Monday, October 23, 2017

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop. (Lewis Carroll)

Hundreds of posts ago I began this blog so that I could share our bicycle travels with family and friends. It succeeded far beyond my expectations.

The blog opened up an interesting world. It introduced me to a group of funny, warm, generous, and adventurous people. People from all over the US. People from countries around the world.

Today there are many platforms that permit me to continue connecting to this larger world. So I am turning my focus to other projects. This post will be the last post for Florida by Bicycle.

Al and I will still be traveling with our bicycles. We will continue to make posts on social media as we travel, and we will continue to stay in touch with everyone, including the many wonderful new friends we have met through the blog. I never expected more than a handful of people to read the blog. I was totally amazed (and, I must admit, delighted) by the volume of traffic that viewed Florida by Bicycle.

Thank you all for dropping by. It's been a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I am a deeply superficial person. (Andy Warhol)

This is my second week of solo bike rides. My goal has been to lose my completely irrational fear of being hopelessly lost in Miami.

Last week I realized something odd. While I am reasonably comfortable riding around unfamiliar cities and towns on trips, I was having a total emotional meltdown about getting lost at home in Miami. I'm fine in downtown Miami and areas with high rises and mid rise buildings. But the residential neighborhoods, well, they just all looked the same to me. I totally mixed up which neighborhood was which. Which made me feel like a total idiot.

So I made a plan (1) to desensitize myself to being lost here and (2) to up my confidence in using my on-bike navigation toys on rides in Miami. I may have poor directional abilities, but I do know how to develop coping skills.

So, each time I'm out on my bike, either on a solo ride or coming home from a group ride, I purposely head off my usual route just to get myself totally and completely lost. Then I fire up navigation and find my way home.

I love my Garmin with its tidy little GPS system. But my Garmin doesn't talk to me. And the map is hard to read in a lot of situations. So I decided to rely more on the navigation gadgets on my phone. Best of all, the phone navigation has the advantage of audible cues. Phones are intrusive and annoying. But they have their good points, like reading the route cues to you. And then there is the cellphone camera. (Best toy ever.)

Snack stops are picture taking opportunities. Take fifty pictures; delete forty-seven; keep three. It's not exactly art photography. Just totally frivolous fun.

I can't get too worried about getting lost in Miami when getting home is easy and a photo opportunity may be waiting around the next turn...

Monday, October 9, 2017

I love those Keith Richards solo records, but it's not the Rolling Stones. (Nikki Sixx)

Riding a bicycle is fun. Al and I have been riding together for lot of years now. First it was mountain and off-road biking. Later we spent time being touring cyclists. Finally we got around to road cycling.

We used to live in rural areas. There were other cyclists in each of the counties that we lived in during those years, but they were too far away to be regular riding companions. We biked by ourselves, just the two of us. It wasn't until moving to Miami a few years ago that we were introduced to group riding.

This week I rolled my bike to the elevator, through the lobby, and out to the street by myself.  Al is off his bike for a bit.

I was embarking on a kind of ride that I had not done in a couple of decades: a longish solo ride.

Since we live in Miami, there are groups I can and will be riding with. But I enjoy the flexibility of solo riding, and I want to keep my four days a week riding routine. My sense of direction is horrible, so I ride fully loaded with GPS devices. I may get myself lost, but I'll get home.

Sunday I took my first long, meandering solo ramble. I went out for a spin around (and around) the Rickenbacker Causeway and Key Biscayne. I meandered through the city to the Venetian Causeway, pedaled over to Miami Beach to wander the streets there. Then back to the mainland to explore some interesting neighborhoods. Fifty quiet (and admittedly low-energy) miles. But interesting miles. I took photographs. I stopped and talked to people. I got home hot, sweaty, and delightfully relaxed.

I'm going to enjoy solo riding. It is definitely less interesting than riding with Al. But like that Rolling Stones song goes, you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.