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Bike the trail as a group Sunday

About 1,000 riders are expected to show up for Sunday's 10th annual Rails to Trails Bike Ride on the Withlacoochee State Trail.

It's a name-your-own-distance ride along the 46-mile trail, converted from a railroad track. The ride begins at the North Apopka Trail head in Inverness.

From there to the north end and back is 32 miles. Combine that with a ride south to Istachatta and it becomes 60 miles. For those seeking a shorter distance, head to the Floral City gazebo and back, 14 miles.

Walk-up registration is $20, and any remaining T-shirts will be given to walk-up registrants on a first-come, first-served basis.

The start time is from 7 to 9 a.m.

The point of the ride is to enjoy the trail at your own pace and distance, organizers say. Among the points of interest in Citrus are the trestles just north of the N Apopka trail head, which offer scenic views of the lakes. The gazebo in Floral City is another popular stop.

A light breakfast and lunch will be provided at the North Apopka trail head. Five rest stops along the trail will provide drinks and energy snacks.

Last year, 968 cyclists participated in the ride, put on by Rails to Trails of the Withlacoochee, a citizens support organization for the Withlacoochee Trail State Park.

The group helps the Department of Environmental Protection develop, maintain and promote the state trail.

Members volunteer to build trail amenities, maintain the trail, raise money and educate the public.

For information, call 527-3263 or visit the trail Web site, www.railstotrailsonline.com.

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