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Thursday, November 30, 2023

“I want to ride my bicycle”: Tips for new Gainesville cyclists

In case you haven’t noticed, we love bicycles here. Quick, cheap, eco-friendly transportation. It’s great exercise and you’ll always find parking. Here is a guide on getting your bike on on our great city.

There are a ton of bike stores around here. These establishments will help with all fixes: if your lock gets rained on and rusts shut, if you get in an accident (knock on wood), if you need to buy a tube replacement, etc.

Tip: Road bikes are light and designed to move quickly on paved roads.

Once you have your bike, start going around town. There are great streets around here. Second Avenue has nice, wide bike lanes and runs parallel to university; a great alternative if you are headed downtown.


Gainesville has a great bike trail. There are more, but some argue that this is the best.

Hawthorne State Trail

Length: 16.5 miles

Trail surfaces: Asphalt

This trail leads to neighboring city, Hawthorne. If you finish the whole trail (which plenty do) it will spit you out 16 miles away. Get off the saddle and treat yourself, I hear there is an awesome barbecue restaurant there. Alas, I don’t know for sure, I’ve never completed the trail.

This path has plenty of beautiful views and wildlife as it runs through Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.

The trail is always well maintained and the bike path is about 10-feet wide. There are plenty of places to enter the trail as well as a few benches and even a water fountain. There is also a horse path or two, and they take precedence in those areas, so allow them to cross.

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Tip: Many of the people biking the trail are very serious. Be respectful, stay to the right and allow people to pass you.

The trail offers pavilions overlook the prairie. Per the park’s orders, visitors are not to feed the alligators. Don’t ignore this — they are fast and can be annoyed if you are near Mama Gator’s nest. Also, dogs are not permitted.

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