One of my favorite past times is hitting the trails on my bicycle and exploring Florida’s natural areas. So on a sunny Saturday in December, I strapped my Trek FX3 on my bike rack and drove out to explore the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trial (LOST) on the Herbert Hoover Dike. I parked on the Clif Betts, Jr., Lakeside Recreation Area (Formerly Lock 7, Jaycee Park), 200 State Road 78 West, Okeechobee, FL at the Intersection of Highway 441N & State Road 78 W. Its the park with the amazing fishing peer at the north end of Lake Okeechobee. According to the South Florida Water Management District literature, LOST is a 110-mile trail on the Herbert Hoover Dike and is part of the Florida National Scenic Trail.
About the trail
I only had time to explore the northern portion of LOST. Its paved. I didn’t notice any potholes. You will get a great view of the lake. There were a few drawbacks. There is no natural shading. The wind can pick up over the water, and I noticed it did slow me down from time to time. Its also not completely continuous. There are locks that interrupt the trail for boat traffic and flood control. I had to skip off the trail, jump over to the main highway and cross a narrow bridge on US 441. Despite these drawbacks, biking the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail is pretty amazing.
Bicycling during the pandemic
If any good has come out of this pandemic, it’s the resurgence of bicycle riding. People were feeling cooped up at home found bicycle riding a great way to remain healthful and active. Consumer Reports wrote a good article about this issue.
Birding and wildlife on the Scenic Trail
The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles maintains a website with some tips on bicycle safety.
Bicycle Safety for Parents and Children
- Make sure all equipment on the bicycle is in working order (brakes, gears, tires, etc.).
- All bicycle riders and passengers under age 16 are required by Florida Law to wear a helmet. Always wear a properly fitted helmet and securely fasten the strap.
- Wear appropriate shoes (such as sneakers). Avoid wearing flip-flops or riding barefoot.
- Be seen. Wear neon or fluorescent or bright colors when riding and wear something that reflects light (reflective shoes, reflective tape, etc.).
- Pay attention. Do not wear headphones so that you can hear the traffic and pedestrians around you. Never text and ride.
- Ride in the same direction as traffic and stay as far to the right as possible. Use bike lanes whenever you can.
- Obey all traffic laws, including signs, signals and lane markings, when riding on the roadway. If crossing a roadway upon or along a crosswalk, abide by pedestrian crossing guidelines.
- Never attach yourself or your bike to any vehicle on a roadway.
- If riding between the hours of sunset and sunrise, Florida Law requires that the front of the bike be equipped with a headlight lamp which exhibits a white light visible for 500 feet, and the rear of the bike equipped with a taillight lamp and reflector visible for 600 feet.
- Cross at intersections and never pull out into the roadway from between parked cars.
- If riding on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk, yield to pedestrians and give them an audible signal (such as, “passing on your left”) before overtaking and passing them.
Consumer Reports. Bike riding safety tips for new and experienced riders.
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety.Okeechobee County. Okeechobee Parks
South Florida Water Management District. Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail.
USDA Forest Service. Florida National Scenic Trail.