There were about 200 riders that attended the Brotherhood ride for police officers, EMT's and first responders. This charity event raises money for three families to help support them after they have lost a loved one in the line of duty. The organization raised $375,000 for the families this year.
There were seven of us from Southwest Florida Cyclists (So We Flo) who decided to do the ride together and met at the early time of 7 AM for the opening ceremonies with the 62 mile ride starting at 7:30 AM. It was just starting to get light.
The winds were in our favor heading out to the first rest stop at 12 miles in North Naples on Livingston Avenue. Each rest stop is at a fire station manned by firefighters and police officers. We had agreed to stop at every rest stop just to get off the bike, fill our water bottles and head back on the road.
We left the first rest stop and headed north into the wind but the winds were surprisingly light. The seven of us got into a line of other riders who pulled us through no man's land which has no cover from the wind. It was the perfect time to find that line!
We continued on Imperial Parkway onto Three Oaks before turning east to go over a Florida hill...a bridge....and heading towards Fort Myers via Ben Hill Griffin Parkway. We rode through the old airport which is always windy and today was no exception. We pulled away from the front riders and headed through the airport, all seven of us still together, through some communities until the next rest stop at mile 46. It was a welcome site and we were all happy to get off the bike for some refreshments and to stretch our legs.
After filling our water bottles and our bellies with some well deserved snacks we headed south back towards the finish with 16 miles to go. We had some tough west headwinds heading back over that same Florida hill but this time in the opposite direction.
We finished all together and averaged 18.3 mph for 62 mile ride. A job well done and deserving of some lunch which included pizza and chicken wings.
Our next charity ride will be on Saturday March 25th for the Miracle Limbs ride that supports amputees with mechanical limb replacements. Let see how well it goes next week!