Bike the 50-Mile Tour de Picayune

Located in southwestern Florida, Picayune Strand State Forest is best known as the place in the 60s where gullible northerners bought 5 acres of choice Florida real estate only to find out it was mostly swampland. Roads were built and subdivisions created, but few people came. Lately, the paved roads have been removed in a massive restoration project to enhance the proper flow of water in the Everglades. So far, it’s been working with indigenous plants and birdlife returning to this vast acreage. This desolate stretch of the Everglades is where my brother and I went mountain biking in early December with our guide, Wes Wilkins, owner of Everglades Edge. We saw no other humans driving or biking as we headed out on dirt roads, surrounded by swamp waters. In their place were snapping turtles, tall wood storks, and alligators sunning on the banks of the streams. An avid biker, Wilkins also chairs the 50-mile Tour de Picayune, which takes place this year on February 4th. Even if you have no desire to race and win the cherished Durrwalker Cup, you can still sign up at Tour de Picayune to bike 50 miles of dirt roads lost in time, while spotting a wide selection of birdlife.