2209 W Orange Trail
Apopka, FL 32703
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Today I was excited to ride through DeBary. I left Deleon Springs with extremely sore thighs not being helped by the cold air and rolled into JC’s bike shop where the owner JC Figueredo joined the tour and showed me what professional biking looks like.
Coming into DeBary, Chris Goodreau, an outdoor enthusiast that regularly runs 100 mile marathons also jumped in on the ride and we all rolled in to the new DeBary Police Department that was just built and met by Barry Cotton, our District Representative for Congressman Mica, Councilman Rick Dwyer, and several other followers.
The Captain gave a tour of the facility and showed off some of the highlights of this cutting edge addition to the city. It’s a first rate facility for a first rate law enforcement service that DeBary can be very proud of. I did a little hard time for admitting to not wearing a helmet for a portion of the ride.
We took off and hopped onto DeBary’s bike trail leading to the St Johns River and knocked out a good bit more distance before I called it a day. I was picked up to come home for the night so I could attend a city meeting regarding growth around our new train-station, tune up my bicycle, and enjoy the company of my lovely wife. I’ll be dropped off where I left off tomorrow morning to carry on to the Southernmost Point.
I was reminded today as I rolled in of how much I love DeBary and am proud to call this city home.
So, about those Volusia trails…
Between sister cities Deleon Springs and Deland, are a segmented mishmash of 2 short bike trails and 3 sections of no trails or sidewalks, all on the same road. Getting back to the trail from Deland is out of the way and ends at French Avenue. At the end, is a section leading to quite literally nowhere that is under construction (picture). From that location to DeBary and before I could get on our existing trail and into Seminole County’s trail system, I also managed to get a flat tire.
There was recently a newspaper article about the “difficulty of building a trail” just before another article where the County spokesperson cries poor-mouth about funding difficulties in building a trail. The main difficulties & subsequent expense seemed to revolve around creating us, downs, twists, turns, tunnels, & bridges, which begs the question… Is it better to have a functional but more standard trail or no trail but non-specific plans to build one with super amenities “one day”?
Before you answer, allow me to offer a few more facts from this experience worth considering:
- Riding on the road due to lack of trails is dangerous for bikers & drivers causing more flats and potential for injury.
- Many of the trails I rode on so far were built on old railroad lines which are perfectly straight but all still heavily & happily used.
- Amenities such as tunnels, bridges, and even turns can be added after the initial trail is in and functional adding later excitement.
- The tunnel that is being built is one of the biggest waste of money and manpower I’ve seen in local government. Details:
Under French Ave in Orange City, (where the trail currently ends) they are preparing to put in an extravagant tunnel, seemingly to keep up with Seminole County that has 2 premier tunnels in their course. I took a picture of all 3 locations and their corresponding intersections for clarity.
Both top tunnels are burrowing under 7 lane highways with HEAVY traffic use. The bottom one is going under a quiet, country, 2 lane side road which is only traveled by people visiting the nearby state park, on the same road a rider would be forced to use anyway should they decide to visit that amenity. Instead of the estimated 29 days of concrete curing and who knows how much more money & time, 4 bucket loads of dirt from a nearby tractor I noticed would level things off and it will be ready for pavement.
C’mon Volusia County… After gifting $20 Million dollars to Daytona to spur development, and countless other subsidies to outside projects, will you please get with the program, find a contractor & engineer that can get something as simple as this done in a
single generation, and connect the darn trails!? A phone call to Duke Energy to finalize easements is a great and very inexpensive place to start.
Enough of that for now. Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Kissimmee via Winter Garden and couldn’t be more excited for the next few days of destinations. Thanks for all the support and it’s *Key West or Bust* after today!