If you ever get the chance to ride in Florida take advantage of it. As a New York transplant, Ill always feel that Flo-rida is where my true roots are. Flipster -> Hipster -> Yuppie. Sure Florida gets a bad rap; face eating bath salt people, crocodiles getting eaten by pythons, lots of geriatrics taking to the roads, etc… Harmony Korine does a good job of portraying the beach state in Spring Breakers. Nighttime revelers, neon lights, and hicks take heed because this is your bastion of sanctity. So while this may wet your appetite as a potential vacation spot to relax and enjoy all the available debauchery, please take note that the place also has a lot to offer for the spandexed brethren.
Having started racing while in my senior year at Florida State, I got a chance to enjoy riding in both Tallahassee and the Tampa Bay area. Both cities are unique in what they offer. Tallahassee is really close to Georgia so you can actually get a fair bit of riding in on some decent hills. Also, thanks to a city ordinance, canopy roads are protected throughout the county. So you’ll be able to enjoy miles and miles of rural roads all the while tucked in the shadow of the native Laurel Oaks.
Tampa Bay is a different beast entirely. In the bay area it’s all about group rides. Winning the coveted Tue, Thurs, and Sat group ride sprints is akin to approaching the holy grail of cycledom. The old cronies down there don’t give a damn about what category you are. Heck they might make fun of you for even having an inner chain ring. Also, please be wary that the sprint checkpoint in these group rides is constantly evolving to suit the needs of whichever alpha cyclist is in the group that day. If you think you won, then you didn’t, the real finish is now magically another 25 yrds down the rode.
Below are some great links to group rides in Tallahassee and Tampa Bay:
In addition, if anyone wants to get a race in while down south: