Driving Downtown - Tampa Florida USA
Driving Downtown - Tampa Florida USA - Season 1 Episode 13.
Starting Point: North Tampa St.
Tampa is a city in and the county seat of Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. It is located on the west coast of Florida on Tampa Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico, and is part of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Area. The city had a population of 346,037 in 2011.
The current location of Tampa was once inhabited by indigenous peoples of the Safety Harbor culture most notably the Tocobaga and the Pohoy, who lived along the shores of Tampa Bay. The area was explored by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, resulting in violent conflicts and the introduction of European diseases, which wiped out the original native cultures. Although Spain claimed Florida as part of New Spain, it did not found a colony in the Tampa area, and there were no permanent American or European settlements within today's city limits until after the United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1819.
In 1824, the United States Army established a frontier outpost called Fort Brooke at the mouth of the Hillsborough River, near the site of today's Tampa Convention Center. The first civilian residents were pioneers who settled near the fort for protection from the nearby Seminole population, and the small village was first incorporated as Tampa in 1849. The town grew slowly until the 1880s, when railroad links, the discovery of phosphate, and the arrival of the cigar industry jump-started its development, helping it to grow from a quiet village of less than 800 residents in 1880 to a bustling city of over 30,000 by the early 1900s.
Today, Tampa is part of the metropolitan area most commonly referred to as the Tampa Bay Area. For U.S. Census purposes, Tampa is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The four-county area is composed of roughly 2.9 million residents, making it the second largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the state, and the fourth largest in the Southeastern United States, behind Miami, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. The Greater Tampa Bay area has over 4 million residents and generally includes the Tampa and Sarasota metro areas. The Tampa Bay Partnership and U.S. Census data showed an average annual growth of 2.47 percent, or a gain of approximately 97,000 residents per year. Between 2000 and 2006, the Greater Tampa Bay Market experienced a combined growth rate of 14.8 percent, growing from 3.4 million to 3.9 million and hitting the 4 million population mark on April 1, 2007. A 2012 estimate shows the Tampa Bay area population to have 4,310,524 people and a 2017 projection of 4,536,854 people.
Tampa was ranked as the 5th best outdoor city by Forbes in 2008. Tampa also ranks as the fifth most popular American city, based on where people want to live, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center study. A 2004 survey by the NYU newspaper Washington Square News ranked Tampa as a top city for twenty-somethings. Tampa is ranked as a Gamma+ world city by Loughborough University, ranked alongside other world cities such as Phoenix, Charlotte, Rotterdam, and Santo Domingo.
Florida's biggest hill! Summiting Sugarloaf Mountain
Alex and I decided to drive out to Clermont to climb Florida's biggest hill, known as Sugarloaf mountain. This would be a pretty average hill anywhere else, but we couldn't resist the novelty. Surprisingly it's almost a 15% grade in some places, and goes on for about a half mile. If you've been to Florida you'll find this pretty amusing.
If you spend enough time on Wikipedia, it’s easy to get sucked into the wormhole. Recently I came across a list of the biggest hills—in Florida. This is only interesting because Florida is known for being flat everywhere.
Alex and I set out to climb the biggest of these hills on our bikes, and naturally treated the whole endeavor like one big joke. The hill in this picture doesn’t look bad at all, but then again, nothing does on the screen of your iPhone.
Sugarloaf mountain is the most prominent point in Florida, at 245 feet above the surrounding land. The elevation at the summit is 312—hardly a snow capped peak, but still pretty unusual for the sunshine state. In fact, it bests the biggest hills in both Louisiana and Delaware.
I’ve shown videos riding the North Shore of Long Island New York, which is known for being hilly. Clermont is hillier than that in most places.
For some reason we decided to tackle Sugarloaf mountain in the wrong order, descending it first before climbing back up. Alex was wearing flip flops and had his arm in a sling, and I was on a 36 pound fat tire BMX.
That was a hill.
Those who live by the sword, must die by the sword. It was time to pedal this monster back to the summit.
The climb took about five minutes, and it wasn’t that bad, but we were still amazed. Imagine seeing a palm tree in Denver, or a snowflake in Miami. Imagine seeing a rabbi at a Nascar race. I guess what I’m trying to say is that some things are interesting because they’re unexpected. Sugarloaf mountain definitely falls under this category, and so does this whole area North of Orlando.
Naturally, you’d wonder if there are any bike trails around these parts, and there are. Mount Dora has trails, and so does Ocala, with over 85 miles of singletrack and a huge freeride section built in an old quarry. As for Clermont, many road cyclists frequent the area for year round riding and a little taste of elevation.
If you’re from Florida and you ride bikes, Sugarloaf mountain should be on your bucket list, just to say you did. As for Alex and I, it was worth the drive just for the laughs. We were definitely not expecting to see a legitimate hill in Florida. Thanks for riding with me today and I’ll see you next time.
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Caladesi Island State Park
Caladesi Island offers one of the few untouched pristine beaches in Florida, which is why it's regularly recognized as one of the world's best. It's a short ferry ride from Honeymoon Island State Park or accessible by kayak or personal boat.