News To Use / Trails

The Journey Across Florida: One Man’s Coast-to-Coast Mission

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No support teams. No chase vehicles. Just a person on a bike trying to finish.

This was the mission of Gerry Kinnard. Kinnard recently rode his bike 250 miles across the state of Florida from New Smyrna Beach to Yankeetown. It took him 39.5 hours. He wasn’t allowed to have help from anyone—no food—not even water.

Journalist Eric Barton exhumed Kinnard’s feat in the article “Coast to Coast,” which appeared in Boca Magazine. He detailed the physical and mental strength it takes to complete this trail, the dangers of forging your own path and the victory of completing the act.

“When I finished, the sense of accomplishment was incredible,” Kinnard said in the article “We go to work every day and just sit at a desk and send emails, but hey, here I am, I just rode across Florida.”

Kinnard set his coast-to-coast goal when he hit 250 pounds. He hired a trainer, lost 90 pounds and practiced six days a week to complete the Central Florida Individual Time Trial. And he did it on his first try.

What makes this feat even more impressive is that Florida’s Coast to Coast Connector isn’t finished yet. It’s not even close. Kinnard had to ride without a cohesive trail, at times navigating busy highways and forest trails that are barely maintained.

Good news for the rest of us, though…

The Florida Department of Transportation is closing the gaps. Their plan focuses on closing about 69 miles of gaps between St. Petersburg and Titusville and is 75 percent complete.

Since this is the first of its kind in Florida, it will likely bring even more visitors to the state.

“Florida is a flat state, so there are lots of riders that can accomplish this, and it can be done year-round,” Lisa Portelli, a board member of Bike/Walk Central Florida, said in the same article. “Because of this, the trail is going to become a major tourism draw.”

According to the latest 2019-2023 Plan, the project identifies and prioritizes trails and greenways that will connect 547 miles of existing trails across the state. This plan keeps various recreational activities in mind, including biking, hiking, horseback riding and walking.

Since 2013, 59 projects have been designated in the Florida Greenways and Trails System, totaling nearly 225,000 acres and 756 trail miles.

Congratulations Gerry! We can’t wait until the C2C is finished, and your journey becomes much easier.

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