“Ride America for Safe Routes”

Four ambitious women are undertaking a cross-country endurance ride that will kick off from Key West, Fl. today, Sunday, February 5th and culminate in San Francisco in late April.  Two sisters, Jeanie and Chelsea Ward-Waller, their mother, Jane, and close friend Stephanie Palmer are riding across America to benefit the bicycle safety advocacy efforts of the League of American Bicyclists and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.  Dubbed “Ride America for Safe Routes” (RASR), their ride follows a route traversing 13 southern states and 20 major cities, logging over 5,000 miles between Florida and California.  The mission of RASR is to raise $50,000 for the League’s Bike Friendly America program and for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs in local communities.  In addition, the RASR Team will advocate the critical need for bike safety and promote the public health benefits of bicycling through events with local bicycle groups and SRTS programs in communities along their route.  See the RASR website at http://rideforsaferoutes.blogspot.com/ or contact rideforsaferoutes@gmail.com for more information on the Ride and to support a future of bike-friendly communities.

The kickoff party, at Salsa Loca, last night was a great success.  Many members of Team Mile Zero Heroes came out to show their support.  This morning the Mile Zero Heroes will join the ladies for the ride out planned to depart the US Post Office on Whitehead Street at 10am.  Thank you to Salsa Loca for catering the event, JT for the One Human Family handouts and Eaton Bikes for the gift bags.

Good luck!

First Annual Over-Sea Cycle 100

This Saturday, January 21, 2012 is the First Annual Over-Sea Cycle 100.  This ride, from Mile Marker 100 in Key Largo to Mile Marker Zero in Key West, will commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first arrival of Flagler’s Over-Sea Railroad.  The entire Florida Keys is celebrating this weekend, what was once considered the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.  We will stop by many of the roadside attractions for plenty of photo ops and the occasional historic presentation.

SMART Ride 8

Completed my fourth SMART Ride last weekend, SMART Ride 8.  What a great event, benefiting AIDS agencies throughout the State of Florida.  Year to date, SMART Ride 8 has raised over $675,000 and a little under $3 million in 8 years.  All of which has been donated to the participating agencies.

I was proud to ride with and be a member of Team Mile Zero Hereos.  Our recently formed team raised over $30,000 alone through car washes, raffles, 50/50’s, silent auctions and social cocktail hours.  A huge THANK YOU to Nancy from Salsa Loca in Key West for sponsoring our team jerseys and supporting us during the event.  For more information, make sure to check out the SMART Ride.  I can’t wait for next year’s ride!  Until then check back to see what other great rides myself and the Mile Zero Hereos  (website coming) will be participating in.  Next up…Kids In Distress Inlet Challenge.

Sharing the experience…

Below is a brief overview provided to me by Sylvain Hout, about a trip down the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail and US 1, that he and his companions completed in April 2011.  I met them in Key West at Mallory Square on April 19th and am proud to share their experience with you.  Enjoy, I know I did.
 
We (Danielle & Sylvain and Lucie & Pierre) flew from Montreal to Miami on April 15, 2011 with our pulled apart tandems.  The next day, we put them back together and as a warm up, rode for about 30 miles to downtown Miami.
 
We left the Holiday Inn in Coral Gables the morning of April 17.  Followed Old Cutler Rd, S Dixie Hwy, Old Card Sound and arrived at Alabama Jack’s at 3:30pm.  We took a little water break before continuing on the 905 thru the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge (sorry, no gators).  We hit a bit of light rain that day, just enough to cool us down.  By the time we arrived at the Holiday Inn in Key Largo, we had completed a 64 mile ride. 
 
April 18, we headed down to Marathon (46 miles).  Crossed a few bridges.  One of them, the Dande B. Fascell bridge, was 2.5 miles. Stopped at the Wahoos Bar and Grill for lunch (you’ve got to try the tuna) and paid a little visit to the monument dedicated to the 1935 hurricane.  Roads were very good.  Lots of bike paths, some newer than other.  Stayed at another Holiday Inn and went to the Island Fish Co. for dinner.
 
Final destination, Marathon – Key West, April 19.  Had an excellent breakfast and by 8:45 am were out riding.  We carried lots of water and what should have happened, happened.  Our (Danielle & Sylvain) rear rack broke.  Ended going to the Aargh Maintenance and Service Golf Cart in Marathon.  The employee (a man in his 50s) kindly helped us fix the bracket.  Crossed more bridges; the 7-mile bridge being by far the longest one.  Interesting point is to find yourself riding with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. We rode 57 miles that day.
 
We booked our last stay at the Grand Guest House for two nights where we were greeted by Derek, the Property Manager, who described us with fervour his town, what to do and where to go.  We had dinners at Nine One Five (watch out for James Matthew Chapman and his amazing musical bike) and at the Flaming Buoy Filet Co.  Got our pictures taken at the Southernmost Point and at Mile Marker Zero.  Rode by the Harry S. Truman Little White House, Art Museum and the Shipwreck Treasures Museum as well as enjoying the Sunset Celebration.
 
 
We had a wonderful time.  The weather was just super. Hotels were accommodating and met wonderful people.  We were also lucky to meet Clinton Curry, an avid cyclist, promoting his favorite sport (cycling) with passion in the Keys.  We were looking for Key West cycling jerseys.  Clinton being Clinton, contacted his friend Patrick at “Fixed Gears” and first thing you knew, got jerseys for us. That was cool.
 
We would not hesitate to do this trip again and we encouraged anyone interested in doing the Keys to do it.  Especially if you do not like hilly roads.  There are none in the Keys. 
 
Sylvain Huot
Ottawa, Canada
 
Thank you for sharing the experience of cycling in the Florida Keys.  I hope that future cyclists here will be compelled to do the same.
 
Clinton Curry 

Bonding by cycling

Several weeks ago on a Sunday morning group ride I met Mishell and Tanya at Baby’s Coffee.  They were cycling to Key West from the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale region on a sister bonding ride, stopping at sites throughout the Florida Keys during the journey.  Unfortunately a vicious, late winter cold front cut a portoin of their coastal Florida trip down, but the sun and blue skies that has made the Florida Keys famous, made itself available for their leg on the FKOHT.

After our brief encounter was over and about a dozen of us “locals” provided them with the most direct route to the Southernmost Point, they were on their way.  As you can tell from the photo below, I am happy to report they made it to Key West safely.  Until next time.

Vacation ~ Cycling the Florida Keys

Several weeks ago I met Ken Poindexter and Wendy Broughman in Mallory Square while they posed for a picture in front of the “Mary” (replica 1850’s wrecking vessel).  What caught my attention was their recumbent bikes.  We started talking about some of the differences between the recumbent and traditional bikes.  This conversation was most interesting to me as I have considered riding a recumbent myself and do hope to add one to my collection in the future. 

Ken and Wendy in Mallory Square.

As our conversation continued they told me they were visiting from North Carolina for 9 days and had been cycling the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail and All American Road!  Everyday they rode between 40 and 50 mile sections enjoying scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.  Only in the Florida Keys can you see both bodies of water at the same time.  We are so very lucky!  One of the highlights of their trip was the 7 Mile Bridge.  They even rode it twice.  Ken and Wendy used the trail as much as possible and particularly enjoyed riding on the old bridges.  The bridges, of course are the original ones built for Henry Flager’s Overseas Railroad in the early 19oo’s. 

It was a  pleasure to meet Ken and Wendy.  I am glad they enjoyed themselves and who knows, maybe next time I’ll be able to join them on their next cycling trip in the Conch Republic.

Saddle Bunch Ride

On Saturday, March 6 2010, staff of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail and GLEE sponsored a ride of the Saddle Bunch Keys trail section. 
 

Saddle Bunch Keys

 
ChillWill, manager at Fixed Gears of Key West, inspected all bikes before the group headed out onto the trail.  Before the ride began though I had a years worth of bike issues!  I broke the stem on my rear wheel while inflating the tube, broke a lever while removing the tire and lost the nut to secure the wheel after replacing the tube.  After about ten minutes of searching, ChillWill found the nut while walking barefoot on the grass.  We figured go barefoot so that if we stepped on something metal, it may be my wheel nut.  A huge THANK YOU to ChillWill.
 
 
After a quick introduction from Trail Specialist, Monica Woll we headed out.  While the sun was out, the temperature was still in the 60’s with a North wind around 20mph.  What a cold winter this year in the Florida Keys.

Trail Specialist Monica Woll on the right

I ride the Saddle Bunch section of the trail regularly from Key West.  Sometimes as quality time with my family and other times with my Sunday morning road cyclist group.  No matter which group, it always includes a stop at Baby’s Coffee.  Love the coffee and the homemade breads.
 
While riding the trail, we picked up garbage, discussed trail events, did some nature watching and checked out one of the kayak put in points along the trail.  Once the temperature gets back in the 80’s it will be kayak time!  I did spot this Little Blue Heron wading in the shallows, searching for fish and crustaceans.  Little Blue Herons are one of my favorite birds in the region.

Little Blue Heron

 
 

One of the Saddle Bunch bridges

I am sure all of the participants enjoyed the day and I believe I speak for most when I say, we look forward to the next event!

 

 

 

 

“Tour of a lifetime”

Yesterday, Julie, Parker and I went to lunch at El Siboney… chicken soup and cuban bread for all.   On our way home from lunch, I saw a cyclist who had obviously been touring.  Another opportunity to welcome a cyclist to the Conch Republic!

Regina Krinke and Krumel

Regina Krinke and her dog Krumel began touring the USA in June 2009, jumping off from Doylestown, Pa.  During this time, they have crossed the country via bicycle.  Regina is towing a trailer loaded with camping gear and all they need for one year in the Ortlieb panniers.

The route began in Doylestown, Pa. From there up north along the Delaware River, across NY State and up to Niagara Falls.  Via Canada, Michigan and Lake Michigan they went west along the US/Canadian border.  By fall they reached the Pacific Coast.  From here, an eventual turn east along the southern tier visiting the Grand Canyon, Texas, New Orleans and now Florida. 

Regina arrived in Key West, Fl yesterday after purchasing a ticket on the Key West Express out of Fort Myers, Fl.  Now that she has reached the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States, it is time for the return trip to Doylestown, Pa.  Starting in Key West, Fl., on Tuesday Regina and Krumel will travel along the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail and Florida’s only “All American Road”, stopping in Key Largo, Fl for a night or two and then continue north along the Atlantic Coast. 

Today Regina plans to explore Key West.  She and Krumel plan to visit the Hemingway House, Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum and take a tour on the Conch Tour Train.  I am hoping to ride with her a little today and stop by some of my favorite sites and introduce her to several other cycling enthusiasts.  I love being an unofficial Ambassador to my hometown!   I wish her continued success during her “Tour of a lifetime”.