On November 10th, 26 cyclists gathered at St. Pete Beach in Florida for a week of bike touring - the CCCTS Florida Gulf Coast Hub & Spoke, 2022. Most of us stayed at the Gulf Gate Resort, right on the beach. We had four souls who camped at the Fort De Soto campground.
Linda Graupner, our tour leader, has had countless visits to the area, and her extensive knowledge of cycling routes, restaurants, pubs, parks, and things to see helped make this a really memorable trip.
The start was pretty memorable too, as we hunkered down while Tropical Storm Nicole passed by us. One day of strong wind and rain, and then the sun came out. We were blessed with sunny, warm weather for our whole trip.
The area has a reputation for its sunshine, soft sand beaches, and its dedicated bike trails, including the famous Pinellas rail trail, an 80 km urban multi-use pathway.  We explored the Pinellas Trail and other dedicated bike paths such as the Suncoast Trail, Clam Bayou Trail, Pinellas Bayway Trail, Fort de Soto trail, and more, with stops at some of the famous beaches and nature preserves.  Sampling the local seafood and gelatos is a bonus!  
This was a trip of "flat roads and flat tires"! The only hills are the numerous large bridges over the waterways. And as a group, we averaged more than one flat per day over the course of the week. 
Photo Albums
These albums are made up of photos submitted by many of the trip participants. 
Routes & Relive Ride Summaries
If you are interested in the details of each day's ride, you can check them out below. Chris Hayes created Relive video "activity stories" of each day's ride - the links are below. Also included are links to the RideWithGPS routes for each day. 
Nov 11 - Boyd Nature Reserve
This ride took us to Maximo Park and Boyd Nature Preserve. We visited the Aviary at Boyd Hill, home to injured raptors. Definitely worth the trip as we saw alligators and a wide variety of wild birds. On the way back, we even got to cycle the famous Pink Streets of Maxino!
Nov 12 - Suncoast Trail
Today’s highlight was the vast wildlife we encountered. Plus, the sun was back! Cycling the Suncoast Trail and Starkey Park, we saw many Gopher tortoises, alligators, dolphins, tall Sand Hill cranes, elegant White Egrets, and a wide variety of smaller birds. A veritable bird watcher’s paradise. Starkey Wilderness Park was particularly nice cycling. What an amazing day that culminated with a stop at Larry’s Ice Cream & Gelato Bar, then a delightful happy hour by the pool… outdoors!
Nov 13 - Ft. Desoto
We rode to Fort de Soto Park with a detour to visit the Ruins of Fort Dade (built in 1899) from the Spanish-American War. These heavy fortifications remain along the northwest shore of Egmont Key, but they are crumbling in the heat and humidity of the Gulf Coast. We had a walk on the beach and a dip in the ocean. On the way back we toured a few well-to-do residential areas.
Nov 14 - Passe-a-Grille
This was supposed to be our Rest Day, but did we rest? Oh no, we had a 55k ride to Pass-a-Grille for breakfast at Paradise Grill, on a sunny beach. Then, on the return stretch, Linda guided us around pretty neighborhoods to view numerous whimsical mailboxes. In the afternoon, Tim planned a short ride to the popular Mastry's Brewing Co & Kitchen for a substantial lunch and brew (mostly attended by the boys – lol).  
Nov 15 - Tarpon Springs
A longer ride on the Pinellas Trail, with a destination to Tarpon Springs, a quaint little village with decades of history. We visited The Sponge Docks and checked out the menus of all the Greek restaurants in town. Today’s lunch stop was at Rusty Bellies, a waterfront, family-owned grill featuring local seafood and a tiki bar. And we saw gorillas - at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary - visible from the Pinellas Trail
Nov 16 - St. Petersburg
Our ride to St. Petersburg took us through the Clam Bayou Nature Preserve along pathways to the St. Petersburg Pier, then out to Weedon Island Preserve. If you swing it, a visit to Mazzaro's Italian Market is worth the diversion! On the way back we stopped at Treasure Island Beach, where the 2022 Sanding Ovations Master Cup sand sculpture competition was just getting started.  
Nov 17 - Causeway Ride
Our last day started at Veterans Memorial Marina Park in Safety Harbour. We cycled the windy Courtney Campbell Causeway, right across Tampa Bay, and finished with lunch at the Whistle Stop Bar & Grill in Safety Harbor. Safety Harbour has some very eclectic streets offering houses with a super funky, hippy vibe! 
And the Bonus - The Horrible Hundred
After the Hub & Spoke a few of our group traveled to Clermont, in Central Florida to ride in the Horrible Hundred ride, "Central Florida's premier cycling event"

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