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Spirit of fun…

We ponder and fret about so much trivia these days, simply because we enjoy the affluence of choice: the kind of bike I need; the kit and accessories that will improve my experience; disc or rim brakes; hub or derailleur gears; carbon fibre, titanium or steel frame; Di2 or mechanical; the myriad choices are endless, and we end up living the ‘pride of ownership’ experience much more than simply enjoying the ride.

If this is you (and I am not guilt-free myself), be inspired by Jim & Elisabeth Young who, in 1940, on a pared down tandem called The Spirit of Fun, carrying minimal kit, rode 7000 miles across the USA, from San Francisco to Virginia Beach, and back again….and I bet they didn’t even have a spare tube or puncture repair kit.

Florida loop…

“As of 2012, bicyclists are no longer required to keep at least one hand on the handlebars”.

Right, this is my chance to set a new world record…… the whole of the Florida Loop (850 miles) with no hands on the handlebars! I may lack a certain level of security regarding other traffic, but I will certainly bask in the secure knowledge that I won’t be fined by a traffic cop, or used as target practice by any bored law enforcement agents.

Florida Loop 850 miles

Florida Loop 850 miles

This will be my route. A total of 850 cycling miles, with a 3.5 hour ferry crossing from Fort Myers to Key West, where I will pay homage to the memory of Ernest Hemingwayhemingway_lg_0 by sampling his favourite drink, vermouth (not  mojito as many believe) in his favourite bar, Sloppy Joes.Sloppy Joes

The route will take me up the largely urbanized east coast of south Florida, to the old colonial city of St Augustine, then across the peninsula through national parks and swampland, to finish with a 120 mile stretch along the Florida Keys. In terms of terrain, there are no real hills to speak of, apart from gentle inclines, but there will be long stretches of remote countryside as I bid to cross the hinterland.

With only 36 hours before departure from Heathrow Airport, this is the sum total of the kit I will be taking CIMG9798

and this is the boxed bikeCIMG9799 which, the Virgin Atlantic website assures me, will travel free of charge in the hold. I will go armed with a copy of the airlines regulations, in case the check-in staff are a little unclear.