How to bike to work in Florida?
July 31, 2006 11:12 AM   Subscribe

How can I bike to work in Florida?

I am moving to Florida. I will live less than 4 miles from my work and I'd like to try to commute by bike. The trouble is that I can't figure out a path that doesn't involve being in major traffic. I'm not a confident enough biker to ride in full traffic. Also, I need to cross a highway to get there. Here's the path (it's in Orlando):

My path to work.

Of course, I'm looking for an alternate path.

These biking maps (PDFs) cover this area but don't show how to avoid heavy traffic or how to cross the highway:

Map 5
Map 6

Any ideas?
posted by underwater to Travel & Transportation around Florida (10 answers total)
Take parallel streets with less traffic. For example, your map shows a north-south street, "Summerlin Ave," that appears to have less traffic than the route Google chose.

Remember that you can carry your bike across parks, walk it along sidewalks against traffic, and do all sorts of other stuff that aren't available to cars. Maps meant for cars are bad at showing you this stuff. Explore routes on a weekend to get a better idea of a good way to get there.
posted by profwhat at 11:28 AM on July 31, 2006

Choose of the side streets that goes all the way, or almost all of the way. Try to cross the highway where there are no entrance or exit ramps. Maybe there is a pedestrian/ bike bridge nearby? You should spend an afternoon either biking or driving around trying out different routes. It is better, I think, to increase the distance of the ride a mile or more and have a pleasant ride then dealing with a busy street and highway crossing. If you absolutely have to ride on a busy street, perhaps try riding on the sidewalk. This is never a good idea if there are a lot of people walking around, but if it seems like there aren't any pedestrians, then I would go for it. Just remember if you do see walkers, you have to either get off your bike or get on the street.
posted by sulaine at 11:29 AM on July 31, 2006

quick tip: get google earth or switch the google map to hybrid view. you can see what is actually on that route, rather then looking at yellow and white lines.
posted by Mach5 at 11:34 AM on July 31, 2006

Yuck. Your best bet might be to head west to Rosalind Ave, in fact you might have to go south to Briarcliff just to get there. Once you're on Rosalind, it looks like you have a straight shot of low-to-moderate interaction up to where you can take a side street to your office.

Maybe you can find a local bike club or advocacy group. Here in NYC we have Transportation Alternatives, which not only publishes a decent map, but is always badgering the city to improve bike and pedestrian facilities. If there is nonesuch in your area, maybe it's time to start something.

You're definitely going to need some experimentation to get the route right. Leave half an hour early for a while and try out the options.
posted by maniabug at 11:37 AM on July 31, 2006

The best tool for finding decent bike routes besides actually riding around is Google Maps, using the hybrid view and high zoom levels.

It looks like you could go up S. Orange and take a left on Butler, which turns into Center after a left turn. From there you could go right on Pineloch and take that to Delaney. Follow Delaney for a couple of miles until it tees with W. Gore. Take a left. Go under I4 and take a right on N Parramore, which you can take to W. Amelia.

(I got my Orienteering patch in Boy Scouts.)

Things to remember:
  • It's often best to take a right, then pull a quick U-turn than try to make an unprotected left turn across several lanes.
  • Use the cross-walk if you need to, but walk your bike.
  • Riding on the sidewalk is not OK. If you need to ride your bike on the sidewalk in order to avoid being hit by a car, you shouldn't be in the street. (In California, it also means you have the legal right to occupy the entirety of the lane; check your state vehicle code.)
  • Wear a helmet and gloves.
  • Buy The Art Of Urban Cycling by Robert Hurst. It's a great read.
Ride safe!
posted by Coda at 11:45 AM on July 31, 2006

You won't need to cross over either highway; both I-4 and the 408 are elevated for the most part, so you can cross underneath at most intersections; almost all of the entrance and exit ramps around there have stoplights, too. A significant part of I-4 across from the Church Street area is also all parking underneath the interstate, so you could easily cut across there.

I'd stay off of Orange if at all possible just south of and around the 408 -- Maybe cut around Lucerne Circle, past the Junior League house (under the 408) and go up through downtown on Magnolia instead of Orange.

(I work only two miles or so from you; traffic around and through downtown can be bad in the mornings, but it's not unbearable.)
posted by ThatSomething at 11:50 AM on July 31, 2006

Welcome to the biking hell that is Orlando. This is not a very biking friendly city, but in that area there are a few less traveled side streets you can use. I'd get a good map and check out possible alternative routes and then test ride a few of them on a weekend 1st, then try the one you feel is the best on a workday. Anyway, welcome to town! I'm out in Seminole county where there are some nice recreational bike trails, but none that really help in commuting.
posted by white_devil at 11:53 AM on July 31, 2006's maps have a "walking directions" options, which avoids highways. Here it is, if this is helpful.
posted by illegiblemess at 12:07 PM on July 31, 2006

The other method of making a left turn I've seen recommended is to ride straight through the intersection, pull up at the curb on the other side, and then walk the bike across the crosswalk with the pedestrians at the light change. Remount as you cross and then bike away.

Slower, yes, but requires no fancy maneuvering or worrying about oncoming traffic.
posted by chrominance at 12:17 PM on July 31, 2006

This looks like a pedestrian overpass on I-4. So you could cross over then go north.
posted by jjj606 at 5:29 PM on July 31, 2006

« Older One man's shirt, and 5 women's? That'll be $50...   |   This contract's binding, right? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.