Gain | 398
Casual Inn | Captain Hiram’s Resort
We hail today’s loop as the Lake Okeechobee out ‘n back. Known as Florida’s inland sea, Okeechobee answers to Florida’s largest freshwater lake, as well as America’s ninth largest. Hugging the 730-sq mile lake’s northern tier, our tour sweeps south, via Taylor Creek. Our enjoyably up-tempo circumnavigation lends great optics onto this tremendous natural resource, divided amongst no less than five Florida counties. Holding one trillion gallons of water—despite being only 9-ft deep—Okeechobee forms the headwaters of the Everglades. At the southern end we cycle past three different islands. Originally settled by pioneer stock, the trio of islands was abandoned in the 1960s. Closing out a brisk ride, we shuttle to Clewston. Tonight’s layover unfolds at the historic Clewston Inn.
Total Easy Mileage | 23 Miles | Feet Gain | 180
Total Moderate Mileage | 45 Miles | Feet Gain | 360
Total Challenging Mileage | 72 Miles | Feet Gain | 585
Casual Inn | Clewiston Inn
We follow the Ormond Loop, seguing into the 3230-acre Bulow State Park. A northerly neighbor of Daytona Beach, the Ormond area is decidedly more tranquil—think bowling, pickleball and pools—if not nature and cyclist friendly than Daytona. Pointing our front wheels onto a network of scenic state and county back roads, this stage merges onto vestiges of the Old Dixie Highway. Our routing transits Pine forests, lakes turned red by tannic acids and swamplands patrolled by alligators. Constructed in 1915, then expanded in 1925, the Old Dixie passes over moveable bridges—to accommodate boat traffic—not to mention before more deeply rooted mainstays. Namely, the largest stand of iconic Southern live oak trees. One such beauty, known as the Fairchild oak, is four centuries old, and the largest of its kind. Today’s ride also visits the ruins of an ante-bellum plantation remarkable as much for its remoteness as its building materials. Constructed of coquina, great horizontal slags of sediments embedded with trilobites, mollusk and other invertebrates, the plantation and its adjacent sugar mill offer a fascinating glimpse onto what was the region’s first enterprise/economic lynchpin. Overhead we’ll likely glimpse Bald eagle and Swallow-tailed kites, a small black and white raptor. Our ride closes out at the Minneola Inn, alongside Ormond Lake. A turn-of-the-century property, the Inn gracefully projects old Florida aesthetics, but nuanced with a decidedly Key West vibe. More so, there might not be a better spot to view the sunset, or decompress post-ride than at the Inn’s waterfront Tiki Bar.
Total Miles 23 | Feet gain 266 | Casual Inn: Lake Minneola Inn
The day’s ride loops over what’s known as the Alps of Florida. (Don’t snicker, Westerners.) Climbing a total of 1445-ft, our route peaks out at 309-ft ASL. Sweeping through farmlands, vineyards and orchards from Clermont, west of Lake Apopka, today’s ride is punctuated by the Sunshine’s State’s steepest rollers, terrain completely atypical of the Florida peninsula. At Clermont (pop. 30,200), about 22-miles west of Orlando, we gain unprecedented view finding via the Florida Citrus Tower. Built in 1956, the 226-ft tower lends a 360-degree view of the surrounding orange groves. Our ride closes out at the Mt. Dora Inn, yet another signature lodge.
Total moderate miles 33 | Feet gain 1445 | Casual Inn: Mount Dora Historic Inn
The day’s ride follows a rails-to-trails course, the Withlacoochee: a linear state park shaped around a dedicated bike path, the state’s longest paved trail spanning 46-miles altogether. Smartly built atop the erstwhile Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, this ride sweeps between a pair of chained lakes. Then over former railway trestles, by virtue of small bridges engineered for cyclists and pedestrians. All throughout, the framing along the Withlacoochee Trail is quietly stunning if not gleefully rich in feathers and fur. To either side of trail roam Wild turkey, White-tailed deer and wild hogs; these five to six foot long interlopers reach 150-lbs and up. Speaking of up, overhead we’ll very likely encounter herons, Sandhill cranes, wood storks, limpkins (a long legged shorebird) as well as a great many songbirds. Transiting successive state forests, we enter Richloam: a 58,000-acre preserve of pine savannah mixed with forested wetlands. Rolling in and out of piney forest, we stop to savor small, rural Florida townships. They include the stately and picturesque Floral City (pop. 5216), named for its abundant wildflowers. Should the impulse set in, those gardeners amongst us are free to yell “floribunga”! here. The ride partly follows the 70-mile Crooked River, sweeping through the Citrus Wildlife Management area, the Flying Eagle and Jumper Creek preserves, respectively, before our peloton curls off for Inverness, where we overnight.
Total Easy Mileage | 23 Miles | Feet Gain | 420
Total Moderate Mileage | 30 Miles | Feet Gain | 547
Total Challenging Mileage | 62 Miles | Feet Gain | 1767
Casual Inn | Holiday Inn Express
Our wrap-up day ride follows the Fleet Trail. From quirky Mascotte (pop. 5538), named for a small tobacco hauler that sailed between here and Cuba during the Spanish-American War, we sweep across the east edge of the aforementioned Richloam Wildlife preserve; then merge into the adjacent 110,000-acre Green Swamp preserve. Paralleling I-75, west of Orlando, we reach the headwaters of no less than four rivers: the Peace, Withlacachoolee, Ocklawaha, and Hillsborough. Ultimately, our route bisects a 560,000-acre plateau of wetlands, lowlands and sandy ridges; a critical habitat and drinking water source. Closing out here we shuttle back to Orlando.
Total Easy Mileage | 19.5 Miles | Feet Gain | 378
* This is a general itinerary. Tour itineraries are subject to change based on the group, available accommodations and other unforeseen circumstances such as the weather, local conditions, government intervention, that may affect the quality of the trip and/or safety of the participants. Please view this itinerary as an outline as to what to expect on this tour.
For optimal physical preparation, we recommend that you ride at least several hours per week during the month preceding the tour. During the tour you will be on your bike every day, and we can assure you that an unprepared bottom is a sore one! If you can’t ride your bike, or don’t own one, take a spin class at your local gym a few times a week.
To prepare for the tour, we recommend that you hike, jog or run at least several hours per week during the month preceding the tour. Walk/run in the shoes and sock you are brining on the trip. This will help prevent blisters and sore feet.
Make your trip as comfortable as possible on the body, as simple as possible for traveling, and hassle free on tour. On every road bike tour, we will fit you with the newest, highest quality gear in the industry. We provides only high-end bicycles from Specialized. We replace our rental fleet each season to ensure all our bikes meet our high standards. All of our bikes are equipped with carbon fiber frames and disc brakes designed for a smooth, comfortable ride.
Specialized Roubaix Disc
Specialized has perfected the road bike. Ride confidently and comfortably for longer distances on any of our trips around the world. All of our bikes are equipped with the latest components and our 2019 models include disc brakes.
Specialized Sirrus Hybrid
Specialized hybrid bikes are the most comfortable bikes available. Our most popular bike for multi-sport and moderate road bike tours is the proven Sirrus. This bike is suited for a wide range of cyclists. This bike sits upright, is equipped with a very comfortable seat, and the gearing has a wide range of speeds.
Specialized Turbo Hybrid Ebike
For those of you who have always wanted to join a bike tour but feared your fitness would hold you or the group back, fear no more. Our incredible e-bike option allows you to do more, go twice as fast and far. The all new Specialized Turbo has one goal and one goal only—to inspire you to get out, get moving, and to have some fun along the way. E-bike available on most casual and luxury inn trips for an additional price.
Specialized Road E-bike
Specialized Turbo Creo E-bike. Take a deep breath, turn on the power and enjoy a beautiful adventure on the all new Electric Road Bike. The new road Ebike now allows you to travel further distances and explore new areas. The pedal assisted technology also allows beginner and novice riders to join in on more challenging routes and terrain.
All of our road bike trips include a Garmin GPS device to help you navigate through each day safely and smoothly. You’ll know how far, fast, and high you’ve ridden on the flats or climbs or on your way through each day. Simply turn it on and start riding. No paper maps needed!
Night 1: Captain Hiram’s Resort | Sebastian, FL
At Capt Hiram’s, enjoy a cold beer (or perfectly poured scotch), fresh-caught seafood, warm sand, palm trees and a tropical breeze. This, plus a collection of 86 guest rooms and suites with romantic river views, live music, riverboat tours and a full-service marina, has made Capt Hiram’s one of Florida’s most unique and beloved destinations. Magically transporting its guests to “island time,” this laid-back Sebastian resort captures the essence of the tropics. Waterfront rooms and suites include comfortable beds with crisp cotton sheeting, private furnished balconies, mini-refrigerator, coffeemaker, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, in-room safe, hot tubs (selected rooms), and limited room service.
Nights 2: Clewiston Inn
Discover southern charm and hospitality at the Clewiston Inn. A beautifully restored classical revival, the Inn offers a perfect blend of country elegance and modern comfort. Nestled in the heart of South Florida’s sugarcane country and on the shore of Lake Okeechobee, the Clewiston Inn provides visitors with a peaceful setting and welcoming retreat. Amenities include free WiFi in all areas, air conditioning, smoke-free property, daily housekeeping, laundry, vending machines, bar, and snack bar.
Night 3: Lake Minneola
Lake Minneola Inn has been hosting guests near and far for over 100 years. The Inn is set on a beautiful lake front property with the most amazing sunsets in Lake County. You can find a great place to eat right in their backyard at The Tiki Bar & Grill. The food is always fresh and delicious and the atmosphere is the best around. If you are feeling a little adventurous, rent a pontoon boat from Tiki Boat Rentals and cruise the gorgeous Clermont chain of lakes. Rooms feature brand new Casper mattresses, private bathrooms, 43” flat screen TVs, Kuerig coffee makers, and alarm clock charging stations. All rooms are newly remodeled and renovated with a Key West feel.
Night 4: Mount Dora Historic Inn
Mount Dora Historic Inn is a retreat from the everyday hustle and bustle. Just a short walk to the Historic Downtown Village, the inn offers four beautifully appointed rooms with guest comfort as our highest priority. Casually walk to fine dining restaurants or a street side café. Pamper yourself at one of Mount Dora’s many spas, enjoy a glass of wine at one of
the charming wine rooms, or take a horse drawn carriage ride around the lake.
Night 5: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Inverness-Lecanto
This Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites is located in beautiful Citrus County, with convenient access to local attractions, including Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park and world-class golf courses. Other activities include fishing charters and manatee tours on the Crystal River. With advance notice, our front desk can make discounted reservations for guided manatee tours. Amenities including a heated outdoor pool, 24-hour Fitness Center, and free hot breakfast bar.
Tour prices 2024: $ 3842.00 pp. Ask for single fee
Rental road bike $ 422.17
Rental hybrid bike $ 324.75
Rental hybrid E-bike $ 324.75
Rental road E-bike $ 454.65
Tour dates 2024:
10 Mar – 15 Mar
17 Mar – 22 Mar
03 Nov – 08 Nov
10 Nov – 15 Nov
17 Nov – 22 Nov
24 Nov – 29 Nov
01 Dec – 06 Dec
Deposit $500.- pp
The deposit payment for a tour must be paid within two weeks after the booking is confirmed.
The remaining payment is due 90 days before the start of the tour.
For tours that are booked within 90 days before the start of the tour you will pay 100% of the tour price
Gateway city: Orlando
Orlando, a city in central Florida, is home to more than a dozen theme parks. Chief among its claims to fame is Walt Disney World, comprised of parks like the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as water parks. Another major destination, Universal Orlando, offers Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter straddling both.
ORLANDO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
1 Jeff Fuqua Blvd, Orlando, FL 32827
HOMEWOOD SUITES BY HILTON
5425 Gateway Village Circle, Orlando, FL 32812
7:30 AM on the first day of the tour.
By 5:00 PM on the last day of the tour.
Weather predictions are often unreliable, so it is best to be prepared for inclement weather. Please use the following locations when checking the weather online: Orlando, FL
Our food isn’t just good, it’s good for you.
Food is a big part of the experience. Many of our guests are vegans or vegetarians, whom we are more than happy to accommodate. On inns tours our Trip Leaders prepare all of your picnic style lunches and breakfasts and dinners are served in the best local restaurants If you have special diet requirements or limitations, just let us know when you sign-up and we’ll work with you to meet your needs.