Sunday, April 9, 2017

Legacy Trail in Venice

Saturday April 8, 2017

I have had a interest in riding in different parts of Florida.  I had an opportunity to ride with an triathlete, Peter , in Venice on the Legacy Trail.  Here is the link to information about the trail.

It was a cooler morning....high 50's at the 9 AM ride start time.  Peter met me in the Venice train station depot and we set off west to do part of the trail before turning around to finish the eastern part.  This is a multi-use trail so the speed limit for cyclists is 15 mph.  There were walkers and  other cyclists as well as people walking their dogs so it's a good idea to stay within the speed limit.

There is one uphill bridge that goes over Rt 41 ( Tamiami Trail) which is about 6% grade but that about does it for any elevation on this trail.   There are several other bridges, flat of course, most of which are concrete or macadam surfaces.  However there is one bridge with a surface that can be slippery when wet so we exercised caution over this one even though there was no morning dew on it.

Doing the entire trail is approximately 30 miles.  It's a great alternative to the roadways when they are busy especially during season.

 Peter and I after the ride

Cheryl with a little attitude wearing the SoWeFlo kit.  After all it is club jersey day!
 Tour guide at the train station

After the ride Peter and I decided to relax at Casey Key.  Although the red tide was in ( and it made us cough) we enjoyed the sand and sun for two hours.    There is no fee to use the beach nor is there a parking fee like Southwest Florida beaches.  The beach there is so different than Southwest Florida.  The water is crystal clear aqua/blue and resembes the waters of the Carribean although this is the Gulf of Mexico.  The water temperature was 74 degrees.  It was a bit too cold for the one mile swim that Peter had planned and with the red tide there was no going in the water for either of us.  Peter was a good planner bringing a larger than life umbrella and a cooler of healthy snacks.   There is also a food stand if forget your cooler and provides live music as well as food.  Nice touch!

A view of Casey Key beach

There were several yachts in the distance.  The local yacht club must be having a race.  

It was a nice day...perfect weather for a bike ride and the beach.   Hope to do it again....maybe even riding on the road on Longboat Key.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Fallen Heroes/ Brotherhood Ride

Sunday March 19th

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.

Liz F who was also on the ride was the photo taker.  Thanks Liz!

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!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Ride to Ave Maria

February 26, 2017

I, like OLPH, am behind in blogging so this one will be a short one.   Bob W, our new member Debby W, Joe B from SoWeFlo  and I rode to Ave Maria.  I don't have any photos for this blog but an interesting story about the ride.

We were about 7 miles from the turn to head into Ave Maria.  We were stopped at a light and we spotted two German Shepard puppies crossing the busy intersection ( busy for the desolate roads leading to Ave Maria) wanting to greet us.  They were young and looked like siblings.  They were very friendly but obviously lost and we were afraid that they would cross the road back towards home and get hit by a car.  Joe B and Debby W leaned their bikes up again a pole and coaxed the dogs closer so that they could look for tags so that we could call the owners.  Of course no tags but they both had an electronic device on their collars probably to keep them inside a invisible fence.  That didn't help much.

We talked it over and Joe B and Debby W walked them safely back across the road in search of their owner.  Bob W and I watched the bikes.  There were a few houses nearby and we thought for sure that they belonged there but that was an incorrect assumption.  Joe and Debby talked to a few homeowners that said the dogs lived a few blocks further away from the intersection so they tried to get the two dogs to head in that direction.  Each time they tried the dogs followed them back towards the main intersection.  Bob W and I watched for about 10 minutes while the dogs continued to follow Joe and Debby until finally the dogs settled down outside a gate. We continued on our way to Ave Maria however looking back to make sure the dogs didn't follow us.  Thank goodness they stayed in place.

We had a nice rest stop in Ave Maria at the coffee shop.  It was the first time Debby had been to the town.  There are plenty of chairs and even a bike rack for the bikes.  W were happy for the rest but needed to head back home as it was getting late.  We had lost about a half hour trying to secure the dogs.  I had planned to go home a different way which was a relief to all of us.  We didn't want to know the fate of the two German Shepard pups that we had left outside the gate.  We were very hopeful that they found their way home safely.

We ended up with 42 miles and a great feeling of accomplishment that we did a longer ride and at a faster pace than our usual Monday ride.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A PFW Lunch and Dinner

December 27, 2016 and January 24, 2017

It's been a long while since I last posted a blog so this is a catch up of all events since I returned from NJ in mid December.

I arrived home in Florida from NJ and came down with the flu that lasted most of the month.  I was off the bike until a trial run on Christmas Day.  It was a short ride with a lot of wind but at least I was back on the bike even though it was only 16 miles.  It was a turning point for me.  It took me almost another two weeks for me to stop coughing while riding.

Happily I can report that I am now fully recovered and back to cycling and life!

December 27, 2016

Bob S graciously hosted a ride with a lunch afterward in Marco Island.   The ride was a 28 mile ride with a rest stop at the Marco Island farmer's market.  Al Porter, who was on his way to South Beach, was staying with Bob and Meg and was able to join the ride and the lunch.  Bruce K as well as myself also joined the ride.

Bob and Meg hosted lunch which consisted of a quinoa dish with chicken.  Everyone enjoyed that dish, espeically me,  and I hope the next time I visit, if they are having lunch, that they will offer that dish again.

Unfortunately I was not able to join Bob and Meg and Al and Marion on Bob's boat for an afternoon ride after the lunch but I heard it was very nice.  Also unfortunate was the fact that I didn't take any photos of this great event. 

Thanks to Bob and Meg....Bob for putting together a nice ride and Meg and Bob for a delicious lunch.

January 24, 2017

Dennis and his wife, Marion hosted a dinner at their home in East Naples.  There were about 20 attendees all were connected with PFW in some way.  Al Porter again graced us with his presence after driving back for a few days from South Beach with his wife Marion.  Another guest was Ira S and his wife Rose. 

This time I did take photos and I will let them speak for themselves.

 Dennis decided to decorate the mailbox so that guests would not pass the house.  Very cleaver!

 The following photos are of the house where Dennis and Marion are staying until March as well as guests enjoying the festivities

And of course the food!

It was a great feast and a good time was had by all.   Thank you to Marion and Dennis for a tremendous amount of work to put this dinner together.   It was a huge success.  The only question I have is.......
When is the next one??

Friday, December 16, 2016

Joanna Lumley's Trip to NJ

December 16, 2016

For those of you who don't know who JoAnna Lumley is a link

It was a surprise that I would be attending the PFW Holiday party in December and I needed a cover.  Dave C. was instrumental in creating the alias for me.   It had Andy C. so perplexed not only did he google her but he almost waterboarded Dave when he learned that she was a British actress and couldn't possibly be Dave's date.  We pulled it off pretty nicely.

I had asked Perpetual Headwinds to list a ride so that I could come ride with the group but with the bitter cold temperatures on the morning of December 10th, I politely begged off the ride but agreed to come to the start of the ride.  Laura played along and introduced me as the surprise visitor and posted in her blog that Joanna Lumley appeared at the ride start with Dave.  Thanks Laura for not blowing my cover.

Although I didn't get a chance to take photos at the holiday party .......mainly because I was catching up with familiar faces.....the party, the attendees and the food was just exceptional.  Thank you to Andy C, our club vice president, along with Ira, club president who put a lot of time and effort to making the party a success.

On Monday, Al P of the TSS crew, announced that he would delay the ride start until 12:30 PM from Etra Park to let the roads dry from the morning rain.  Dave and I decided to join the crew.  OMG.  Although I was properly dressed in winter gear, the air was raw and bit right through my gloves to numb my fingers.  It was 44 degrees which I thought was warm but it turned out to be very cold and damp. The rest stop was at Roy's and was a welcome sight.  We ended up with 35 miles.  What have I learned from this ride?  I learned not to ride in NJ in December when it's not above 50 degrees.  I have become acclimatized to FL weather and I just can't take it any more!  Below are some photos from that ride.

 Can you tell I was cold?

Glad to be finished with the ride

Dave and I had decided to go into NYC after the ride to see the tree.  We were not going to have much time but we went anyway.  We arrived at 8 PM.  We missed the Bryant Park ice skaters and outdoor Christmas market because it closed at 8 PM.   I thought NY never slept but apparently it does.

Here are some photos of what we saw.

 Wait...who are those people?  It's Dave and Cheryl.  I look tired on the train but I was really excited about going into to see the tree!

An aisle decorated inside of Macy's flagship store

One of the Macy's windows. 

We headed towards Rockefeller Center and the tree.  It was a nice night to walk and the crowds were almost non-existent. 

The Rockefeller Ice Rink with the tree in the background

 What an amazing tree!

Angel's way

 The Sak's Fifth Avenue light display on the store walls.  Truly spectacular

 The lights surrounding the Sak's windows.  

 One of the moving manequins in the Sak's window. Her eyelids moved!

 Another manequin in the Sak's window

We also visited St. Patrick's cathedral and saw the manager.  What is missing in the picture below?  No cheating.  

In the Catholic religion the baby Jesus is not placed in the manager until midnight mass.   I never knew that!

It was a great trip but in the future I think I will wait until the summer to come visit!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone!!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The TSS Shirt

Wednesday December 1, 2016

This blog is just a short one showing the latest TSS shirt modeled by Bob Wood

He's wearing it in style. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Horrible Hundred 2016

Sunday November 20

This is the second time I have done this event.  It's about a 3.5 hour drive from Bonita Springs and it was also a chance to visit with Nevada, my NJ riding friend who happens to have a house in Clermont, FL where the event happens each year and is hosted by the Florida Freewheeler's.

Nevada's new home in Florida

Chelsea, Nevada's silkie terrier.  She was wearing a coat since it was so cold

I arrived on Saturday, the day before, to pick up the registration packet and to attend the bike expo which occurs both Saturday and Sunday.  Nevada and I picked up our registration packet and we both purchased several items including a "Share the Road" jersey which supports safe cycling in the state of Florida.

The weather was expected to be very cold for the high 30's / low 40's.   The latest start time for any ride was 9 AM as there was no mass start.  At 9 AM the temperature was a balmy 44 degrees!  I was cold even though I had brought enough warm gear to ride.  The issue was that by the time we finished it would be close to 60.  How you do dress for that??

Here are some photos from the event.

Getting ready for the ride.  Can you tell it's cold?? 

The rest stop at Green Mountain Scenic Overlook
A fashion faux pax.  Capri's with booties

Guess who we saw at the event?   Snowflake the Paratrooper's three legged dog from the 2015 Veteran's ride

I was able to talk to Jake, Snowflake's owner,  to ask him why he was not at the Veteran's ride  this year and he told me that he was deployed and just came back this week and will go back next week.   Be safe Jake and Snowflake!

There was a sign that I wish I could have taken a photo of but we were in the middle of the climb.  It was after we came out of the rest stop.   It said....."Are We Having Fun Yet"   Too funny but just what I was thinking.

 A view of the lake around Waterfront Park

The finish line

We did the wall.....a 14 % climb which is the same climb Joe b, Leslie, Liz and Dave C did on the Mount Dora ride.  In the end we ended up with 36 miles with 2300+ ft of climbing.   Nevada and I had a vegetarian lunch, walked around the expo one more time and decided to head back to her house on our bikes.  That added another 4 miles and 200 ft of climbing.  It was a great ride and if you have never done this ride I highly recommend it.  I did make a suggestion to the event organizer to add a 50 mile option.  To go from 35 miles to the next ride level at 70 miles is tough for Florida Flatlanders that don't do hills regularly.  Let's see what happens next year.

On Monday Nevada and I did a short 19 mile ride with 1400 ft of climbing before I headed back to Bonita Springs.  There are very few places you can go on a bike in Clermont without a climb being part of the ride.  Many of the climbs are  about an 8-10% grade but the last one we did was Skyridge Drive with a 14 % grade.  Since we didn't have time to do Sugarloaf Mountain at 14%....this was its replacement.