Yesterday, a small group of us rode to Sundew Gardens for a workshop on chicken farming: Chickens for the Central Florida Homestead. The City of Orlando just launched a pilot program to allow residents to keep hens in back yard coops. I don’t have a back yard (at the moment) but I’ve been curious about raising chickens. In general, I’m interested in local food. Mighk and his wife, Carol, actually managed to snag one of the 25 coveted permits.
First Friday regular, Larry Gies organized the ride and planned the route. Diana packed lunch for all of us and made sure we had the appropriate decorations for our bikes. I just showed up 🙂
The route was fun, many roads I had not been on before. It consisted of a mix of residential streets, some busier roads and the wonderful Little Econ Greenway.
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The tree-lined residential streets make for perfect riding. Oh, and the tall young man in the photo is LisaB’s son, who joined a group ride for the first time (and drafted and held his line like a pro when we were riding into the wind on some of the busier roads). It was such fun to have him along!
The first part of the route is actually in the City’s Wayfinding plan to receive signage. The only difficulty with it is crossing S. Conway Rd. without a signal. Not too difficult on a Sunday, but I wouldn’t want to try it at a high-traffic time.
I’ve never ridden on Forsyth Rd. south of Colonial Dr. I tend to avoid two-lane roads. But there was not much traffic and the few motorists who encountered us were patient and courteous. Forsyth north of Colonial is easier since the center turn lane gives motorists a place to pass. It also has 14ft lanes, but we stayed double and the few cars passed us using the center lane.
From Forsyth, we turned on Partridge and entered the trail where it intersects Doris Dr. (there’s no point in using it prior to that intersection). Likewise, we left the trail after Goldenrod and used residential streets to reconnect to it via the river bridge at Arcadia Acres park.
The trail is just delightful as it winds along the river. It’s very pleasant way to get across town. There weren’t many other users outside the main hub of activity near the YMCA, so we were able to continue our social configuration of 2-abreast riding.
We left the trail at Rouse Rd. to head north. Rouse is 4-lane divided with bike lanes. We started to ride in the bike lane, but there was very little traffic and single-file riding isn’t very enjoyable on a social ride (not to mention the potential for glass and other bike lane hazards). We moved back to double and used the right lane. No one gave us any flack for it. We did the same on the 4-lane section of Lockwood Rd., without incident.
North of University, Rouse becomes 2-lane. This was nothing like the two-lane section of Forsyth. There was a lot of traffic and several overtaking drivers made dangerous passes into oncoming traffic, rather than wait. McCulloch Rd. is equally bad, but the motorists were a little more controlled. But to make matters worse, the agency responsible for that road has put in traffic calming medians that make it impossible for motorists to pass even if traffic clears. I hate this practice and wish we could make the people who design these things ride bikes up and down that road until they understand how much this design screws bicyclists. The same problem exists on Old Lockwood Rd.
Despite starting 1/2 hour late, we arrived only a few minutes late. We ate our picnic during the talk.
The workshop was informative. I enjoyed seeing the farm and learning about raising chickens. It’s time to look for a house, I think.
We shortened the route for the ride home. I wasn’t interested in experiencing McCulloch and Rouse again, so we rode through UCF. There was almost no traffic on campus. We connected the Econ Greenway to Cady Way Trail, using Hanging Moss Rd. and 436. We parted at Bennet Rd. Mighk, Carol and Diana headed home. Larry and I went to Red Light, Red Light to cap an enjoyable ride with some adult beverages.
It was a great day with fun people! What’s not to love about great cycling, a budding local food culture and craft beer. Yay Orlando!