Cycling in Polk County, Central Florida
Often called the “Cycling Capital of Florida,” our area’s seemingly endless web of safe bicycling trails leads through historic downtowns and passes through fragrant orange groves and cozy communities. Our lakes, many bordered by public parks and sidewalks, offer restful vistas. Our hills and valleys in the southeastern part of the county provide more challenging terrain for mountain bikers.
Annual Cycling Events
2013 Bike Florida Spring Tour
For the first time in its 19 year history the Bike Florida Spring Tour held its week-long bicycle tour in Polk County. Orange Blossom Express, a seven day event was held March 22-29, 2013 and brought more than 900 bicyclists from around the United States and Canada to Polk County to experience the region’s natural beauty, restaurants, cultural attractions and local events.
Chain of Lakes Cycling Classic
A three-stage, two-day race for cyclists of all ages, this Winter Haven event leads riders through Scenic orange groves and downtown streets.
IRONMAN 70.3 Florida
This triathlon begins at Haines City’s Lake Eva Park, where competitors endure a freshwater lake swim, a 56-mile bike course, and a three loop run.
6 Hours of El Lagarto
Held at Lakeland’s Loyce Harpe Park, this race features two different courses to challenge riders of all skill levels. A 50-yard potato sack race kicks off this event, requiring cyclists to hop to their bikes.
Trail to Trail
An 8-mile mountain bike ride through Loyce Harpe Park in Lakeland marks the beginning of this race. Riders move on to a 31.5-mile road route and return to the park for another leg through the mountain bike trail.
Lakes and parks offer easy riding and restful vistas, while the hills and valleys in the southeastern park of the county provide more challenging terrain for the mountain bikers. Five trails of note are the General James Van Fleet State Trail, Loyce Harpe Park Trail, Fort Fraser Trail, TECO Auburndale Trail and The Chain of Lakes Trail.
Van Fleet State Trail and Loyce Harpe Park Trail
The Van Fleet State Trail, one of Florida’s most rural rails-to-trails, is a 29.2-mile paved trail with a trailhead in Polk City. It is a multi-use trail. Walkers, rollerbladers and horseback riders are common sights on this trail. Lakeland’s Loyce Harpe Park Trail is a true off-road experience, featuring a mountain biking course. Approximately seven miles in length, the single-track trail is built on old phosphate mining land and covers several different types of terrain. As you ride along, look for Florida’s native wildlife.
If you would like more information about this competitive sport and venues available, please contact Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing at 863-551-4750.