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Take a Touring Ride Though Florida   by Tyler Powers


There are some beautiful places to ride in every state of the union. Florida, however, with its mild winters and helmet optional law, is a very popular state for motorcycle vacations - especially around Daytona's Bike Week or Biketoberfest.

You'll find some really great spots to ride from the Panhandle to Key West. Along the way, you'll run into lots of other motorcycle enthusiasts to share the road with.

· Let's begin in the northwestern portion of the Panhandle of Florida. Panama City and Pensacola are both great beach rides. Pamana City offers "The Miracle Mile" right on the beach where everyone, bikers or not, slowly cruises to see the sight of the neon night.

· Crossing Interstate 10 over to Jacksonville, you'll find Jacksonville to be a great spot for nightlife and beaches as well. All the fun of a big city combine with the peaceful beaches to make Jax, as it is commonly called, a perfect stop on your Florida trip.

· Turn down Interstate 95 from Jacksonville and you'll find St. Augustine just an hour's right south. Head toward the beach through this quaint little town to find the historic section where the Spaniards first established themselves in this country. Tour the fort, take a horse and buggy ride, visit the old drug store and oldest school house in the U.S. and much more.

· From St. Augustine, you can head south again and, around Ormond Beach, head over to U.S. 1 for your ride into Daytona Beach. At the Speedway, turn east and head for Boothill Saloon, the Iron Horse, and all the beach spots. Come prepared to party because Daytona is a fun beach town. Stop at Daddy Rat's and other unique beach shops and ride "The Loop" which is a well-known run beginning north at the Granada Bridge on John Anderson Drive in Ormond Beach. Continue north to Highbridge Road, turn left and go over the Inter-Coastal Waterway, the Halifax River by any other name. Enjoy the winding turns until you approach Walter Boardman Road where you turn left to Old Dixie Highway. Take another left and you'll be heading south into Ormond Beach. This 22 miles of Florida's beauty is a traditional run for Bike Week or Biketoberfest participants.

· Back on I-95, or if you prefer the scenic route, going south on U.S. 1, you'll come to Titusville, Florida where you'll want to stop and tour Kennedy Space Center. Nearby Cocoa Beach makes a great overnight stop or camp at the Great Outdoor right in Titusville.

· Continue south on I-95 and you'll find yourself in the Florida Keys after a few hours. Be sure to miss the Miami traffic and stay on I-95 South. Miami isn't a fun ride due to the crowds! If you do want to stop in Miami, take a tour through South Beach. Once you enter the Florida Keys, you'll see a whole different side of Florida. The life is slow and easy in the keys. The Seven-Mile Bridge really is seven miles long. At the end of the road, Key West awaits! See the sunset at the southern most point and do the Duvall Crawl with the other parties, but remember to drink responsibly.

· Heading back up from the Florida Keys, take the Florida Turnpike into Orlando for a day of fun with Mickey Mouse or one of the other theme parks in Orlando.

· From Orlando, Interstate-4 will head you right back to Daytona for another day or another week of fun in the sun. If you prefer, you can cruise the back roads of the west coast of Florida for a trip you'll remember. But you won't find places like Daytona Beach on that trip.

Most importantly, no matter where you decide to travel in Florida, remember that the helmet laws is a helmet-optional, but you only have the option if you carry $100,000 medical coverage on your motorcycle policy. If you are riding with minimum coverage and get stopped, the fines can be high. Also, remember that even though Florida has rescinded the helmet law, it certainly hasn't improved those cage drivers watching for bikers! Keep a close watch on them because anything can happen when a northern tourist in a cage sees a pretty palm tree!

You'll find Florida bikers are friendly, helpful people, always ready to share with you the next great campground on the road or the next biker-friendly bar or restraint or the next good bike mechanic. Enjoy your ride through the Sunshine State!

About the Author

Tyler Powers is a contributing author and webmaster for http://www.custom-choppers-guide.com . You can get a special free mini course on motorcycle building mistakes at http://www.custom-choppers-guide.com/building-mistakes.html .




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