2016 Jim Schmid bicycles 6.4-mile Waldo Road Greenway, Depot Ave Trail, and Kermit Sigmon Bike Trail – Gainesville, FL

Gainesville, FL is not only a great town for biking, but also for just hanging out. With a major University you have lots of neat places to hang out, eat, and shop. While in town I stopped in at the Florida Trail Association (FTA) to spend some time with Janet Akerson (Administrative Director). The day I was there was her 14 year anniversary working for FTA. Besides being the main person at FTA Janet and her husband, Randy, own Burrito Brothers – a very popular local restaurant. I really enjoyed working with her back when I was the Florida National Scenic Trail administrator working for the National Forests in Florida. Fun to catch up.

The following three trails took me across Gainesville from northeast to southwest.

First I biked the Waldo Road Greenway which parallels Waldo Road and ends next to Gainesville Regional Airport. Was a quick out and back. Since these are urban trails it’s a little tricky finding a place to park. There’s no trailheads or parks. I ended up parking at a Walgreens.

There’s a lot of road construction and a new park under development that has changed the Depot Ave Trail quite a bit. I biked the trail years ago. Was interesting to see all the changes. I was very glad that they are preserving the Fallen Cyclists Memorial sculptures dedicated to the six cyclists that were hit from behind by a pickup killing two of the cyclists and seriously injuring the other four on December 26, 1996. Bike Florida is raising funds to maintain the sculptures. The big improvement I really liked was the improved pedestrian bridge over SW 13th Street. Which takes you across a very busy highway to the University of Florida and Shand Hospital.

On the west side of the bridge you pick up the Kermit Sigmon Bike Trail for less than a mile. Out and back I ended up biking 13 miles. In that 6.4 miles you sure see a lot of Gainesville.