Biking Along Florida’s Lost Coast

In January and February of 2015 we packed up our Honda Civic with bikes , tent and gear and headed south to Florida's Lost Coast.

In January and February of 2015 we packed up our Honda Civic with bikes , tent and gear and headed south to Florida’s Lost Coast.

 

Florida's State Forests were lovely, well equipped with many interesting off road bike trail rides

Florida’s State Forests were lovely, well equipped with many interesting off road bike trail rides.

THomas standing beneath a huge, 200 year old Live Oak in the Highland Hammock State Park, FL.

Thomas standing beneath a huge, 700 – 1,000 year old Live Oak in the Highland Hammock State Park, FL.

Here is Madeline hart biking along the old gravel Dixie Highway

Here is Madeline hart biking along the old gravel Dixie Highway near Shired Island in the Suwannee National Wildlife Preserve.

BAYFIELD BIKE ROUTE OPEN FOR the 2015 SEASON

The 2015 Bayfield Bike Route Wrenchers

The 2015 Bayfield Bike Route Wrenchers

NEW SUMMER HOURS

BAYFIELD BIKE ROUTE is now open seven days a week from 9:00am – 5:00pm.

Welcome back far flung bikers from around the globe!

Trevor Martin, Chris Gefvert , Thomas Hart and Bazile will be around to help you with a tune up, a rental, a used or new bike, bike maps and any retail items that you might need.

The shop number: 715-209-6864

So come on over and say hello!

 

 

 

African Bike Trip: Departure Feb. 12, 2011

The frame is a 1990s Diamondback "Ascent X", steel wheels, heavy-duty/thorn-proof tubes, 6speed rear (14/28), front 30 tooth chainring, Falcon thumbie shifter, BMX platforms, full chrome fenders, custom steel front and rear racks and a custom paint job.

The frame is a 1990s Diamondback "Ascent X", steel wheels, heavy-duty/thorn-proof tubes, 6speed rear (14/28), front 30 tooth chainring, Falcon thumbie shifter, BMX platforms, full chrome fenders, custom steel front and rear racks and a custom paint job.

For the TL2 project, BBR is starting what we're calling "le cyclo-naturalisme"....or being a naturalist on a bike. I refurbished three older, steel-framed hybrids from the 80s, turning them into Africa wild-life watching bikes. Here's the one I made for myself.

For the TL2 project, BBR is starting what we're calling "le cyclo-naturalisme"....or being a naturalist on a bike. I refurbished three older, steel-framed hybrids from the 80s, turning them into Africa wild-life watching bikes. Here's the one I made for myself.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo

Area where the park lies between the Tshuapa, Lomami and the Luabala rivers.

Area where the park lies between the Tshuapa, Lomami and the Luabala rivers.

The plan for an eight to twelve day trip leaving from Kindu in the East. We cross several rivers in pirogues, some on tiny bridges.

The plan for an eight to twelve day trip leaving from Kindu in the East. We cross several rivers in pirogues, some on tiny bridges.

The few "tracks" that exist ford streams and after each rainy season need to be repaired. The area is mixed savanah and forest, flat (damn!, no climbing) and watery.

The few "tracks" that exist ford streams and after each rainy season need to be repaired. The area is mixed savanah and forest, flat (damn!, no climbing) and watery.

Some technical MTB skills required here and there. I'll get off and walk. Thank you! The roads are left over from Belgian logging operations. They are few and far between but bicycle travel is the main transport.

Some technical MTB skills required here and there. I'll get off and walk. Thank you! The roads are left over from Belgian logging operations. They are few and far between but bicycle travel is the main transport.

My brother, John Hart is a wild life zoologist/naturalist who has spent his life working for Conservation in (what was once Zaire) the Democratic Republic of Congo. He spent two decades working studying and establishing a reserve for the elusive forest giraffe known as the okapi. His study “parcel” was overrun in the vicious wars that spilled over into remote eastern Congo from Rwanda and Uganda in the 90s. It is functioning again but he and his wife Terese are currently working in an area of the Congo which has  never been studied: the dead center of the country in the region drained by three tributaries of the mighty Congo River: the Tshuapa, the Lomami and the Luabala. Thus the   acronym name for the park TL2. (See their website<www.bonobosincongo.com>  One of the principal interests in this are is the existence of the rare bonobo (sometimes called the “pygmy monkey), as well as hippos, elephants and more. It is savanah giving way to forest drained by many rivers: fertile territory for observing birds and mammals, fish and reptiles.

Brinks Road

Brinks Road NF 236 • 40 miles:
For this ride you may want to obtain Bayfield County Highway map, free from the bike shop or from the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce. The route will take the peloton through 25 miles of the Chequamegon National Forest on a little or no traveled, newly paved road. It passes several lost lakes (maybe for a short dip?) and continues up to the Moquah Barrens, a wild area preserved to demonstrate the  barren, scrubby ecology that is the natural  course of the high peninsula.
From Washburn (12 miles S of Bayfield on highway #13) take Co. highway C north about 10 miles to Valhalla ski trail head. After the Valhalla entrance climb the hill and look sharp for a left hand turn on the only paved road available. It’s about 1.5 miles beyond Valhalla and signed with “NF 236” to Ino and Highway #2. If you’ve driven in your car to this point, you’ll find a little pull-off to park on. The route begins here and gently rolls south some 22 miles south and west to highway #2 at the Ino Bar. With the county map you can find your way back to Washburn by using some of the same county highways that are used for the Superior Vistas Bike Tour held each June. Other- wise, simply turn around and return on #236. I guarantee you’ll not be disappointed.

Little Sand Bay Loop

 

Little Sand Bay Loop

LITTLE SAND BAY LOOP 27 milesOne of the most preferred outings among Bayfield cyclists takes riders north to the National Park headquarters at the tip of the peninsula and lops back through the orchards with a ripping descent back to town.Follow highway #13 north to Red Cliff. Stay on past the marina and casino watching for signs indicating County Highway K to Little Sand Bay/Nat’l. Park Hdq. Co.K turns right at the Town of Russell Garage.Little Sand Bay Loop

In the parking lot there’s a tiny shelter with a public well within. If you need to, water up with some more of the pristine beverage available on the peninsula.  Follow Co. K for about 5 miles. There are some terrific views of the lake off through the trees and at about the 4-mile mark you may want to pull over to visit Waters Edge Nursery and Garden the interesting permaculture commune operating here.Little Sand Bay Loop

Little Sand Bay Loop

Little Sand Bay Road is a right; clearly marked you will take it, slowly descending 3 miles to the very tip of the peninsula, as far out into the islands as the mainland will permit. It’s a great place to rest, water, swim, beach comb, boat and island watch, or visit the Park Headquarters interpretive display and commercial fishing museum.

Little Sand Bay Loop

Little Sand Bay Loop

Little Sand Bay Loop

To resume the ride you’ll deadhead back the way you came to Co. highway K. At the T go left and begin the gradual but persistent climb to the height of land at the Town of Russell Community Building. A long straight descent ends at State Highway #13 where you will go left.

Little Sand Bay Loop

Up here at the tip of the peninsula, traffic is almost non-existent but be alert and stay to the right. Continue on #13 for about 2.5 miles and look for Turner road that goes right. It’s at a crossroads with Peterson Hill Road (gravel) that goes left. You will roll on Turner for about 1.5 miles and arrive at a T on County Highway J. If you go right you’ll do some climbing up through the orchards (see Orchard Loop description). Take a left on J to begin the famous 3.5 mile descent to Bayfield. Co. highway J ends at Highway #13 and you’ll go right for a mile or so down to town; enjoying the view all the way.

Brownstone/Fish Hatchery/Blue Vista

Brown Stone/Fish Hatchery/Blue Vista

Anyone, young or old who wants to appreciate Bayfield: lake and orchard will certainly want to take the Brownstone/Hatchery/Blue Vista ride.  It is about 6-7 miles long and almost all flat or downhill.  (Of course there’s a mile and a half of good climbing through beautiful, mixed hardwoods in order to earn the descent.)
The ride starts immediately in front of the bike shop. A tiny kiosk (look for the hanging petunia basket) in the middle of the lumber company’s yard shows the way.  This is the Brownstone Trail, Bayfield’s only public access to the lakeshore.  The well marked, self -propelled trail follows 2.6 miles of an old railroad bed that used to run from north of Bayfield all the way to Washburn. Thanks to the Bayfield Regional Conservancy that wrestled furiously for years to create this wonderful trail, we now are able to walk, jog, ski and bike along the edge of the sandstone cliffs overlooking the lake from town to Port Superior marina in Salmo Bay.

Ride the trail  (follow the signs) all the way through to Port Superior Marina. Once there, check out the beautiful sailing yachts and the “marina life” then, look past the tennis courts for the entrance road leading out (100 yards) to Hiway # 13.  Cross the hiway (careful! It’s not a commercial road but look both ways) and go left, stay on the wide shoulder, down the hill about 200 yards to Hatchery Road, a right turn. This is your uphill for about 1.5 miles.  Before you turn on Hatchery Road to tackle this terrific climb, you may want to continue just a little farther on Hiway #13, over Pike’s Creek  (narrow bridge!!) to the Les Voigt State Fish Hatchery. Tours are offered throughout this historic brownstone facility and no one, (especially the children) can resist leaning over the tanks and ponds of different sized fish in constant choreographed motion, gazing for a spellbound interlude.  It’s worth the diversion!

Brown Stone/Fish Hatchery/Blue Vista
Re-cross Pike’s Creek and take Hatchery Road up the hill. It’s a good climb. Don’t be afraid to dismount and walk; you can see more wildlife. At the top you find yourself at Four Corners.  Straight ahead and to the right lies Co. Road J, to the left is Star Route. You want to turn right. You’ll see Blue Vista farm immediately on your right.

Brownstone/Fish Hatchery/Blue Vista

The farm is open to the public every day except Tuesdays and it must be visited. Fruits, flowers, vegetables and a magnificent view of the entire Chequamegon Bay await you and you’ll want to linger in the flower garden and soak it all in.

Brownstone/Fish Hatchery/Blue Vista

Brownstone/Fish Hatchery/Blue Vista

When you return out to Co. J, a breathtaking descent awaits you back down to Bayfield. If you should want another adventure, look for the sign to the golf course (a left) and make the steep winding climb up to the clubhouse and another famous view, this time of the Apostle Islands. At the bottom of Co. J you will turn left and ride the shoulder of  Highway #13, ½ mile to town. You may want to this ride every day of your visit!