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13.7 Mile Brompton Bike Ride around Flatwoods Wilderness Park (Tampa, FL)

13.7 Mile Brompton Bike Ride around Flatwoods Wilderness Park (Tampa, FL)
Maya
  • On November 1, 2018

Cooler weather has begun in Central Florida (high 70°Fs – 80°Fs), so outdoor exploration is easier to do. We dusted off our Brompton folding bikes. In search for a trail that our thin bike tires can easily maneuver, we found a trail surfaced in asphalt – Flatwoods Wilderness Park: a paved loop that provides a wooded environment with abundant wildlife (such as armadillo, turtles, hawks, and deer to name a few)… with an extension which connects Bruce B. Downs Boulevard for a few extra miles to add the ride.

Address

14302 Morris Bridge Road
Thonotosassa, FL 33592

Trail Activities

• Bike / Cycling
• Inline Skating
• Wheelchair Accessible
• Walking / Jogging

Amenities

• Parking: $2/vehicle
• Water Stations / Shaded Rest Areas
• Air Station & Bike Wash
• Restrooms

More Info

Flatwoods Park

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Pay Station

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Pay Station

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Pay Station

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Trail Map

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Woody Biking

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Woody Biking

We had past a path that went right. Yes, we explored it which ended up to be a dead end. Got back to the main path and here we found our first water station / rest area. Not too far and to the left of this area is where we caught the actions of an owl swooping down to catch a squirrel… with success. Didn’t catch it on camera but it was a cool thing to witness.

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Water Station Rest Area

This section was called the "Clay Gully"

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Clay Gully

We spotted a Wood Stork in the distance.

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Wood Stork

Another water station where we decide if we want to push towards Bruce B Downs for another 4-miles roundtrip. Answer: Of course!

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Water Station

We still haven’t purchased a gel padded saddle for our Bromptons, so from time to time we need to stretch our legs and give our rumps a rest.

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Stretching Our Legs

We followed the trail and found a T crossing. We kept following left and found a sign. Good we stopped to read it. We were going the wrong way, if we wanted to head towards Bruce B Downs. Back tracking again.

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - T crossing

If we rode on the asphalt, there was absolutely no shade. We saw a few joggers down below in a dirt / gravel trail and thought to give that a go on the return trip. Shaded but more challenging with the thin tires on the Brompton.

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Asphalt

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Bruce B Downs Boulevard Trail

Other than a few rest stops to read the trail map or check out a view to stretch our legs, we were really going non-stop. At around 11 miles in we took a much deserved, shaded rest.

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Shaded Rest Stop at 11 miles

FIRST TIME: SEEING THE GIANT EASTERN LUBBER GRASSHOPPER

Q: Have you ever seen a grasshopper 3-4 inches? Well, this was our first time and this guy is huge! We noticed quite a few on the asphalt trail. They didn’t seem skittish at all to the bikes as they seemed not to hop away.

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Florida's Giant Orange Grasshopper

"This giant, slow moving grasshopper’s bright orange, yellow and red colors are a warning that it contains toxins and will make any potential predator sick. If for any reason, you fail to heed the color warning and pick it up, the grasshopper makes a loud hissing noise and secretes an irritating foul-smelling foamy spray.

These 4-inch grasshoppers are too large and toxic for most natural predators, so they don’t need to move fast. Lubbers cannot fly far, and travel in short clumsy hops, or walk and crawl slowly through the vegetation. They feed on broadleaf plants and can become a nuisance when swarms invade residential areas and feast on garden plants. Lubbers seem to be unaffected by most insecticides, and according to experts at the University of Florida, if they become a garden pest, the best way to get rid of them is to stamp on them, or ‘hand pick’ them and drown them in a bucket of soapy water." – Wild Florida

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Florida's Giant Orange Grasshopper

Q: Do you find these giant insects: Creepy or Cool?

Flatwoods Wilderness Trail - Florida's Giant Orange Grasshopper

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QUESTION: What type of wildlife is always a welcome sight on your trips outdoors?

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