There's an art to cycling in rolling hills. It's a game that never gets old. The game is to maximize your your descent of a hill so that you minimize the work needed to crest the next hill. When conditions and the hills are right, it feels like you are just floating over the hills. It's a lot of fun.
Highland County, at the southern end of the Lake Wales Ridge, has rolling hills. It is the closest place to Miami with hills. We drove up to Avon Park, a tiny older city in the northern section of the county.
just big enough for us, our bikes, and the operator.)
the Rotary Blueberry Festival in the city park a block from the hotel. It was a quintessential small town affair. We checked out the craft booths, saw the raffle drawing for fresh blueberries and coupons from local businesses, and watched folks queuing for the Rotary's boxed barbecue lunches. People were gathering in small groups at the park's picnic tables with their barbecue.
We had three days riding our bikes. The best day was a ride that took us through the rolling hills, all on rural roads, pedaling through orange groves, protected environmental areas, and cattle ranches. It was quite windy, so we did the headwinds first so we could enjoy some tailwinds on the way back to town.
Another day we decided to ride the backroads to Lorida, a tiny community on the northern end of Lake Istopoga. Lorida is east of Avon Park. The eastern section of Highlands County is off the Lake Wales Ridge. It's on the flood plain of the Kissimmee River. We can now say that we pedaled to Lorida, but what I learned from that ride was that rolling hills are way more fun than flat roads.
The kids you meet while pedaling are the best. They wave to you. They want to know about your bikes. One young boy came up to us in a convenience store parking lot to ask about the wheels on our bikes. Are they hard to balance on? Why is the rim so big? How far can you ride on a bike like that? Can you ride on sand? Do they make wheels like that for kids' bikes? His mom rescued us in a bit, but she was smiling and enjoying the moment, too.