Friday May 22 was the official Bike to Work Day, and Mayor of Orlando Buddy Dye takes the day to ride in with fellow cyclists in the morning. Given the wind and rain this week, I wasn’t sure what kind of weather we’d get or how many cyclists would show …. but as it turned out we did not get any rain (either coming in or going home, at least for me).
The meeting place was at Infusion Tea at 1600 Edgewater Drive. Edgewater Drive is a little west of I-4 and north of Downtown, so I had to adjust my route to get there in time. After a quick email to Keri, she reminded me of the Commute Routes (via Map-My-Ride) feature in the CommuteOrlando website. Several folks have taken the time to map their normal commutes (please do so if you haven’t yet) and Keri had a map of a ride that kept me off busy streets and on back roads that made for a pleasant ride all the way to Edgewater. Perfect! I was all set ….
Got on the road a little earlier than normal to give myself some extra time as I was riding a route I was unfamiliar with. Other than a few wrong turns (my fault as I was doing the route from memory) it was as advertised by Keri — back roads and low volume traffic. The few cars encountered passed with no issues as I claimed the lane ….. As I got close to Edgwater, I started seeing more cyclists on the streets, all streaming towards Infusion Tea.
Arrived at around 8:00am (ride set to leave at 8:30am) to see many cyclists already there. There were all kinds of riders and bikes — roadies with their carbon-fiber bikes, a few commuter-bikes like mine, recumbents, extra-cycles, fixies, etc:
A group from Kyle’s Bike shop was there to give anyone a tune-up – Blue56 were you there? Might have seen you …. Shortly after I saw familiar faces — Mighk and wife Carol peddled up. Here’s Mighk’s shirt — Gotta love it!!
Then, the Mayor arrived where waiting cameras snagged him for an interview before the ride. He then walked around and greeted everyone, smiling and commenting on how this was the first morning without rain all week.
At around 8;30, we lined up behind the Mayor and with a Bike Police Escort sealing off side-roads, the 100 or so (estimate) cyclists took off down Edgwater Dr, left onto Lakeview St. and Legion Place and then merged onto Orange Avenue where we got caught by a train. Even the Mayor has to yield to trains …
A quick trip down Orange Avenue ends at City Hall.
Lucky for me, my building is next door so I’m at work! I thanked the Mayor for the ride an commented I was sorry we couldn’t do this more often…. everyone then made their way to their respective jobs or homes.
I realize that this ride is largely symbolic, but it was fun for me, and I hope that next year I can see a few of you riding with the Mayor as well.