Flatter Than Saskatchewan?


Have you ever ridden in Florida?  Well, up until last week I hadn’t….but I’d heard a lot about it. The one constant theme that would echo whenever I’ve heard people talking about riding here is “It’s really flat”.

Hey, I grew up in the Prairies of Canada and I know all too well what the definition of flat is. Saskatchewan is about as flat as they come.  So flat that the running joke about the area is: “If you live in Saskatchewan and your dog runs away from home….two days later, you can still see him running”.  Yeah, it’s that flat.  So I’ve always wondered how flat Florida can really be.

After a week of riding the area and cycling miles and miles in every direction, I think I’ve a new flat terrain champion.  Now, I can’t speak for all of Florida…but the Davenport area is officially flatter than Saskatchewan.

Okay, So How Do You Make Flat Terrain More Challenging?

Bridges – For as long as I’ve been hearing people tell me how flat it is in Florida, I’ve also been hearing about how the locals ride bridges to get in some climbs.  I have ridden over a few bridges, but the steepest incline so far has been 6%.  There might be steeper ones around, but I have a feeling they don’t compare to the hills and mountains found in other parts of the Country and the World.  But, if you’re looking to mix up the monotony of flatness and get in some inclines…..search out the bridges.

Time Trial – A great way to train on flat terrain is to schedule in a few time trials to your riding routine.  Find an area that is flat and not overly full of traffic…and ideally, without any stop signs or traffic lights.  Map out a section that would take you about 45 to 60 minutes to complete and use it as your TT training ground.  Clock yourself and try to beat your time each and every time you get out for a Time Trial session.

San Antonio – No, I’m not talking about giving up on the flatlands and heading to Texas.  Florida also has a San Antonio, and I’ve heard that it’s got some hilly areas.  I haven’t been over to check it out yet, but it goes to show that a little research and asking around might turn up some unexpected climbs if you find yourself riding flat terrain.

The Horrible Hundred – If you’re cycling in a flat area like Florida, check out and see if they have any exciting rides that take place.  I just heard about The Horrible Hundred from @CyclingNirvana and it looks to be a nice challenging ride.  Odds are that there is a challenging ride around whatever area you find yourself in.

Wind – Although Saskatchewan is flat, there is no shortage of wind….and I’m finding out that Florida has quite a breeze as well.  If the wind is strong enough, it can make you feel like you’re climbing some massive hills.  So if you’re looking for more of a challenge, map out your rides so that you’re head on into the gust when on your way back home and feeling tired.

Bike Set Up– Another thing to consider when riding flatter roads is the set up of your bike.  Jamie from Lake Travis Cyclery says “running standard chainrings instead of compact is a good idea. Reason being is it give you a 53 big ring and 39 small ring compared to a compact which has a 50 big ring and 36-34 small ring. Rear cassettes are recommended to run 11-23 or 11-25. This is coming from my personal experience growing up and training in Houston which only consisted of parking garages for our hill climb workouts. Since climbing isn’t an issue, anything to go faster.”

Maybe the flats are themselves enough of a challenge for you….nothing wrong with that at all.  If you are looking for a way to make the flatlands more challenging try these ideas out.  If you have any other ideas to help make riding flat terrain more interesting, please let us know.

Enjoy Your Ride

Tags: , ,

Pin It

8 Responses to “ Flatter Than Saskatchewan? ”

  1. Bryan on December 2, 2010 at 5:59 am

    Yes, it’s flat here. I sometimes wish I had a few hills here in Jacksonville but that’s why most of the clubs here do a weekly repeat ride on the bridges downtown.

    Also, I think it was Victor over at Bicycle Lab that told me the Mt Dora area, just north of Orlando, has quite a few hills.

  2. Eric Hutchins on November 30, 2010 at 12:07 am

    I thought Lloyds observation was excellent, they one thing about riding flat courses is NO breaks. I actually think that is a big thing. And of course as has been said, PUSH BIGGER GEARS! Simulate hills by dropping down in the back and PUSHING for intervals.

  3. Paul Rouleau on November 29, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Daryl, I can hook you up with our local Saturday morning ride in Lakeland FL. I was a regular in my Ironman days but have not had a chance to love the bike for the last 5 years. When cycling in Florida you have all the usual biking hazards and then some. On a long ride on a local mining road I was head down in the arrow bar position riding the white line ( no shoulders in Florida )and came 3 inches from riding over the snout of an 8 foot alligator that was lying on the side of the road.

    Lakeland also has some good mountain biking at Carter Road park. Come bike in Lakeland and then I can take you skiing. Yes, before Daryl loved the bike he loved the waterski.

    Talk to you soon,


    • Darryl on November 30, 2010 at 7:07 pm

      It’s so nice to have my old waterskiing buddy, Paul, checking out the blog. It’s also very cool that we both strayed from cycling and took up the bike. I hope you start riding again soon, my man.

      I have already posted a couple times about my waterskiing days, so it’s no secret that it was a big part of my past, including https://lovingthebike.com/cycling/bodybuilding-wakeboarding-cyclist.


  4. Pamela on November 29, 2010 at 11:26 am

    These tips definitely apply to Houston as well. I agree re only hills are overpasses, bridges and parking garages. We get so excited when we are further north and west of here and can climb some hills!

  5. Lloyd Lemons on November 29, 2010 at 11:12 am

    There’s one, often overlooked, feature of riding the flats: the luxury of coasting is virtually eliminated. Ya gots to keep crankin’! Thanks, enjoyed your post.


    • Darryl on November 29, 2010 at 11:20 am

      You are so right….my legs were burning by the end of last week. There is absolutely no easing up on the pedalling when you’re on the flats.

      Thanks for checking out the post….do you think we’ll be able to hook up for a ride while I’m here?


  6. Greg on November 29, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Interesting post; I enjoy reading perspectives on different areas across the country. This helps me understand why the roadies are never up to the challenge when they come up here to ride (if you here the local guys at the shop talk). Dahlonega is basically the closests place for Floridians to get some serious mountain riding.

    Interestingly enough, I’ve ridden with some MTBers from down that way that were pretty dang good. While the trails obviously don’t have many long sustained climbs, most apparently have an abundance of short, steep pitches and are very technical (at least, from what I hear).

    Hitting some MTB trails in Florida has been on my to-do list for over a year now. Maybe I’ll be able to make it happen some time this winter!

    Thanks again for the interesting post!


    March 2024
    M T W T F S S


Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

Sports Drink Homebrew

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

Nutrition Tips