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West Orange Trail biking

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Well…I love me a good bargain.  I subscribe to Groupon, Living Social and ODeals (a local site in Orlando). We don’t often buy anything but occasionally we find a deal too good to pass up. On Living Social they were offering half-off a two-hour bicycle rental for two near our house. I have been begging Chad for a bike ever since we rode  in Indiana this past spring. I jumped at this opportunity thinking I can show Chad how much fun we can have riding bikes together and bring me one step closer to owning a bike of my own.

The weather was perfect when we arrived at West Orange Bikes and Blades in Oakland, Florida (about 16 miles west of Orlando). The shop is located in the Killarny station on the West Orange Trail. (They have another shop at the opposite end of the trail in Apopka).

a sign for Bikes and Blades West Orange Trail

a log cabin with a wrap around porch that houses bikes and blades on west orange trail

The West Orange Trail is a local biking and running trail that stretches from Apopka southwest into Lake Minneola in Lake County, Florida.  The West Orange Trail is 22 miles long and connects to the Lake Minneola Scenic Trail which allows for another 9 miles of fun.

We got on our bikes and started heading west towards Lake Minneola.  We were forewarned by the employee inside the shop that the western part of the trail was very hilly and 8 miles will feel more like 16.  Oh please!  This is Florida, we are known for our flat landscape…I mean how hard can a little hill be?

Hill #1)  I had to get off my bike and walk it up the hill.  Chad had no problem.

Now in my defense, the wind was also blowing about 20 mph against us.  Literally- I am not exaggerating when I say 20 mph and I will talk about the wind more later.

We went up and down hills, along highways, over the river and through the woods.  We were having a lot of fun.  (I didn’t have to walk up every hill…just a few of the real big ones).

Anna on a bike with a green sweatshirt on a shaded and wooded trail looking back at the camera

We got to the Minneola outpost in an hour and we knew Lake Minneola was just around the corner.  I surprised Chad (who thought I was ready to quit) and after we took a short little break we marched (well biked) forward.

a wooden gazebo with Minneola sign on it along the West Orange Trail

We had barely gone in additional 2 miles when we came across one of my most favorite places in Central Florida- Lake Minneola.  Chad and I used to visit here a lot where we would sit and watch the sunsets.  Again, it was a very windy day so the beach itself wasn’t crowded but it was a perfect day for both wind and kite surfers. We took a nice break and took in the scenery.

a park bench under an awning on the beach at Lake Minneola with a dock in the background

Mr Beet leaning on a pillar with his hat on backwards hands in his pockets looking out over a white sandy beach with Lake Minneola in the background

the author in a green sweatshirt on the white sandy beach with the Lake Minneola in the background

Now it was time to go back.  We had gone a little over 8 miles in a 20 mph headwind.  I was hurting.  My legs were on fire.  I wanted Chad to ride back, get the car and come get me.  However, he reminded me that we were now going to have a tailwind so we would be exerting less energy to return.  Um….ok….I’ll buy that.

The 20 mph headwind became a 20 mph tailwind and we were flying back to Oakland.  What took us about an hour and 15 minutes to get to Lake Minneola took us about 40 minutes to return.

We biked 17 miles total…I was so proud of myself.  I even took a self portrait of me and my bicycle to remember this moment.

a shadow of a girl and a bicylce on pavement

Chad was so proud of me he took me out for some Mexican bean burritos and chile rellenos.

I earned that chile relleno!!

a white plate of chili relleno cheese sour cream and tortillas

Wow…what a day.  I feel like I could bike another 50 miles……..except….OUCH!  I woke up in the middle of the night and my legs were aching and throbbing and the ibuprofen didn’t help and I couldn’t sleep so Chad told me to ice my legs but it is 30 degrees out and the house is already too cold and I am NEVER riding a bike again!!

We will be looking to buy me my own bicycle in the near future.

Helen Corbin

Monday 13th of February 2012

That sounds like a great time and I am very proud of you. Maybe we can plan on doing that when we come. Our most favorite thing was when we would ride the bike trails in Virginia/DC either down to Mount Vernon or into DC itself. We would ride into Georgetown and eat at Houston’s (our days of being VERY bad). We would have their huge hamburger, fries and the most fantastic dessert, the apple crisp with ice cream. THEN, we would ride the 17 miles back home. Needless to say, going there was MUCH MUCH easier than coming back home after that meal. The bike trails in Northern Virginia and DC were the best ever and, yes, even though we did this trip almost every Saturday, there were hills where I always had to get off and walk - not STEVE :-(

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