As usual, Leesburg Bike Fest did not disappoint. I started visiting Leesburg in 2012, and I have been going back ever since. In 2013, Anny and I enjoyed our solo ride to Cedar Key for lunch. It was 155 miles out, but Cedar Key had been on my “bucket list” for a long time and riding up US-98N and then FL-24W made the ride one of my favorites so far. The quaint fishing village now on the National Historic Registry, takes you back to a time that once was.
In 2014, Leesburg was our first out-of-town ride as a M.S.A.R. We were joined by 8 bikes and ten new friends. This year, it was seventeen bikes, one car, and twenty-eight of us (not including two kids). It is safe to say that Leesburg Bike Fest has come to “mark” our anniversary and a ride we look forward to each year.
As usual, the ride began with choosing routes where we see more “cows than cars.” We always prefer the back roads and enjoyed our ride from US-27 to 441 North, to Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway/US 192. Arriving to the hotel early meant we got to enjoy the pool with a couple of cold ones, relax, and talk about the day’s ride.
We stayed in Orlando as we always do, and in my opinion, the best location to stay when visiting Leesburg. For one, there are plenty of restaurant options within walking distance. This is one less thing to worry about when riding with a large group. More importantly, there are plenty of motorcycle shops and dealers in Orlando in case something goes wrong with your bike.
Our first night, we celebrated two birthdays at Señor Frogs; an excellent suggestion from one of our Administrators. We were picked up at the hotel so if we wanted to have a drinks that was fine and with the infamous party scene of Señor Frogs, why not?
The next day we continued our ride through back roads. First, we rode to Yahala Bakery, one of my favorite places to visit, where we had Bratwurst for lunch and of course, no one makes better desserts. From Yahala, a quick ride to Mount Dora where we even got to see the train chugging along. You can see it in the video approximately 5:58 seconds in. After that, where else? Leesburg of course!
This year we made the decision to arrive later in the day; learning our lesson from prior years that getting there at high noon is a bad idea due to the heat and the lack of an ocean breeze. So arriving around 5 p.m. turned out to be a good idea. Even then, the bikes were lined up way before you reach the strip.
After buying the usual merchandise, people watching, and seeing the bikes roll down the Strip, it was time to head back. After two long days of riding, dinner was at Twin Peaks. Only one block away from the hotel, this is our second year dining there and with good reason. The food is always good as well as the service. Have the Hangover Burger which is a regular burger except for the fried egg, but believe me, it tastes great. The beer, also very cold and that is what they are known for. They have electronic temperature gauges throughout the restaurant showing the temperature inside the cooler (29 degrees when I was there).
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. It was time to head home. Riding back through 441, this time, we made a made a right on County Road 98 instead of a left. This was our first time down this quiet road into Clewiston.
With the record breaking heat in south Florida hovering over 98 degrees and the “feels like” temperature 104 degrees, a long pit stop at Sonny’s Real Pit BBQ in Clewiston after riding 157 miles was long overdue. From there, it was a short ride of 64 miles to Cafe 27; the biker bar/truck stop located US-27.
We all arrived home safe and after a great weekend with friends and 660 miles later, tired and exhausted, it was time to devote what energy I had left to Bella. How could I say no to her?
Have fun, ride safe, see you on the road soon.
This was my first time to Leesburg in 2012.
Cedar Key in 2013.
M.S.A.R.’s First Trip to Leesburg. Dinner was at Cafe Tu Tu Tango
Hanging out by the pool after our ride.
The beer cooler temperature at Twin Peaks Orlando.
Bella enjoying a swim