Getting There Is Half The Fun
We recently had one of those perfect October Florida days, with cooler temperatures, a light breeze, and plenty of sunshine: superb bicycling weather! Biker Rick and his family walked a few blocks to my house Saturday afternoon, where they tried out some folding bikes and each selected one that suited them. Karla chose a Citizen Gotham 2, Rick a Downtube 8FS, Shannon a Green Zone alloy, and Shelby picked a vintage Yugoslavian-made Rog. I rode a 1970 Raleigh Twenty, recently restored and new to me. We rode the bikes down the street and back a few times to familiarize ourselves with them before taking off on our ride.
The advantage of a group foldie ride, is that you don’t have to worry about looking like some lone nitwit on a clown bike. There is something about those little 20” wheel bikes that is just fun, and it’s hard to ride one without a big grin on your face. They are quite responsive and nimble. (And maybe just a little bit goofy.) So I was delighted to have friends join me in my “foldie” enthusiasm/current obsession.
If it weren’t for Commute Orlando and Cycling Savvy, Biker Rick and I would have driven our separate vehicles to the Cady Way trailhead. Just a couple of years ago, I would not have even considered riding a bicycle the two miles from my house to the trail. (Actually, if it weren’t for Commute Orlando, I would have been unlikely to ever meet Biker Rick and his family, although they live near me.) But since we have learned to ride comfortably and safely on busy, multi-lane roads, we rode there in traffic with ease and with absolutely no problems. And we did it on little folding “clown” bikes!
We rode the trail at a relaxed pace, taking in the scenery and chatting. When I mentioned to Shelby that the Rog she was riding was made in the former Yugoslavia, in the city that is now the capital of Slovenia, she said “Oh, yes, Ljubljana.” I almost fell off my bike! What are the odds of bicycling alongside a young teenager who knows the capital of Slovenia!
When we reached the pedestrian/ bicycle bridge over Semoran Boulevard, affectionately known to us flat-landers as “Mount Cady,” I was wondering how Shelby and I, on our heavy, 3 speed, tank-like, vintage Rog and Raleigh, would do on the climb. As it turned out, the ride up in low gear was a piece of cake. On the ride down the other side, our heavy clunkers had the advantage, and we picked up some impressive speed. Wheee!
We had many positive interactions with other cyclists, drivers at intersections, in-line skaters, and pedestrians. It was a most enjoyable afternoon. If I had had to load up bikes, drive to the trail, unload them, ride, load them up again, drive home and unload them, I might not have bothered. Riding to the trail was so simple and easy! I’m looking forward to doing this again.
Thanks, Commute Orlando for the sense of community that you have encouraged. And thank you, Cycling Savvy, for giving me the skills to ride wherever I want to go. Even on a clown bike.