by Kiko Matsing
One of the few amenities of college-town living is the bike-friendly environment, not just on campus, but also around town. I could not imagine investing in a good bicycle in Houston. The city is just too urban and too sprawled; cars and trucks rule the roads over there. Gainesville, however, offers not just paved nature trails, like Hawthorn, which forms part of the Florida State Parks, there are also bike lanes along its main arteries, that, if strung together, provide quite a formidable workout. We did exactly that last Saturday and traced a liver-shaped loop around the city’s periphery, starting from 34th Street and SE Williston, to NE Waldo past the airport, then turning west on 53rd Street, and finally south on 34th Street–all in all a little over 22 miles (35 km). The Waldo leg in particular was pretty with its well-tended plants. It takes, however, a bit of bravado to ride along vehicles gunning at 45-55 mph (70-90 kph), as these are major thoroughfares, and thus busy even on the weekends. What’s more, just for the heck of it, we did the 32-mile (roundtrip) Hawthorn trail the following day, clocking more than 54 miles (86 km) total! We were plodding home, though, at the end of it.