Tampa Bay Sports Day

New Website Showcases Florida’s Mountain Biking Scene

Loyce E. Harpe Park Mountain Bike Trails

Mountain biking in Florida?

At first glance, this is a perfectly reasonable question for the uninitiated to ponder. Florida is a relatively flat state after all.

But when you begin to dig a little deeper, you’ll quickly discover that the Sunshine State – from the Everglades to the Ocala National Forest – has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the country, with elevations running the gamut from 0 to approximately 320 feet above sea level. Dig further and you’ll be surprised to learn that Florida is home to some of the most unique and exciting single-track mountain bike trails in the U.S.; in fact, a couple have been recognized as some of the best trails in the nation. A few of these trails were designed by trail architects on reclaimed phosphate mines, creating some noteworthy features and thrilling runs.

Alafia River State Park Wood Berm

Wherever your mountain biking research may lead you, your first visit should be to StokedMTB.com (Stoked MTB®), a new website that showcases Florida as a world-class mountain biking destination. Designed to be a comprehensive resource for mountain biking experts and beginners alike, the site includes links to the best trail locations in Florida, downloadable maps, riding tips and more – all anchored by thoughtful design principles.

This focus on strong design makes sense, considering Stoked MTB is the passion project of mountain biking enthusiast Frank Rodriguez, owner and creative director of Mighty Fine Design Co., an Ybor City-based creative ad agency that’s operated in Tampa for the past decade. A Florida native and lifelong resident, Rodriguez first got into mountain biking a couple of decades ago, though he initially noticed that not all trails are created equal. His perception of Florida mountain biking completely changed, however, when he first rode the Alafia River State Park trail.

“It was the first time I realized Florida had expertly carved trails that were designed to challenge riders of all skill levels – ‘they’re the most fun you’ll have on a bike!'” he shared.

“Mountain biking is the closest thing to meditation I can achieve, especially in this world filled with distractions. It enables incredibly clear, relaxed thinking because you just have to watch the line that’s in front of you at all times while clearing obstacles.”

On StokedMTB.com, Rodriguez has included a carefully curated list of top trails Florida has to offer, utilizing criteria that includes well-maintained parks and trails, good single tracks, bike club associations, professional trail design and, perhaps most importantly, an enjoyable ride experience.

The highly accessible community website also includes a selection of redesigned trail maps, which were inspired by Italian designer Massimo Vignelli’s iconic 1970s NYC subway line diagrams. Rodriguez hopes the site delivers an excellent user experience through its intuitive navigation and astute design.

“Our goal with Stoked MTB is to reach all audiences and give back to the MTB community – from expert-level riders to individuals and families who’ve never tried mountain biking before but can still enjoy this activity on the weekends while strengthening bonds and building lasting memories,” Rodriguez explained.

If you’re considering getting into mountain biking (a great social-distancing activity), Rodriguez offered some parting insight:

“This is always my advice: just have fun. If you truly enjoy it, you’ll be at the expert level in no time. Work your way up to trying the harder stuff and take some chances along the way, while knowing your limits. The reward is plentiful.”

Cover Image: Loyce E. Harpe Park Mountain Bike Trails