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Bicycles and wrong way signs.

In 1974 I got the notion to ride a bicycle, really far. The obvious destination was Florida, to visit my parents and little sister. From Richmond, Virginia to Largo, Florida on my selected route was 1026 miles.
I managed to enlist a friend, Boake Allen into joining me on this adventure.
We went to Dees’ Bicycles on Forest Hills Avenue and obtained two Nishiki Olympic ten speed bikes with the necessary touring accessories. We trained for about a month and got accustomed to our new equipment. My legs got stronger and began to hurt less when riding extended times.
We set out in March when it wasn’t going to be so hot. Eager to set out, our first stop was Battlefield Park in Varina. What we had not done is to check out the function of out lightweight camping gear. This was a good place for a last chance check of that.
It was cold the next morning. We made breakfast and coffee, then packed up and headed to Virginia Beach. We arrived there late in the afternoon. It was just under a hundred miles on the route we took. Remember, bicycles aren’t welcome in bridge tunnels, so we had to take a longer route.
We stayed overnight with my brother and headed out again. Route 17 is a coastal highway, providing relatively flat roads and good scenery.
Mid-way through North Carolina, my esteemed partner had enough. He abruptly got off of the bike, threw it in the woods and stuck out his thumb to get a ride back home.
Ok, I was on my own. In a way it simplified things. No more committee decisions, except for the little voices in my head would pipe in more frequently than I could suppress.
Onward I trudged, day after day. Savannah Georgia was a cool place to arrive. There is a huge bridge going into town with a toll booth on the end. At least, at that time it did. Going up the bridge from the South Carolina side I pedaled as hard and fast as I could, fighting my frequent and inescapable foe, Gravity. Traffic backed up a ways behind me, out of caution I suppose. I stayed to the right as far as I could, but there were these drain grates with the bars running in the direction of travel. One slip of my skinny wheels into one of those and bad things would happen.
Finally reaching the summit, with great joy and relief, I picked up speed on the down side. Not just my joy, but certainly the traffic behind me. Coming down I picked up incredible speed. No way I was going to be able to stop at that toll booth. The toll attendant, looking somewhat astonished waved me through.
I spent the night in a park. That Oglethorpe fellow had designed the city with plenty of those. The wind off the river brought a nasty smell from the paper plants. Good, I wasn’t staying anyway. Taking Route 17 through Georgia was tedious. It merged with US 301 with narrow lanes and lots of trucks. Getting WAY to the right was difficult at times because of massive pot holes and displaced shoulders. Out of survival instinct and courtesy to the other traffic, I would frequently be forced off the road.
After what seemed like an eternity, I approached St. Mary’s River, and crossed into Florida. Almost there! Not at all. It was still a long way to the middle of that long state on the West coast. Taking US A1A to US 301 again, I crossed the state for what seemed like forever. Arriving in Largo was somewhat anti-climactic. I was certainly sick of that damn bicycle. After a few days I sold the bike and got a plane ticket home.
Fast forward. It’s bicycle season, especially in New Kent. Races, marathons, charity and fund raising rides…….this is a favorite place for them. Good roads, and mostly infrequently traveled ones seem to be the kind of routes they seek.
I’m building a boat now, actually a ship by the definition, and took a break for lunch. My right hand man, Eli and I rode up to the local deli a few miles away. Coming back, we came upon a pack of bicycle riders. They were riding three and four abreast, taking up the entire lane. I tooted my horn to let them know I’d like to pass, and all I got was a couple of smirks from the riders. They were not about to yield to a car.
Righteous indignation has always aroused my creativity. When we finally got to a place where it was safe to pass I did so. Down the road, we came to an intersection where there was a temporary sign with an arrow, directing the riders to the correct direction.
Gleefully, I got out and turned that arrow in the other direction.
Two hours later, We just had to come back and look………..sure enough the race was still going the wrong way, and with a little added poetic justice, up a very steep hill.

Ryland
 

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...legs vs. gas...

And that,folks,is why I went for the motorcycle rather than the bicycle. Sturgis,SD is about 1,050 miles from me and there is no way I'd attempt to do that with leg-power....especially thru the Badlands....LOL. But I do have an adult tricycle...just to toodle around the block.
 

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