Monday, February 2, 2015

Tour de Gumbo Limbo Pottery

A fellow Everglades Bicycle Club member recently opened Gumbo Limbo Pottery on Key Largo in the Florida Keys. It's a nice distance from Miami for a long bike ride. A group planned to do a century ride, a first century for part of the group. They wanted to keep the size of the peloton manageable. Could we tag along? (Yes, we could.)

The century group was starting from Deering Estates. Their total ride would be somewhat over a hundred miles. Like some other riders, we opted to join them a few miles farther south at Black Point Marina. Our ride would be a bit over 90 miles. We chatted briefly with friends as we unloaded our bikes from the car. The group that started at Deering Estates rolled in. In a few minutes the whole group pedaled out of Black Point Marina. There was an assortment of SAG vehicles driven by friends and spouses of riders heading south with the group. One car stood out. On its left side was a green flag emblazoned with "EBC". On its right side an orange "EBC" flag fluttered proudly. The car's driver wore a bright orange baseball hat and an orange t-shirt. She made a wonderful and creative style statement for the group!

After a brief break at Dixie Highway (US 1) in Homestead, the group headed towards Key Largo on Card Sound Road. The day was somewhat windy with the wind from the southeast. The group pedaled stalwartly along. Then we came to Card Sound Bridge. The direction of the wind made it pretty much a headwind over the bridge. Groan. Pedal, pedal, pedal. Pant, pant, pant. But we made it over the bridge, regrouping on the far side. We thankfully turned away from the wind several miles down the road. The wind was almost a tailwind. Pedal, pedal, pedal. We'd been joined by a pair of well-known (and much liked) EBC members on their green tandem for the remaining miles to Gumbo Limbo Pottery. They'd been in the Keys, and it was good to have them along for part of the ride.

A few riders were feeling frisky. To the amazement and amusement of our peloton, they made their breakaway moves and (yes, this really happened) sprinted to the Circle K. To be fair, our group was supposed to make a brief stop there. However, it was only 3 miles down the road from the Circle K to Gumbo Limbo Pottery. So the peloton waved at the speedy little sprint champions as we rolled past the Circle K and headed directly to the Pottery. (Maybe it was a little mean...but you have to admit it was maybe just a little amusing, too.)

We arrived at Gumbo Limbo Pottery. The pottery was lovely and we took our time browsing as we nibbled on a variety of snacks and cold drinks. It's definitely a place we will stop by whenever we head to Key Largo. As a ceramic token of our visit, our friend had made round medallions embossed with the date, a road bike, and the words "Tour de Gumbo Limbo". A very thoughtful memento of the ride.

Then it was pedal, pedal, pedal back to Miami. We had a tailwind (yeah!) over Card Sound Bridge on the return. The miles slipped by. As we got more tired, though, each mile seemed longer. There were big smiles when at last we had a break in Homestead. It felt pretty great to get off the bike and stretch. Then it was back on the road for the final stretch (for some) to Black Point Marina.

At Black Point there were many photos taken. For a large bunch of us, the ride was over. We waved goodbye to our friends doing their century ride when they pedaled off. They looked good. Pretty happy. Especially the bunch doing their first century.

Good job, guys. Congratulations!

EBC member Alex Pruna shares his love of photography with the club by taking photographs and videos of our rides. Here is his video of the inaugural Gumbo Limbo Pottery ride. (Thank you, Alex. You make us look so good!)