Is this really the US?

I set off yesterday morning from Fort Pierce, destination Melbourne……I mean, how confusing is that? This time last year I was actually cycling into Melbourne downunder in 38 degrees of blistering heat….but that’s another story.
Today, I rode 55 miles on one road, mostly straight, into a head breeze, following a narrow strip of barrier islands that is mostly lined with hotels, private properties and golf courses. You actually seldom get to see the sea. It forever lies tantalizingly close on both sides of the road, but nearly always behind property with its own private beach. I tell you, there’s serious money in these parts.
But just occasionally you get a glimpse of the pounding surf

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This is to show Adam Hirst, of Rutland Cycling, that their shirts can get to some exotic places. (This could be the beginning of a series….).
Now, here is an annoying “did you know?” question: did you know that Florida was the first place in the US to be colonized? In fact, I rode right past the beach

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where the Spaniard, Juan Ponce de Leon, set foot in the early 16th century.

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But I do really wonder if he did jump from his ship brandishing a crucifix, expecting all the natives to rush imploringly to his feet, and ask to be converted?

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Well, I’ll leave you to surmise that issue.
But what I was really looking forward to at the end of the day’s ride

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(no, not taking a photo of my helmet on the beach), but meeting, and staying with, Tanner and Leslie, at their house in Melbourne beach. Leslie is a fellow blogger, and had been following my exploits Downunder last year. She hosts a blog primarily about the paleo diet (http://paleovoyage.wordpress.com), but is also a recent convert from spinning classes to road cycling. Her husband, Tanner, has been a big animal carer in zoos (rhinos, elephants….), and is an enthusiastic and experienced skydiver. In fact, shortly after I arrived, he appeared with his skydiving kit, having just completed three more jumps.
Hearing that, on one of his early solo jumps, he had to resort to his emergency chute to save the day, it confirmed me in my belief that cycling really is a safe sport…..and, indeed, I can sincerely say from experience so far on this trip, none safer than here in the US. (This last comment is going to elicit a storm of reaction from some of my US friends….but I’ll do my best to weather that storm)…..;o)
Sharing conversation over a delicious prawn curry was a delight. Thank you to them both.

So this morning, I will head off in the general direction of Orlando (towards Kissimmee in fact)…and it would seem that both Leslie and Tanner would like to join me for a few miles…..watch this space for the photographic evidence.
(But I am bracing myself for a few more cool nights under canvas…..the cold front from the north is still with us….at least in N Florida. Key West beckons, me thinks….)

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on February 15, 2014, in Cycling Florida and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Have a fantastic trip… Look forward to reading more .

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