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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone from the Pensacola, Fla, area who can update me on the condition of roads at Pensacola Beach and Santa Rosa Island national seashore? My wife grew up in Pensacola and we have gone down there for years, but the roads where totally unrideable last summer due to damage from Hurricane Ivan. I hear that that they had more damage last summer and some of the roads might still be unpassable. I used to bring my bike with me down there every summer and ride from Pensacola Beach to Navarre or Fort Pickens every day, but won't bother bringing my bike if the roads are still ruined.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Is nobody around here familiar with roads in Pensacola? I'm leaving tomorrow and still don't know if the beach roads are passable. Any help from Floridians or travelers there would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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I haven't been all the way to Pensacola in a while (I'm in the PCB east), but I had no problems riding through Santa Rosa Beach about a week ago. The roads aren't ideal, sure, but they were rideable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What I'm trying to find out is if you can take State Route 399 east to Navarre Beach or west to Fort Pickens. Generally the traffic is very light on these roads and scenery is fantastic, but the roads were all washed out last summer from Hurricane Ivan. I have heard they were further damaged from H. Dennis, but haven't been able to find out if they are passable yet on road and/or mountain bikes.

Yes, it is very hot and humid in Pensacola, but I'm used to that. I usually ride first thing in the morning before it gets too hot.
 

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tarwheel2 said:
What I'm trying to find out is if you can take State Route 399 east to Navarre Beach or west to Fort Pickens. Generally the traffic is very light on these roads and scenery is fantastic, but the roads were all washed out last summer from Hurricane Ivan.
FL DOT does not list any construction on FL 399. If it was still in bad shape, it would most likely be under reconstruction.

http://www.dot.state.fl.us/publicinformationoffice/construc/constmap/d3.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I called the Gulf Islands National Seashore directly, and they told me that the roads are still out. You can ride a fat-tired or mountain bike to Fort Pickens, but might have to walk your bike through the sand in spots. They said the road to Navarre is totally gone/closed.

What a shame. I've been cycling there for years and it was great. I'm not a beach person, and it helped me keep my sanity while on vacation there with the family. I would generally get up each morning before anyone else and ride to either Navarre (35 miles round trip) or Fort Picken (25-30 miles) each day, logging about 150 miles for the week. Guess I'll have to find something else to do this time.
 

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I have relatives in Pcola and last visited in February. Before I went I asked and was told that the road on Pcola Beach was still in pretty bad shape so I found a bunch of routes on the dragonsports.com site. Although, I was informed most were pretty dangerous due to the fact that a lot of construction is going on with road improvements. I was basically advised against my chosen routes. So I went up to Blackwater State Forest/Park and rode a loop there. As I recall it is farther up near Holt but did not take long to get to. Very low traffic route but there are a few miles on SR4 (fast logging trucks). I would do it again if it came to that, but I would much rather ride from Ft. Pickens and Navarre. That was the perfect, scenic, fast route.
Hit these people up in their forum, I am sure they'll know for sure what shape that road is in.
http://www.wfw-pensacola.com/

Post what you find out, it might be time for another free vacation to Pcola soon....
 

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tarwheel2 said:
Guess I'll have to find something else to do this time.
You could always find another route. There are several teams and good shops in Pcola. I'd hate to think they all stopped riding just because 399 is closed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Regarding other routes, well .... We're staying on Pensacola Beach and to reach the mainland you have to cross a toll bridge and drive about 10-15 miles. It would take up the better part of a day to drive into town, ride and return to the beach. Part of what makes my cycling there doable is that I get up early and ride before most of the family is up, so I don't interfere with any other vacation plans. If I were to take off every day for 4-6 hours to go ride that would cause some major problems with she-who-must-be-obeyed.
 

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Yeah I had a feeling, as that area was totally obliterated. If they had rebuilt the road so quickly you likely would have had it all to yourself as not much survived out there. The sign to Pcola beach was destroyed 2 years ago (I think), replaced last year, and destroyed again then. You might know which one I am talking about, at the foot of the bridge with the Marlin, etc.... Anyhow, my point is that that area is just getting beat. I know the boardwalk area is pretty much rebuilt, good restaurants, etc.
If you were in to the drive (maybe 30 mins.) the route up at Blackwater was 30 miles, and I am pretty sure there were options for 60 or more. I got that route from dragonsports.com. And my bro-n-law confirmed it was a low traffic loop, and it was. The route I wanted to do was out to Perdido Key. It left from a bike shop there near Navy Blvd. This was the route I was informed was under construction but might be an option now. As I recall it went out Gulf Beach Hwy. (292) to Perdido Key.
 

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You could swim from Pcola beach to the barrier island that begins Perdido Key then ride from there...... Run, bike, swim...... :D

I understand your pain, I was fortunate enough to have my bro-n-law to have the need to leave too. So he fished, I rode, all was bliss.
 

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Gra09 said:
Anyhow, my point is that that area is just getting beat.
It's true. It really freaked me out that after Ivan they reopened the other I-10 bridge that hadn't been used in years and didn't even have guard rails anymore. They put up some temporary ones, but geesh. Driving over nothing but metal grating and seeing water underneath you and water on both sides is... not the most fun experience. They had made impressive progress repairing the big I-10 bridge when Dennis rolled through and essentially reversed it. I was excited, too, because they were almost done with all that 210 loop construction crap and I thought for once I could get through the FL panhandle, 'bama, and Miss without running into major road construction (lousianna I can always count on for torn up roads) until Ivan barrelled in. Oh, well. That's life in Fl.

Essentially, the entire state's been getting beat up pretty badly the last couple of years because of the short winters. We had another warm winter this year, so I'm pretty much counting on at least one bad one.
 

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I was in Gulf Shores last August. The roads were fine but there was a LOT of construction going on everywhere.
 

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Riding Pensacola...

I live on the west side of Pensacola. I have always hated riding Pensacola beach, even when the road was fine (pre Ivan). It is the only place in the area where I consistently get hassled by drivers. You can ride over the bridge to Pensacola no problem. I have done it at least 60 times. Maybe more. Head into town and get on scenic highway. Nice ride. Otherwise, ride right through town to Perdido Key. It is about 25 miles from Pensacola Beach. Otherwise, I would just ride into Gulf Breeze and ride down the 98 to Navarre. I hate riding the beach road between Pensacola Beach and Navarre. No shoulder and ALWAYS get hassled by drivers.

Why not just stay in Perdido Key instead of Pensacola Beach? The riding is MUCH better out there. Many route options with a huge shoulder near by in Alabama.

Mike
 

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Perdido Key

Perdido Key is a good route. A little construction but no big deal. I ride it sevarl times per week. You can ride for 25 miles or so along the coast. I have never had any problems with cars or traffic on this route and I have ridden it at least 300 times.

Mike
 
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